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Identifying Birthmarks: Becker’s Nevus and Nevus of Ota

Many people have areas of discoloration on the skin; they can be of lighter or darker pigmentation, or look like an overgrowth of blood vessels. These pigmented areas are often what are considered to be “birthmarks,” though in some cases they can develop during or after puberty. Typically harmless, the main concern reported by most individuals is a feeling of self-consciousness due to the visible nature of the marks. Becker’s Nevus and Nevus of Ota—nevus is the Latin word for spot—are two examples of these conditions. Our experienced dermatologist, Dr. Paul M. Friedman offers the following tips on how to identify these discolorations, as well as information on treatments available at our practice that minimize their appearance.

A light to dark brown patch of skin characterizes Becker’s Nevus, which typically occurs in men. Often looking similar to a birthmark, this pigmented area of skin will usually be located on one side of the body – commonly the back, shoulder, or chest. In many cases, a Becker’s Nevus will get larger, and will eventually grow hair. Sometimes this area may even feel itchy. As a result, many patients experiencing this condition seek treatment to have the spot removed. A Becker’s Nevus can often be significantly reduced with laser procedures. In fact, Dr. Friedman recently co-authored an article citing the benefits of a new laser treatment technique for Becker’s Nevus. The article, titled Hypertrichotic Becker’s Nevi Treated with Combination 1,550-nm Non-Ablative Fractional Photothermolysis and Laser Hair Removal, graced the April 2016 cover of the esteemed medical journal, Lasers in Surgery and Medicine. In the publication, Dr. Friedman explored the possibilities of combining laser hair removal with non-ablative fractional laser technology to significantly reduce the appearance of Becker’s Nevus. While further research will be necessary, Dr. Friedman found that the use of this combination therapy showed remarkable results on patients who participated in the clinical study.

Nevus of Ota, on the other hand, more commonly affects women, and this mark will appear as a blue or gray patch of skin, or as hyperpigmentation on the face. In some cases, there may be some discoloration of the white part of the eye due to this condition. Though Nevus of Ota is also harmless, many experience very prominent discoloration that ultimately has an effect on their self-esteem. Our dermatologists offer an array of laser treatments that can effectively diminish signs of Nevus of Ota and help you attain a more even appearance to the skin.

For more information on our advanced treatment options, or if you wish to schedule a consultation, please contact us today.