Some marks appear on the skin from birth. These marks, known as café au lait spots because of their ochre or light brown colour, are common among children. Even though the pose no risk to your health, they can be a source of insecurity because of how they look.
Café au lait spots: what are they?
At birth or from the age of two, many children have flat, oval marks on their skin. These marks, known as café au lait spots because of their ochre or light brown colour, often occur in isolation.
Located mainly on the lower back, chest, lower and upper limbs, they have a diameter of less than 1.5 cm. The spots may change and grow as the child grows, particularly during adolescence. In adulthood, most café au lait spots blend with the skin’s natural pigmentation and become less visible.
It is important to note that these marks do not pose any health risks if there are fewer than three of them and their colour does not become darker with time.
Some people find these marks unsightly. There are cosmetic medical treatments that can be used to remove café au lait spots.
Café au lait spots: what are the causes?
Melanin is the pigment that gives the skin its colour. The lighter the skin, the lower the density of melanin. Café au lait spots are caused when too much melanin is produced in the skin. This pigment is produced by a cell present in the epidermis: the melanocyte.
These marks are often considered ugly and, if they are located in the wrong place, can be a source of insecurity. Cosmetic medicine offers effective treatment options for these marks.
Most of these spots do not pose any health risks. However, in some rarer cases, if the size of the mark increases or if the number increases to more than three, they could pose a health risk. This conditions is called neurofibromatosis. Café au lait spots can be a sign of a tumour along the nerves. You are advised to consult a specialist doctor to monitor the development of your café au lait spots.
Café au lait spots: what treatments are available?
Thanks to cosmetic medicine, you can get rid of café au lait spots.
The method used for this is depigmentation of the skin. Just as the café au lait spot is caused by hyperpigmentation in the skin, destroying the surplus melanin causes the skin to return to its natural colour. Dermatologists use a laser or pulsed light to do this.
The skin pigment absorbs the light rays. When it comes into contact with the melanin in the skin, the laser transforms into heat and causes combustion. The pigment is then burned and destroyed.
This radical, non-invasive method should be used with caution. Before the laser session, the dermatologist should examine the areas to be treated. They will assess the patient’s skin pigmentation and the extent of the mark. They will then adjust the laser to the patient’s phototype to eliminate any risk of burns and to ensure a positive result.
In rare cases, in which the café au lait spots are very dense, laser treatment should not be used, to avoid any risks.