Salmon Patches: Your A-to-Z Guide from Diagnosis to Treatment to Prevention

Salmon Patches

Related concepts:

Angel kiss, Stork bites, Nevus simplex, Telangiectatic nevus, Unna’s nevus

Introduction to salmon patches:

Angel kisses and stork bites are among the picturesque names given to these very common birthmarks. Parents often worry that these will last a lifetime or get darker with time – the opposite tends to be true. They are tiny windows into the past.

What are salmon patches?

Salmon patches (nevi simplex) are dilated capillaries in the skin. They are not new capillaries or new growths, but leftover patches of the way the blood vessels looked during fetal circulation.
These are different birthmarks than hemangiomas or port wine stains; salmon patches are also more common.

Who gets salmon patches?

Before birth, every child has salmon patches. By the time a baby is born, only about one third do.

What are the symptoms of salmon patches?

Salmon patches appear as flat, dull pink patches. Most commonly they occur at the nape of the neck (stork bites), between the eyebrows or over the eyelids (angel kisses), or around the nose or mouth.
Because they are collections of blood vessels in the skin, they tend to look darker or redder when a baby is crying, excited, or upset. This may even be true after the patch has seemed to have disappeared.

Are salmon patches contagious?

No

How long does salmon patches last?

Salmon patches are present at birth (and before). The great majority disappear, usually within the first year. Those around the hairline at the back of the neck (called “Unna’s nevus”) are the most likely to remain.

How are salmon patches diagnosed?

Salmon patches are diagnosed by their appearance and location.

How is salmon patches treated?

No treatment is generally necessary. The overwhelming majority disappear with no treatment. Of those that do not, most are in a location that is covered by hair.

How can salmon patches be prevented?

No prevention is necessary.

Related A-to-Z Information:

Baby Acne, Cradle Cap, Diaper Rash, Erythema Toxicum (Baby rash), Hemangioma, Inconspicuous Penis, Labial Adhesions, Lanugo, Milia, Miliaria, Moles (Nevi), Mongolian Spots, Port Wine Stain, Pustular Melanosis

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Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is the founder of DrGreene.com (cited by the AMA as “the pioneer physician Web site”), a practicing pediatrician, father of four, & author of Raising Baby Green & Feeding Baby Green. He appears frequently in the media including such venues as the The New York Times, the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, & the Dr. Oz Show.