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Brown Birthmarks

Condition Overview:
There are many types of brown birthmarks. Some are flat, i.e. Café Au Lait Spot (CLS), or a Nevus of Ota, while some may be  flat or elevated such as a Congenital Nevocellular Nevus (CNN).
Café Au Lait Spots are present at birth and have a characteristic light brown color. They may be single or multiple, small or quite large in extent, When multiple they can be associated with a condition known as Neurofibromatosis.

Nevus of Ota is a facial birthmark most often present at birth or soon thereafter. The lesion occurs on the face and is a characteristic slate gray-blue or brown lesion on the cheek or adjacent to the eye. Often there is a brownish discoloration of the sclera (white part) of the eye as well. These lesions respond very well to laser therapy (see Before & After Images below).
Before and After Images

Nevus of Ota Before & After Treatment

Congenital Nevi are brown lesions invariably present at birth. They may be the size of a silver dollar, palm sized or  a garment sized area (“Giant CNN“). CNN are present in 1% of newborns, very rarely display irregular colors and borders which can be an indication of malignancy. These lesions need to be biopsied to rule out malignancy. Some may be associated with increased hair, but most CNN are benign and are of no medical importance.

Flat or elevated brown spots on the skin


Café Au Lait Spots have a variable response to pigment Laser treatment. Often will recommend a Laser test treatment to observe response to therapy. Requires multiple treatments.
Nevus of Ota responds consistently well to a pigment Laser (Q-Switched Laser type). Usually requires multiple treatments at 4-6 week intervals (see Before & After photos).

Congenital Nevus (CNN) needs to be followed at regular intervals. Often useful to obtain photographic documentation of changes over time. Suspicious areas should be biopsied to rule out malignancy. Surgical excision when necessary for medical/ cosmetic indications. 


Before and Afters

Nevus of Ota Before & After
Brown Birthmarks Before
Brown Birthmarks Before and After
Brown Birthmarks Before
Nevus of Ota
Brown Birthmarks Before