Strawberry hemangioma, also called strawberry nevus, is one of the various types of vascular birthmarks that are present on an infant’s skin at the time of birth. Not all hemangiomas are present on the skin before birth; some may also appear shortly after birth (within a few hours to a couple of days). While hemangiomas can be of many colors, including red, blue, purple, black and brown, strawberry hemangiomas are mostly of deep red color. Their color comes from the accumulation of blood vessels at the site.

Strawberry hemangiomas can appear anywhere on an infant’s body but are most common on the scalp, face, chest, and back. The actual cause behind the formation of hemangiomas is yet to be known, but their composition has been definitely investigated and what the surgeons ended up finding was clusters of small, closely packed blood vessels, also known as capillaries.

Both baby boys and baby girls can have strawberry hemangiomas but females are more prone to developing these unsightly marks. Infantile hemangiomas are more common in babies with low birth weight, especially in the following circumstances:

  • The baby born is a female
  • It is a premature birth case
  • He/she has a fair complexion
  • Multiple births (twins or triplets)
  • Advanced maternal age
  • Has a family history of infantile hemangiomas

Like most of the other birthmarks, strawberry hemangiomas are also painless and harmless and rarely cause any serious medical problems. However, one complication that is often associated with hemangiomas is that most of them grow rapidly and after reaching a certain size, they stop growing anymore. Some of the hemangiomas subside on their own by the time the child reaches 9, while others may need medical treatment for their removal. Even if a nevus disappears on its own, some slight pigmentation or crumpling of the skin may remain at the site of the birthmark.

As mentioned earlier, in most cases strawberry hemangiomas do not need a specific treatment for their removal, but in certain circumstances, treatment should be considered. You need to seek hemangioma treatment when:

–        It is very large and visible

–        It has the tendency to cause ulceration

–        It is impairing your vision, hearing, breathing, or ability to eat or chew food

–        If it does not disappear by school age

However, it is strongly recommended to not wait till your baby’s school age and let the hemangioma be assessed by a pediatrician as soon as you notice it. Only a doctor can tell you whether the hemangioma is harmless or not. Furthermore, like any other birthmark, strawberry hemangiomas are also best treated at a young age.