121 East 60th Street, Suite 8AB, New York, NY 10022

Ph. (212) 285-1110

Long Island

901 Stewart Ave, Suite 240, Garden City, NY 11530

Ph. (516) 512-7616

New York City (212) 285-1110

Garden City, NY (516) 512-7616

Birthmark Removal in New York

What is a Birthmark?

Usually present since birth, a birthmark is a mark or splotch on the skin which can appear in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. Pigmented birthmarks are formed when cells have abnormally high levels of melanin in them. Melanin is the pigment that creates color in your skin. The cause of birthmarks1 is unknown, but it has been determined that the occurrence is higher in darker-skinned individuals like Hispanics, Asians, and African Americans.

Many patients think that birthmarks should stay and that they are an inherent part of their identity. However, many patients experience a great deal of discomfort due to their birthmarks. This is because many birthmarks are large and attract unwanted attention. Some patients feel that others pay more attention to their birthmark than to their faces and want a birthmark removed or lightened.

Dr. Rokhsar offers several minimally-invasive treatment2 options at his New York office.

Types of Birthmarks

Birthmarks are categorized into two groups:

  1. Congenital Moles: This type of birthmark comes in a variety of shapes and sizes but are usually dark or brown colored. They can appear anywhere on the body and can sometimes be raised.
  2. Cafe-au-lait spots: Are oval-shaped birthmarks that look light brown or dark brown in color.

Birthmarks are further divided into subcategories of pigmentation types, macular stains, vascular malformation3, and hemangiomas. Some birthmarks fade or completely disappear over time, but those who are self-conscious about their appearance may wish to consider birthmark removal procedures.

Pigmentation-type birthmarks
These can include various types of birthmarks including moles (congenital nevi), Coffee-cream spots, and Mongolian spots. Mole is a nonspecific term for nevus, which is a pigmented skin spot. While most moles pose no health risks, some large nevi may have cancerous effects later on during one’s life. A coffee-cream spot is caused by too much pigment in the skin. It does not fade away and does not require treatment. Mongolian spots are flat, slate blue-grey patches commonly seen in children. By the time a child reaches school age, these birthmarks usually disappear.

Macular stains (salmon patches)
These are very thin, light pink patches of discoloration that appear on babies on the back of their necks or on their upper eyelids. Most of the salmon patches on the eyelids disappear during the child’s first year, while most of the ones found on the neck do not.

Vascular malformation

Birthmarks caused by abnormal blood vessel development are almost always present from birth. Port-wine stains are vascular malformations that are pink and can be found anywhere on the body. They are flat birthmarks that are pink-red at birth and darken to a red-purple color over time. Port-wine stains do not fade. They may be concerning if they are on the face above or around the eye because they may be associated with eye and/or brain problems.


They are strawberry-colored birthmarks that range in size from tiny blebs to large and multiple tumor-like growths. They are not true birthmarks since they don’t appear at birth, but start in infancy and then grow. Hemangiomas appear from birth to age 18 months, and then slowly shrink. Port-wine stains and other true birthmarks appear at birth and do not grow larger.

Hemangiomas that require early aggressive treatment include those that are cosmetically deforming, growing rapidly, or obstructing vision, hearing, breathing, eating, or any other body function. Hemangiomas on the lower face and neck may later block internal airways. Large facial hemangiomas can cause psychosocial impairment. If larger hemangiomas are left unattended to regress (decrease in size over time), the resulting sagging skin and stretched-out fat might look better if surgically removed.

Laser Removal

Hemangiomas are usually superficial when first diagnosed. Upon diagnosis, these disorders should be treated immediately with a laser. Since lasers become less effective with time, early treatment is important. The laser selects the red and shrinks the vessels so that the result is a less noticeable lesion. Repeated treatments almost completely remove the superficial component.

However, since the laser can only penetrate 1-3mm, it cannot shrink any deep component. Sometimes early treatment will prevent further growth, although deeper portions may still persist and grow. NYC patients with hemangiomas are treated with flash-lamp pulse dye, pump dye, and sclerotherapy lasers. The risk of scarring is small. Complete removal is not guaranteed.

How Are Birthmarks Treated?

Fraxel Repair: The Fraxel:repair laser system uses an ablative treatment that treats the tissue deep within the dermis, which is also where pigmentation abnormalities are present. The procedure uses CO2 laser technology to fractionally treat microscopic sections of the birthmark, with little risk of scarring or hypo-pigmentation. Multiple treatments are required, depending on the birthmark size and color.

V-Beam Pulsed Dye Laser: The V-Beam Perfecta uses energy that targets the area with an intense but gentle pulse that selects the discolored birthmark, ablating the pigment responsible for the mark. Multiple treatments are usually performed and, for many patients, improvements are seen immediately after treatment.

Dr. Rokhsar specializes in cosmetic laser treatment and is recognized in New York and throughout the country as an expert in his field. Contact us to schedule a consultation at our Garden City or New York City locations to learn more about birthmark removal and what the various procedures can do for you.

Birthmark Removal Results: Before and After

Birthmark Removal: Before and After Treatment Photo - patient 1
Birthmark Removal: Before and After Treatment Photo - patient 2
Birthmark Removal: Before and After Treatment Photo - patient 3
Birthmark Removal: Before and After Treatment Photo - patient 4
Birthmark Removal: Before and After Treatment Photo - patient 5

*Results may vary.

Birthmark Removal FAQ

How do I treat a birthmark on my newborn?

As soon as you notice a birthmark, contact a dermatologist like Dr. Rokhsar in Manhattan, who is double board-certified. Although most marks are harmless and do not require treatment, they can identify the type and advise if treatment is needed.

There are a variety of birthmarks including vascular (red) or pigmented (brown or black) that newborns or young children can develop. Each has its own unique diagnosis, risks, and treatment plan (if any) with particular lasers or monitoring.

Examples of vascular birthmarks include port-wine stains and hemangiomas. Examples of pigmented birthmarks include congenital nevi, cafe au let macules, ash leaf macules, Becker’s nevus, and a variety of other dark birthmarks.

Does laser treatment hurt?

Dr. Rokhsar is an expert in the treatment of birthmarks. He has treated many NYC dermatology patients with birthmarks over the years with great outcomes. Most treatments are painless as many effective measures are taken to minimize discomfort, including topical anesthesia if necessary. Many lasers are equipped with cooling mechanisms to minimize pain.

How many sessions are needed for treatment?

Several factors determine the number of laser treatment sessions, including the size, color, and type of birthmark. Although patients usually see improvements after only one or two treatments, it usually takes three to eight sessions to see results.

Can laser therapy completely remove my birthmark?

Setting realistic expectations will help you to get the best out of your treatment. Unfortunately, in some cases, it is near impossible to remove all signs of the birthmark, as in the case of hemangiomas.

Your dermatologist will discuss the extent to which treatment will assist with removing, or minimizing the birthmark. While some birthmarks can be removed almost completely, others can only be improved. There is also a risk that a birthmark can recur years after treatment. Dr. Rokhsar will advise you of realistic goals and outcomes of your particular birthmark.

Are there any side effects or risks associated with laser treatment?

At our offices in Long Island and Manhattan, we use the CO2 laser, the pulsed dye laser technology (Vbeam laser), pigmented laser technology, Q switched lasers, Alexandrite lasers, nanosecond lasers, NdYAG lasers, the Fraxel laser, and many other technologies to treat birthmarks. These options are safe and minimally invasive.

You may however experience slight swelling and redness, purple marks, bruising, and scabbing after the procedure. Dr. Rokhsar will discuss the particulars of the healing profile of your birthmark with you prior to your treatment in detail.

Does Doctor Rokhsar treat birthmarks on kids with lasers?

Dr. Rokhsar is a double board-certified fellowship-trained laser surgeon with over 20 years of experience in treating birthmarks with lasers in both kids and adults.

What causes a birthmark?

A birthmark is an area of discolored and/or raised skin that is present at birth or appears within a few weeks to a few years of birth. Some birthmarks such as a Becker’s nevus appear during the teenage years for the first time. Birthmarks can be caused by various factors, but the exact cause of most types of birthmarks is unknown. However, some birthmarks are hereditary and run in families, while others are caused by gene mutations.

There are different types of birthmarks, and each has its own specific cause. For example, red birthmarks are caused by an overgrowth of blood vessels. The most common type of red birthmarks are hemangioma, which are usually harmless and painless. Hemangiomas are a bright red birthmark that appears at or soon after birth and is made up of extra blood vessels in the skin.

Another type of birthmark is the port-wine stain, which is caused by the malformation of blood vessels in the skin. This birthmark can vary in size and shape and typically appears on the face, neck, or upper trunk. It is often present at birth and may darken over time.

There are many types of other birthmarks that are brown in color. These include cafe au let macules, Becker’s nevi, melanocytic nevi, congenital melanocytic nevi or hairy nev, nevus of ota or ito, nevus spilus and others. These are brown gray or black and are caused by either an increased production of melanin or increased number of melanocytes. These as a category are referred to as pigmented birthmarks.

Overall, while the exact cause of most birthmarks is unknown, they are typically benign (noncancerous) and do not require treatment. However, if a birthmark changes in size, shape, or color, or causes other symptoms, it is important to consult a doctor to rule out any potential health concerns. Other birthmarks can be a sign of systemic disease or underlying syndromes and should be investigated through seeing a board certified dermatologist. Many people are bothered by the appearance of certain birthmarks in cosmetically sensitive areas. There are birthmarks that can cause functional issues. For example, birthmarks around the eyes can block visions or cause field of vision issues.

What is a vascular birthmark?

A vascular birthmark is a type of birthmark that is caused by blood vessels that don’t form correctly. It is typically present at birth or appears shortly after birth. There are two main types of vascular birthmarks: hemangiomas and vascular malformations.

Hemangiomas are benign (non-cancerous) tumors that may not be apparent at birth, but usually become visible within one to four weeks after birth. Vascular malformations, on the other hand, are a collection of abnormally connected blood vessels named by the type of vessels they include.

There are three major types of vascular birthmarks: salmon patch (nevus simplex), port-wine stain, and strawberry hemangioma. Salmon patch is a flat patch of pink or red skin, often small, usually with poorly defined borders. Port-wine stain is a flat, pink, red, or purple discoloration of the skin that is present at birth and grows proportionally with the child. Strawberry hemangioma is a raised red or purple birthmark that may be small or large and appears shortly after birth.

Vascular birthmarks are generally benign and do not require treatment, but some may need to be monitored or treated depending on their location, size, and potential for complications. Some may signify an underlying syndrome. For example, port-wine stains on the face can cause associated symptoms collectively referred to as Sturge Weber syndrome. Treatment options include laser therapy, medication, and surgery. It’s best to consult with a board certified dermatologist for diagnosis and treatment options.

What are brown, dark or pigmented birthmarks?

There are many forms of birthmarks that are brown, black or blue in color. These appear usually at birth or in the first few years of life. There are also brown birthmarks that appear during teenage years. Cafe au let macule are one of the most commonly found birthmarks that are tan, light brown, dark brown or blackish in color and can be found anywhere in the body. If you have six or more cafe us let macules, you should show these to a dermatologist to look for associated syndromes. Many patients are bothered by cafe au macules. Dr. Rokhsar routinely uses q switched alexandrite laser or a Pico laser to treat cafe au let macules successfully. One or more treatments may be required. There is a risk of incomplete clearance as well as a risk that they can recur after laser treatments. Each Cafe au let macule has its own “personality” and responds differently to the pigment laser.

Another pigmented birthmark is nevus of ota (ito). These present with deep black or bluish discoloration mostly on any area of the face and often affect the upper and lower eyelids as well. These birthmarks are particularly bothersome to patients as most find them disfiguring. Nevus of ota typically responds very well with often full clearing achieved within 3-6 sessions. Dr. Rokhsar is an expert in treating pigmented birthmarks with various nano and Pico pigment lasers.

Other pigmented birthmarks include Becker’s nevus. These usually present as tan or brown macules often on the torso, shoulders, chest, back, thighs or legs. They are usually characterized by an increase in hair follicles as they are hairy. Dr. Rokhsar uses a combination of pigment nano or Pico lasers in addition to laser hair removal lasers to target the extra pigment as well as the hair follicles. Three to 6 sessions of combination lasers may be required for significant improvement.

There are a variety of other pigmented or brown birthmarks including congenital nevi and nevus spilus. Congenital nevi or hairy nevi can grow hair in them and are harder to treat. They can be treated with lasers or surgical excision. Dr. Rokhsar has used both lasers and staged surgical excision with great success avoiding the use of tissue expanders and the need for skin grafts. Nevus spilus looks like a speckled nevus and also responds well to q-switched and Pico lasers. Multiple treatments are often needed.

What is a strawberry birthmark?

A strawberry birthmark, also known as a strawberry hemangioma or infantile hemangioma, is a type of birthmark that appears as a red or purple patch on a baby’s skin. It is caused by a cluster of extra blood vessels that form under the skin, and typically appears at birth or within the first few weeks of life. These birthmarks are usually benign and tend to fade on their own over time, but some may require medical intervention if they interfere with vision or breathing or if they do not go away on their own.

The term “strawberry birthmark” can also refer to a red birthmark known as a strawberry nevus, which is caused by a collection of blood vessels close to the skin’s surface. These birthmarks are also usually benign and may fade over time, but may also require medical intervention depending on their location and size. A double board certified dermatologist and fellowship trained laser surgeon, Dr. Rokhsar is an expert in treating strawberry birthmarks with the pulse dye laser or the Vbeam laser. Multiple Vbeam laser treatments are needed to achieve great results for hemangiomas.

How to lighten a birthmark?

There are several methods to lighten a birthmark. While most birthmarks can be covered with makeup, many patients opt for permanent removal. Laser therapy with pulse dye laser is the treatment of choice for vascular red birthmarks like port wine birthmarks. Pulse dye laser or V-beam laser works by converting laser light to heat, which shrinks or eliminates blood vessels making the birthmarks less noticeable or even disappear. Dr. Rokhsar prefers the Vbeam laser which is safe for use in all skin types with minimal chance of scarring. The treated area(s) turns purple and may form a scab which typically heals in about 1-2 weeks. Multiple sessions may be needed to achieve desired results. In some cases, surgery may also be recommended to remove some birthmarks. Laser treatment that targets irregular blood vessels is an effective way to minimize the appearance of birthmarks. However, laser therapy may not be an option for people with darker skin tones as it can cause hyperpigmentation and worsen the problem. Pigmented birthmarks can be treated with pigment lasers such as Alex laser or Pico lasers. Multiple sessions are often needed for treatment of brown birthmarks with either Alex or Pico lasers. If you need any tips, consult with Dr. Rokhsar, who can suggest the right treatments for your specific case. Dr. Rokhsar is considered an international authority in laser treatment of birthmarks.

How to remove a birthmark?

Birthmarks are a common type of skin discoloration that many people have. If you are looking to remove a birthmark, there are several options available depending on the type of birthmark you have, its location, and its size. Here are some of the common methods for removing a birthmark:

Surgery: Surgery can be used to remove a birthmark, especially if it has the potential to turn into skin cancer. It involves injection of local anesthetic, cutting out the birthmark, and closing the area with sutures. This is called a surgical excision.

Laser therapy: Laser therapy is a popular option for removing birthmarks. This technique uses a high-energy laser beam to break up the pigment in the birthmark, causing it to fade or disappear over time. The Vbeam laser precisely targets vascular anomalies and is safe for use in all skin types for treatment of red birthmarks. The Alex laser or pico laser is the treatment of choice for treatment of brown birthmarks.

Medication: In some cases, medication may be used to shrink blood vessels and reduce the appearance of the birthmark. Corticosteroids can be taken orally or injected directly into the birthmark to halt its growth or reduce its appearance. Timolol drops have also shown promise in treatment of some red birthmarks.

How much is laser birthmark removal?

The cost of laser birthmark removal can vary depending on factors such as the size and location of the birthmark, the number of treatments needed, and the practice location.

The cost may also depend on whether the procedure is considered cosmetic or medically necessary. Insurance may cover the cost of birthmark removal if it is deemed medically necessary. However, if the procedure is purely cosmetic, it may not be covered by insurance. It is recommended to consult with Dr. Rokhsar to determine the best course of action for birthmark removal and to inquire about insurance coverage.

New York Office Locations

Upper East Side Manhattan Office
121 East 60th Street, Suite 8AB New York, NY 10022
(212) 285-1110

Long Island Office
901 Stewart Ave, Suite 240, Garden City, NY 11530
(516) 512-7616

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  1. How to Remove a Birthmark. Available:
  2. Skin Conditions: Pigmented Birthmarks. Available:
  3. Vascular and pigmented birthmarks. Available:

About author - Dr. Cameron Rokhsar

Dr. Cameron Rokhsar

Dr. Cameron Rokhsar, MD, FAAD, FAACS, is the founder and medical director of the New York Cosmetic, Skin, & Laser Surgery Center. Dr. Rokhsar is a graduate of Harvard College and NYU School of Medicine. Dr. Rokhsar is double board certified in dermatology and micrographic dermatologic surgery, being one of the few select dermatologists in the country who is also fellowship trained in laser surgery. A researcher and innovator, Dr. Rokhsar is the creator of the non-surgical nose job and has been instrumental in the research and development of laser systems such as the Fraxel, CO2, Mirady, Vbeam, Themitight, and Ulthera devices. An Associate Professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC, Dr. Rokhsar actively teaches the cosmetic dermatology clinic to the resident at Mount Sinai. An expert injector of fillers, and a trainer for many companies, patients fly in from around the world to see Dr. Rokhsar in his Garden City and Manhattan offices in New York.

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