What are Mongolian blue spots?
Mongolian blue spots are common birthmarks seen as blue-grey marks near the newborn’s buttocks and back region. The name Mongolian comes from the fact that it is common in the East Asian population, but it can occur in all the races. These spots are more prominent in individuals with dark skin, and it generally fades away by adolescence.
Such spots are also referred as:
- Lumbosacral dermal melanocytosis
- Congenital dermal melanocytosis
- Dermal melanocytosis
Mongolian spots as they are commonly referred are prevalent in 90-100% of Asians and Africans.
What causes Mongolian spots?
These are a type of birthmark that appears at the time of birth. The precise cause of Mongolian spots is not known. The blue skin is attributed to entrapment of pigment cells called melanocytes, which appear in the inner/middle layer of the skin (dermis).
What are the symptoms of Mongolian spots?
These spots appear as
- Blue-grey or blue spots on the back, base of spine, buttocks, shoulders, or other parts of the body
- Spots that are flat and irregular in shape with indistinct edges
- The spots are 2-8 cm wide
- The skin texture is normal
How are they diagnosed?
Visual examination of the spot by your doctor can confirm its diagnosis. No other tests are needed.
How are Mongolian spots treated?
Mongolian spots do not point to cancer or other diseases and are harmless in nature. Hence, they do not require any treatment.
If your doctor suspects any other disorder, treatment can be initiated to address it.
Can Mongolian spots be prevented?
As birthmarks appear at the time of birth, such spots can’t be prevented.
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- Gupta D, Thappa DM. Mongolian spots: How important are they? World Journal of Clinical Cases: WJCC. 2013;1(8):230-232.
- Lumbosacral dermal melanocytosis. New Zealand Dermatological Society. http://www.dermnetnz.org/topics/lumbosacral-dermal-melanocytosis/. Accessed 31 Jan. 17.
- Mongolian Spot. American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. http://www.aocd.org/?page=MongolianSpot. Accessed 31 Jan. 17.