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“What the hell is that?” So, Your Child Has a Hemangioma

Note: I’m not a pediatrician or dermatologist, but most of what I write here is information gathered from real doctors.  All situations are different, please always consult your physician when making decisions about your child’s health.

My daughter was born with a hemangioma on the left cheek of her face and as of this posting it still appears somewhat prominently. Figured it would be helpful to post our experience with hemangiomas and pass along some advice and perhaps a baseline for comparison.

What is a hemangioma?

The clinical definition is the abnormal buildup of blood vessels on the skin or internally. For skin hemangiomas, the size, location, and color can completely vary. For more medical talk see https://health.google.com/health/ref/Hemangioma

It basically looks like a red mark or wound-looking blemish on the skin (see pictures below).

What causes it?

Nobody knows – you’re either born with one or you’re not. Some say it might be genetic, but there is no definitive link to a cause for this skin condition. Funny enough, we asked some immediate family members if there was any known history of hemangiomas and my Aunt (my mother’s sister – my daughter’s great aunt) had a mark on her face at birth that may or may not have been a hemangioma. Back then the doctors recommended immediate removal of it with a heat treatment, which left my aunt with a small patch of discolored skin (hardly noticeable most of her life). Hard to say if that is a genetic link because the science around skin was probably not as advanced in the 1940s as it is today.

How do you treat it?

You don’t, and the doctors we have spoken to indicate that a majority of hemangiomas go away on their own over time. They can also be removed through surgery, and in some cases surgery is recommended if the growth is invasive to breathing, eating, seeing.

Through my interactions with pediatricians and pediatric dermatologists, there is no ointment, medication, or general treatment for the removal of a hemangioma.

For our daughter, the hemangioma is on her cheek and does not hurt her or cause pain in any way.

When did you first notice it?

It’s a funny thing – when my daughter was first born she had a small dimple-like mark on her cheek. We didn’t think much of it, just figured it would be a birth mark and at that point we were so elated with her that we had little care for a small facial dimple.

After about 2 months it began to develop into a red mark, at times looking like a scab from a wound. At an early appointment, our pediatrician recognized it as a hemangioma and explained the background. Fast forward a year and the mark settled into a red and deep-blue color, looking similar to a bad black-and-blue bruise.

Overall, there were some significant changes in the first 2 years of her life and looking back at some of the pictures it’s amazing how much it changed. Take a look a the shots below and you can see the progression (images run left to right in chronological order – 2 days, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, 1 year, 15 months, 17 months, 23 months):

How did we handle it?

This probably goes for a variety of issues with young children – over time, my wife and I hardly noticed it. Sure, we still look at it from time-to-time and marvel at how much better it looks than in the early days, but our daughter is beautiful even with the hemangioma.

The biggest challenge is dealing with stares and the occasional questions from unknowing children and adults. We developed a speech we would repeat in various forms when people asked.

For children, we just explained that it was a birth mark and it will go away when she’s older. Most kids usually move on from there, unless they are my nephews who always want to touch it.

Ironically, adults tend to be more challenging. First, the nature of the question always varies in levels of tactfulness. Here are some examples of adult inquiries about my daughter’s hemangioma and my assigned level of tact with the question (1 through 5: 1 being tactless and 5 being innocently classy):

  • “So, is that a birthmark on her face?” — 4.5 tact level
    • This is probably the most gentile way to broach the subject – a somewhat passive aggressive way to asking about the skin abnormality.
  • “What happened here?” [pointing to her hemangioma] — 3.0 tact level
    • For some reason, this always rubs me the wrong way. I’m tempted to snap back at them and say it’s a cigarette burn, but I figure that’s not very tactful on my part. But still, nothing happened – don’t imply that it’s an injury caused by poor parenting. And don’t point at my kids face.
  • “What the hell is that?” — 1.0 tact level
    • Believe it or not, this was an actual quote from a mid-20s stranger we met at a party one day. Slightly embarrassing, but I felt worse for him because he was clearly immature and not very worldly.

The important lesson here is that these types of questions are going to pop-up. Try not to get too defensive about it. People question what they don’t understand and for most, they are accustomed to babies with soft, gentle, unblemished skin. A hemangioma is alien to them.

One other point here – we were amazed by how many parents would tell us about hemangiomas they have come across on their own children, friend’s kids, nieces, nephews, etc. In almost all cases they reassured us that the mark will go away at some point and we just need to be patient.

What’s next?

And now we wait. Based on the feedback we have heard from our Pediatric Dermatologist, there is a high likelihood that the mark will eventually fade away and show no signs of ever being there to begin with. However, no one can accurately guess at how long it will take for the skin to be clear.

Surgery?

Surgery is definitely an option, although not recommended until the child is older or if the hemangioma is causing an impediment on eating, breathing, vision, etc. For our daughter, this mark is non-invasive, and more of a cosmetic issue. Additionally, surgery would most likely require the child to be put under general anesthesia and may leave a scar. For us, these two factors rule out surgery right now.

Our Approach

We plan to wait a few more years, until she’s about 5 or 6, and then make a decision on surgery or not. We figure that by the time she gets to school there will be questions and potential teasing by other kids, and every parent would like to avoid their child being the center of attention in that regard.

Having said that, I think this will be a decision for our daughter as well. I’d like to empower her to contribute to a decision like this, since it’s her face after all, hence another reason to wait until she’s older.

Parting Words

In the end, hemangiomas like my daughter’s are just cosmetic blemishes and really small potatoes in the large realm of other problems that can face young children. With that said, it can be a challenging experience for new parents – of course we want our kids to be perfect in every way, but more often than not, it doesn’t end up that way. If your child ends up with a visual hemangioma, talk to your doctor, see a few pediatric dermatologists for multiple opinions, and enjoy your child regardless.

You may also be interested to read: Hemangioma Q&A with Dr. Gregory Levitin

38 Responses to ““What the hell is that?” So, Your Child Has a Hemangioma”

  1. Hi and thanks for sharing your experience. While I agree that waiting on surgery is a good option for a hemangioma of this size, we have lasers that can greatly improve the color and texture of the involved skin and restore the surface area to more clear and symmetrical appearance. Whether the “bump” resolves is something you can watch adn wait and consider surgery at a later time.

    Best wishes,

    Dr. Gregory Levitin
    http://www.vascularbirthmarkcenter.com

  2. B. Bish says:

    Loved your writings. My daughter has a hemangioma–she has the deep kind under the skin. Her’s is on her eyebrow. We decided to treat when the dermatologists said it was time due to the hemangioma pushing down on her eyelid and pushing on her eye. She is now on propanolol. Just wanted to tell you that I stopped by and read what you wrote and I especially loved the part about strangers asking questions, etc.

    • B. Bish – Good luck with the propanolol treatment. I hope everything works out with your daughter’s hemangioma. Thanks for stopping by.

      Functional Father

    • Jin says:

      Hello B.Bish,

      My daughter is 2 month old and she has hemangioma on her face near eye, its growing now and looks exactly like functional father’s dauther at 4 month. doctor has suggested us propanlol treatment and we are waiting to get it checked by eye doctor and cardiologist before we start the treatment.

      my question to you is, How did the treatment worked with your daughter, sorry to ask but did you see any sideeffects?

      I would appreciate your resoponse and tanks for sharing.

      Thanks,
      Jin

  3. Jaci says:

    I just wanted to say thank you for posting this. Oddly enough, my 15 month old little girl also has a hemangioma on her left cheek (in fact, it is almost in the same spot at your daugther’s). What is even more strange is that she strongly resembles your daugther too! I absolutely can’t stand the rude things that some people say about it (like, “How did she get that shiner?” or “Did somebody get a bad boo boo?”) It can be incredibly frustrating! My husband and I have also chosen the “wait and see” approach (which, from our research, is the smartest thing to do under the circumstances), and we too plan on waiting to consider any more invasive treatment until she is school aged.

    • Jaci – Thanks for the comment and I’m glad you found this posting helpful. Good luck with your daughter’s hemangioma and working through the comments from on-lookers.

      I think it gets easier as the child gets older and more active, as most people assume that a mark on the face is a bruise from playing, so I find they are less inclined to ask about it. An infant with a mark like that always compels some type of question.

      Again, good luck and keep in touch about what you decide and the progress made with your daughter’s hemangioma.

      Thanks,

      Functional Father 1

    • Mommy of Four says:

      My daughter also has one on her left cheek. I have been asked if it was cancer, and if she was shot. I don’t know where people get these ideas from.

  4. Dee says:

    My darling 8 month old daughter also has one on her right cheek by her nose. I am so annoyed when strangers ask and I have to explain the story. The next question is always, so, will it ever go away? Some people have no tact. My husband and I have an appt with a child dermatologist in a few weeks. We will most likely do the wait and see approach too. Thank you so much for taking the time to share. I feel so much better knowing my child is not the only one. Your daughter is just beaufiful!

    • Dee – Thanks for the comment, I’m glad you could connect with our situation.

      Please know that hemangiomas are a lot more common than one might think, it just tends to be on parts of the body other than the face. Our kids get scrutinized because the blemish is on the face and something we always look at.

      I would also recommend knowing the options and seeing a couple of pediatric dermatologist.

      I recently conducted an online Q&A with a specialist, which may be of additional value – http://functionalfather.com/hemangioma-qa-with-dr-gregory-levitin/

      Believe it or not, my wife’s brother and sister-in-law just had a baby and she also has a hemangioma on her face. It’s small right now, but near her eyebrow and they are exploring laser treatments at the moment. While we never considered it, they said the first laser session was rather harmless, although results are still to be seen.

      Keep in touch about the progress of your situation and thanks again for stopping by.

      - Functional Father 1

  5. Rae says:

    I’m glad I stumbled across this! I was born in 1989, 2 and half months early, 2lbs 9.5oz (tiny thing!) with a hemangioma on my left cheek as well. I ran into this post while trying to find images that best resembled what mine looked like in the beginning stages, online.

    My parents took the same route you suggest, waiting it out, watching to see if it gets any better or worse. Unfortunately for me, at the age of 3, it became apparent surgery was necessary and I had my first operation to remove the raised hemangioma. Two years later we went back again for the second procedure. I never really asked much about why I had it removed twice, but I believe it was because it was too large to properly remove all of it at once? (I’ll have to talk to my mom about that one and post back here).

    I just thought it’d be interesting to give any parents or relatives of children with a hemangioma some insight. I still remember those hospital visits. The puppet theater and writing my name in glue on construction paper and sprinkling it with glitter. I even remember the story they told me while they were putting me out. Almost 21 years later and it’s definitely not something I can forget, those little details sometimes just stick with you.

    The whole left side of my face was swollen for a good few succeeding weeks. It took months to heal and afterwards, my mom was constantly rubbing vitamin E on my cheek so it wouldn’t scar as badly. This was the best thing to prevent and treat scars at the time but I personally highly recommend Mederma as well for when a few years down the line, you’d like the scar to fade as much as possible. Especially as your child goes through school. That’s tough for any kid, but when you’re more self conscious about the 2″ scar running down your cheek, it doesn’t make growing up any easier. I always got nervous and slightly embarrassed when I’d catch a paused glance from a new friend or classmate, their eyes would always linger on the scar. Some kids would ask me about it, wondering if a dog had attacked me. (That was probably the most common guess about it from what I gathered). Most people would just look at it every once and awhile but were too shy or polite enough to not ask.

    I remember my mom telling me stories about people’s reactions to my hemangioma before I had it removed. She said one that she’ll never forget, one of the rudest comments, was when I was about 2 years old. She had taken me grocery shopping with her and was in line to checkout. The woman behind her was just blatantly staring at me while I sat in the seat in the cart. It wasn’t until she noticed my mom looking at her that she looked up and said “what is that thing on your daughter’s face?!” and my mom said something to the effect of, “It’s a birthmark, we call it a strawberry”. The woman replied, “strawberry? That looks more like a watermelon!”. Apparently this was a very loud woman as well and at that point she had the whole area looking and staring at my face. My mom was so upset for me that she grabbed me and left.

    She has told me how difficult it was for her to see me being judged as just a little baby and how some people were just cruel about it. My own grandmother was constantly asking my mom when she was going to take me to get it removed. Like I was an ugly baby or something. (On the contrary, I was told I was a very cute and happy baby actually. After they found out I was lactose intolerant and took me off of milk that is.) I realize it was difficult as a mother for my mom to see me have to go through that, but it also has a huge impact on the child too. They do have to live with it for the rest of their life…

    To this day, only rarely will someone ask me where I got that scar on my cheek from. I still notice it every time I look in the mirror. It has definitely faded, but I’ll never have that “flawless” skin. I’ve come to terms with it though. What’s a few battle scars, eh?

    Just add it to my collection. =)

  6. kathrine cassidy says:

    This article cracked me up. I have a 1 year old with a large hemangioma on his forehead and to the last person that said “wow that’s a nasty bump on his head” I replied…oh no its not a bump I burned him with my cigar. I said it completely straight-faced and then turned around and walked away. I get soooooooo tired of the constant comments. It’s unbelievable how rude people can be

    Thanks for making me laugh about it a little :)

    Kathrine

  7. Hillary says:

    Thank you so much for writing about your family’s story. Our daughter also has a hemangioma on her left cheek and I say the exact same thing to kids who ask about it! I also add, “I have a birthmark right here. Do you have one?” Our daughter is now 2 & 1/2 and tells people who ask about it herself. We too are taking a wait and see approach, though our pediatrician is less than supportive. My favorite comment we ever got was from a stranger on the street who said with a sneer and point, “Ewww! Are you going to DO something about that?” People can be so thoughtless. I only hope that we can arm our daughter with the tools to deal with rude people and teasing when/if it comes.

  8. Justin Calhoun says:

    I have the same mark on my left cheek… ive lived with it for 20 yyears now.. i know that it was rough goin threw school with it.. but i chose to live wit mine.. now that im older, ive realized it has matured me a lot faster than most and made me stay away from a lot of bad decisions ive could of made..

  9. Erin says:

    Functional Father, thank you so much for sharing your story. My daughter has a hemangioma on the side of her nose. At first, I had a really hard time dealing with all the comments from strangers, sometimes even family too. Your posting helped me realize I am not alone and reminded me that a little birthmark is really no big deal!
    I wanted to share that there is a relatively new topical option for hemangiomas that our doctor recommended (Dr. Frieden, head of pediatric dermatology at UCSF). It is called Timolol and we have been using it for a few weeks now. It is a clear liquid that you put on the hemangioma, and it has definitely helped take away some of the redness and control the growth, with zero negative side effects.
    Anyways, thanks again for sharing your story. Your daughter is gorgeous!

  10. Allison says:

    Hi, I’m just wondering if you have any updates on the involution of your daughter’s Hemangioma? My son has a large Hemangioma by his eye (in our case he was on steroids for 9 months b/c it was growing into his eye). He isis two andother it seems to be fading however it is more spread out and has lots of blood vessels and a small “ropy” area so I’m not sure that it will all go away on it s own. We often get questions like you mentioned…and I’m so sensitive to it. So I’m just curious about the progress of your child’s…and how she handles it/responds to people. Was it necessary to develop a response for her to tell others? Thanks so much!

  11. [...] “What the hell is that?” So, Your Child Has a Hemangioma …Jan 2, 2010 … Funny enough, we asked some immediate family members if there was any known history of hemangiomas and my Aunt (my mother’s sister … [...]

  12. michelle says:

    hi-
    it’s been a couple years since you wrote this article and I happened to come across it on an internet search. Thank you for writing this – you are spot on! My daughter was born with a hemangioma in about the exact same location as your daughter. She’s 3 now and it’s still there but has faded considerably. As far as comments from people, most think it’s a bruise. I’m always conflicted if I should just smile and keep moving or correct them and say its a birthmark.

  13. milo says:

    Our 6 month old daughter has a hemangioma in the same place as your daughters; about the same size but larger width. We took her to the dermatologist at Vanderbilt and they are big believers in Propanolol. But i’m still very nervouse giving to my daughter b/c it still trial drug right now. The results from the drug are very tempting but we are hoping that waiting a while it will go away on it’s own. How is your daughters hemangioma now that she is older? Here are some pics of my daughters.
    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150711877251309&set=a.10150711877246309.402381.654036308&type=1&theater
    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150711878011309&set=a.10150711877246309.402381.654036308&type=1&theater
    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150711880321309&set=a.10150711877246309.402381.654036308&type=1&theater

  14. Manogyata says:

    Hi,

    I am from India and my daughter is 13 months old and she has hemangioma on her forehead… I have come across wierdest things people say about it!

    Once in the park, a mum came upto me and asked if it was infectious… I wanted to punch in her face!
    We had decided to wait and watch earlier but somebody told us about a homoeopathic doctor who specialises in hemagiomas… i have been giving her medicines for about 5 months and I feel the growth is not as rapid as it was in the first few months… and now it has stopped growing also. importantly it develops a scab every 2-3 weeks and after the small spot scab falls off – a pink patch appears which further dries upto a skin-looking-island.
    Such so, there are small skin patches all over, the color appears much lighter (faded) and the size hasnt increased….

    I am not sure if this is the natural course of hemangiomas but I want to believe that homoeopathic medicines are working.

    I sometimes blamed myself and my karma for having a child with hemagioma – but I consoled myself later that there could have been thousands of wrong things that could have happened, but hemagioma is just nothing!

    We plan to get rid of it surgically once my daughter is of an age that she can consent – but before that I want to keep believing in the little something that I am doing by giving homoeopathic meds…

    :-) mum of a beautiful, bright sunshine!

    • R Loken says:

      What you’re describing is the natural course of the hemangioma. It’s not worth spending money on alternative treatments for hemangiomas, because it is almost certainly NOT going to impact its course in any way. I am all for several forms of alternative therapy, but in this regard I’m afraid you’ve been misguided somewhat.

  15. Nicole says:

    I have a four month old baby girl who also has a hemangioma on her left cheek. It is sort of a combination of a superficial hemangioma coupled with a very deep one. I am so sick of people asking me about it. Really, you can’t put two and two together and figure out that it is a birthmark on your own? Kids are always touching it and I’m like, where the heck are your parents? I don’t mind answering it for children because they are naturally attracted to the unusual but why am I having to field questions from adults? Maybe it disgusts them, but I am probably more sensitive about it than she will be. People can be cruel, I just don’t want her to suffer alienation from other children because of her birthmark. It’s tough enough being a kid, even an adult these days.

  16. Jaime says:

    I love to read inspiring stories like yours. My daughter is 8 months old and has a hemangioma on her head about the same size as your daughters! Just today we went to a local farmers market and almost every kid that passed said oh look at her booboo and just awkward stares from adults!! It is unbelievable to me that people could be so rude to an innocent child. Sometimes when children stare and laugh at my beautiful daughter I want to look at their parents and tell them they should be ashamed! Im contemplating surgery it is just such a hard decision…. Thank you for sharing your story!

  17. Emma says:

    I have been looking up birthmarks for a long time, as I have one on my face that has been concerning.
    When I was born I had a blue mark on my left cheek. The woman that delivered me was new to the job, and my parents thought it was a bruise. After a few months they came to the conclusion that it was a birthmark.

    When I was 8, I underwent laser removal procedures to get rid of this blue mark. Nothing changed after a year of monthly visits, so we called it quits.
    I’m 17 now, and in the past couple of years my family has noticed my cheek swelling up, getting larger gradually.

    I have also had many rude comments about it in the past.

    I’ve been researching the types of skin conditions out there, and this is the closest thing (I find) to my own deformity. I’m really glad I found this. If what’s on my face isn’t this, I don’t know what I’ll do.

  18. Mary Edwards says:

    Hi! I grew up with a little red mole on my eye lid. I remember being asked questions about it all the time at school.. “What is that thing on your eye?” I didn’t know what it was, I would always say a mole, it was like a mole, only it was red. I did feel very shy and embarrassed about it. It was small but still noticeable and I certainly noticed it. During my Junior year of high school while walking home from school and zipping up my jacket, my jacket tye flipped up and somehow got me right on that little red mole. My whole entire eyelid swelled up purplish blue/red. That is when my mom finally took me to see a doctor about it. I learned from the doctor that it was a capillary hemangioma and that it would need surgery to remove. (Well my mom could not afford that).. a few weeks later the swelling went down and it was pretty much the same way as before. A few years later I joined the Navy, and somehow during bootcamp it went away. I also lost 20 lbs during boot camp (had put on weight in highschool and got up to 175 lbs as a 5 ft 5 female). I don’t know if it was the weight loss or the extra cardio vascular activity that made it go away. When I discovered it was gone I felt as if it was a small miracle. I had forgotten about it all, until I couldn’t sleep and decided to randomly look things up, and then I came across this page. I figured I would give you my story and you can take it for what it is worth. Good luck to you!

  19. Veronica says:

    Hi , i really want to thank you for sharing this. I myself am not a mother but i take care of my sister a lot and im often mistaken to be her mother. She has a hemangioma too Shes had it since about 1 month old. I remember thinking that it was a tiny little scratch but it kept getting bigger and bigger. Finally her pediatrician told us it was a hemangioma. I remember looking at it a feeling really sorry that my sister had this nasty thing on her face but as time went on her little nasty thing seemed to not go anywhere, it became part of her and now its like i look at her and i dont even see it. Its almost been two years and it is getting lighter and lighter and smaller and smaller. I have to mention that i truly respect you as a parent because of how you said that you are going to hold off on the surgery until your daughter is old enough to give her input. I feel your anger and frustration because i absolutely can not stand when people come up to us and ask if she fell or if somebody hit her. Sometimes i wanna hit them and let them figure out if anything that looks like a hemangioma develops on their face. Once again thank you for sharing this, I used to feel like my sister was the only baby who had a strawberry on her face but its good to know others understand about them as well

  20. Vikki says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. My 10 month old son has two strawberry marks – one large puffy one on the side of his face and another smaller one under his chin. After 10 months of “wait-and-see” and monthly visits to a vascular birthmark specialist, we were advised that neither would fade over time or reduce in size, and that surgery would be the only course of action, preferebly before he is 18 months old (ease of surgery, smallest scar possible).

    It has been a harrowing trying to decide whether to put a baby through an elective surgery or not, when nothing is actually “wrong”. We have chosen to go through with it in order to get it over with before he is of an age to feel upset about it. Since he was 1 week old, children and adults alike come up to us on a daily basis and asked about it, rudely or otherwise. Over time we have become used to the marks, and even fond of them in a way, however we don’t want our son to come to us one day upset over something so easy to remove. Is this wrong or right? I can not say, but I can only relay a first-time parent’s challenging thought process! His surgery is scheduled for next month, with Dr.Milton Waner of NY.

  21. Brian Beets says:

    My son has one on his forehead about an inch above his left eye. It’s about the size of a quarter and about 1/4 inch thick. It’s very odd shaped, not quite as perfectly circular as your sons. It’s so normal for us that when people ask about it we’re initially not sure what they are talking about! We just told him it was where the angels kissed him when they brought him to us, and he doesn’t even think about it. If you want, I can send you a pic, or you can check out my FB page. Basically all my pics are of him :)

  22. Katherine says:

    My son has just been diagnosed with an internal hemangioma at 2.5years old! We noticed a lump on his arm about a year ago and thought he’d hurt himself as it was on his forearm right where you’d easily hit it playing. It’s not coloured but at some angles looks like a bruise or raised shadow about the size of a 50p coin and circular in shape. We took him to the doctor and they thought it was a calcium deposit from a knock and said it would go away in 6 months. 8 months later still there, the same size, not cuasing trouble but a worry so asked for further investigation and have just had a Consultant and Registrar look him over at the JR in Oxford. They think he has a deep hemagioma under the skin and may have it for life. they could remove it but that would leave a scar and unless you really look you wouldn’t notice it. Neither my husband nor I have strawberry birthmarks or any of our parents but my daughter developed a hemagioma on her throat at 10 days old and it is still visible though less red and breaking up 7 years old.

  23. Kayli says:

    I had one of these when I was a child and it just blows my mind whenever my mother told me the stories of how people would react. My “birthmark” looked like a giant bruise for most of my first five years. It was in the corner of my right eye and extended down along my cheekbone towards my ear. Mine was a deeper hemangioma so it didn’t protrude and had an almost wine colored look to it. In essence, it gave me a look that resembled a very bad black eye. When I was too young to talk and defend me or my mother, people would often approach her about my birthmark and some would assume that it was a black eye and that my mom beat me. They would usually say “Aw…what happened to her?” and give my mom a suspicious look. Her response was always that it was a birthmark because if she tried to explain that it was a blood tumor people would always act like I was contagious or some other ignorant response. One time my mom was waiting in line at Walgreens and when she got up to the cashier the woman (who apparently had seen us here before) loudly asked my mom “What did she do to deserve you beating her? You must do it often since that hasn’t healed at all.” My mom (who was really fed up by this point) picked me up out of the cart, held me up for the woman to see and yelled at her about how it was a birthmark and a blood tumor and no, she had NEVER beaten me and how that woman was an ignorant (insert swear words and further ranting here) for accusing her of beating me. The cashier backed down and apologized but then a few days later we had a pair of policemen come to our door. Someone filed a report that my mom abused me. After they saw me it took showing my doctor’s notes and having him call the police station for the charges to be dropped. It was insane.
    After a few years (before I hit school age), it had completely faded. Now the only time it’s even remotely visible is if I get really REALLY pale (like when I’m sick or haven’t had enough sleep) and then a slightly darker patch of skin is visible on my cheek.
    It always blew my mind how people reacted because children never teased me. It was always the adults. “Birthmark” was one of my earliest words because I had to say it so much. If a kid asked me, saying that just made them go “Oh.” and we were done. If an adult asked me or my mom it was always followed up by something cruel like an accusation or asking when or if it would go away, like it was a problem. I never saw it as a problem. My mother never did either. Neither did any of the kids I played with at daycare. Only the ignorant adults seemed to care.

  24. Michelle says:

    My daughters is located on the right side of jawline. It is crazy how people constantly ask what happen. Hers ulcerated, so it has a scar in middle. I actually had a guy in Walmart while I was checking out said to his family look what is that on her face… I just started crying and his wife slapped him!!!! But you said it best … There are so many worse things than having a hemangioma.

  25. Jill says:

    My daughter (3 months old) has one almost exactly where you’r daughters is. Is there any update? Did it completely go away? I see this article was created 3 years ago. I’m just very curious to know.

    • Jill – thanks for commenting, and yes, I am long overdue for a hemangioma update (and updating this site in general), but hoping to post one soon. My daughter’s hemangioma has faded significantly. Still slightly visible, but appears more like a faded bruise than it did in the pictures above. Will reply to this post when I have written an update.

  26. jess says:

    My daughter is 8 months old now and she has hamangiomas that cover half her face and head her back, groin, and right leg. She is on propanol 3td. She use to be on timolol but covering such a large area of her body it overdoses her. And she is also on sirolimus ( very rare case). She has had several amounts of laser treatments as hamangiomas ucelrate so it has eaten away her lip and had ulceratopn to the bum. She also suffers with hamangioma inside her small intestine which causes ulcerations causing internal bleeding. This is why she is on sirolimus as the time between blood transfusions were getting to 5 days and lower. Sirolimus saved my daughters life. She was born with it. Some parts are raised. She has significant swelling to one eye and has trouble opening it. She also went through about 15 mri 10 xrays mechal scans about 50 ultrasound several heart testing and theatre to diagnose. And yes on the occasion we go shopping I get what happen to her, what did you do to her, didnt you put sunscreen on her. And so many more or I feel sorry for you ( and this one really rubs me the wrong way)

    • Jess – thanks for sharing your story and my heart goes out to you and your daughter. You situation sure does put the more “cosmetic” hemangiomas, like my daughter’s, in a real perspective. My best wishes to you and your daughter.

  27. Kristen says:

    I would love to hear an update on your daughter’s hemangioma. Our son has one on the middle of his forehead, it appeared a few days after he was born and grew pretty rapidly up until about 6 months. He’s 10 months old now and I believe it has started to get smaller and it not quite as dark, it’s so hard to tell unless I go back through pictures, I’m so used to it now I don’t even see it. And in fact, we joke that it’s his kissing spot and we plant tons of kisses on his forehead!

  28. Yaamini says:

    Hi,
    I had hemangioma on left cheek exactly like ur daughter, During schooling I did have inquisitive friends & teachers questioning me what that was.. But once they understood they didn’t bother. I’m now in 20s & it has faded & almost not visible. The mark became invisible as I grew up, as told by doctors. With Indian skin tone of mine it just faded & almost merged with my colour tone. Left cheek looks slightly bulged than right, but it’s not that noticeable.. It just looks like I have a dimple when I smile.. No worries.. Assure ur daughter it’s gonna be fine as she grows. And being a girl it’s funny to hear how some find me cute with it now.

  29. Mimi says:

    Hello! Thank you for your article. My little 8 months boy has the same hemangioma as your daughter on his right cheek. I would love an update on your daughter hemangioma. Did it fade away?
    Thanks!

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