Learn about the meaning of Mongolian birthmark or spot, the myths that its origin meaning, what Mongolian spots look like on babies and adults(pictures). In addition get to know what causes these marks on newborn babies and adults plus how to remove and treatment options.
Mongolian Birthmark / Spot Meaning & Origin
What is Mongolian Birthmark
Mongolian birthmark or Mongolian spot is a blue-gray macular pigmentation that usually appears on the sacral area of the infants during their birth or within the first week of their birth. Clinically, these are referred as the flat benign spots, which are likely to disappear on their own within 4 years. However, in rare cases, Mongolian spots continue to persist for a lifetime. The spots are also known as dermal melanocytosis basing on their nature and place of development. These are flat benign congenital birthmarks which are irregular and wavy in shape.
Mongolian spots were first described by Erwin Bälz, a German anthropologis,t in the year 1883. Normally these are blue-gray in color, though at times it can be blue-black or deep brown depending on the nature of formation.
What is its origin?
Mongolian spot is usually a congenital development, which essentially involves the dermis of the skin. Unlike the vascular lesion on the skin, the Mongolian spot stems from the proliferation of melanocytes in the dermis, accumulated there while migrating from the neural crest to the layer of epidermis. The transportation or the migration of the melanocytes is induced by the exogenous peptide growth factors which are activated by the tyrosine kinase receptors. According to the scientists, built-up metabolites such as GM1, heparan sulfate and tyrosine kinase receptor cause severe neurologic manifestations and abnormal neural crest migration.
Studies reveal that in the recent times, there are more than 90% of Native Americans, 80% of Asians, and 70% of Hispanics who are affected with Mongolian stains, while less than 10% of whites have Mongolian spots. In fact, a prospective clinical study of cutaneous findings in newborns of the US reveals that the dermal melanocytosis are mostly formed in the sacrum and buttocks. If diagnosed in terms of ethnicity, the incidence of Mongolian spots is 29% in Asians, while the incidence is somewhat lesser in the African Americans, Hispanics and whites.
Mongolian Spot/Birthmark Pictures/Images on Newborn Babies & Adults
What do Mongolian spots look like? As aforementioned, these spots are a bluish, brown or gray and they are normally located located on the lower back. They have jagged or irregular edges. The spots may appear as either a large spot or a series of smaller marks. Below are pictures of the marks on adults and newborn babies.
Mongolian spot on arm and legs babies
Mongolian birthmark picture-adults
Mongolian Birthmark Myths
What ancient stories or false beliefs exist about Mongolian Birthmark?
Through centuries, Mongolian spots have found itself a cozy ground in the historical and anthropological controversies. However, the earliest records of the spots are found in the chronicles of Hippocrates, who is believed to create a blow on his pregnant mother’s abdomen to let people know about his birth place. Almost a similar theory is prevailed in Turkey, where the spot is highly revered. Originally known as “leke”, the record of this spot is found in the writings of Father Gumilla. He was the first westerner to document the facts of Mongolian spot.
Mongolian birthmark korean– The Koreans believe the spot is a bruise formed when Samshin halmi , a shaman spirit to whom people pray around childbirth, slapped the baby’s behind to hasten the baby to quickly get out from his or her mother’s womb.
According to the Japanese belief, the stains are referred to as asshirigaaoi, signifying a blue bottom, which is similar to the rituals of coitus performed during pregnancy. It’s also believed by the Japanese that the spot is godly as it is being created by the gods presiding over births.
Chinese people consider it a ‘mark’ (taiji), which is given by the god to encourage the new born to start a life in the earth. The legends, however says that the ‘King of the Underworld’ slaps the newborn child in order to make it come out without any hassle.
The tales of Mongolian spots are also being reflected in the Mexican term, ‘la patada de Cuahutemoc’, which means Cuahutemoc’s kick. Almost a similar myth prevails in Kyrgyzstan, where ‘Heavenly Mother’ or Umaiene, the patron of infants, is believed to be gently slapping the child to congratulate it for being a part of the Earth. While the child is still in the womb, the Heavenly Mother slaps the child which later manifests into the spot.
However, in native America, the Mongolian spot comes with a somewhat negative stigma saying that the spots are usually caused by if a woman goes out to bad omen. In case, a pregnant woman goes out to work on certain days and the other women criticizes her and by chance, places her hand on the abdomen, then the child is believed to born with this mark.
The Modern Myths
Unlike the traditional myths, the modern day myths are somewhat backed by reasons. In the recent times, Mongolian spots arrive as a topic of several high-end anthropological debates and research papers. According to Baelz, the inventor of Mongolian spot, these spots carry a distinct characteristic of the Mongols and other non-Caucasian races.
The presence of Mongolian spots in the races like Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Turks, Hungarians clearly suggests a Central Asian origin of these races. However, another school of thought says that the presence of the spots also reflect the legacy of the invading armies of Huns and Mongols.
According to the scientists, Ashmead, Mongolian spots are found first in the Negroes which later spread to the other countries of Asia and Europe.
Mongolian Birthmark Causes on Adults Face, Newborns & Babies
As mentioned earlier, Mongolian spots are more of a pigment stain instead of a vascular lesion. These birthmarks develop on the skin at the time the baby is born. Although the key reason behind the development of the Mongolian spot is unknown, it’s been revealed that such spots are essentially the result of pigment proliferation on the particular are of the skin. However, the good news is that the spots are not suggestive of any potential health issue.
However, the Mongolian spots are often mistaken as a symptom of spinal condition called spina bifida occulta. But, keep in mind that the spots related to this syndrome is red and not the characteristic blue-gray color of the Mongolian spot
As far as the cause of its formation is concerned, it can be said that the amount of melanin usually determine the reasons behind pigmented spots. So, in this case, a proliferation of melanin at a particular region of dermis creates spots. People with darker skin tend to develop pigmented birthmarks more specifically.
Mongolian Birthmark Removal & Treatment
Do mongolian birthmarks go away disappear or fade? How do treat or remove these marks?
Apparently, no treatment is required for the removal of Mongolian spot as they do not pose any serious threats like skin cancer or similar ailments. Usually these spots disappear by the age of two, but if they do not, they will surely cease to exist by the time your kid reaches his puberty. Till that time, you can use medicated camouflage cream to improve the skin tone.
And finally, Mongolian spots are birthmarks in the true sense of the term, though it’s often misdiagnosed. It’s important to detect the condition and nature of development of the spot in order to rule out the condition of potential health hazard in future.
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