Hemangiomas are the most common birthmark of infancy.

  • The lesion is usually seen at about 2 weeks of life.
  • Typically it appears as a pink to light red area on the superficial skin.
  • The growth phase starts around 2 months of age. The lesion grows rapidly and becomes red and raised until about age 1, when it begins to shrink.
  • Deeper lesions may be purple in color with the skin being less raised.
  • Hemangiomas shrink approximately 50 percent by age 5 and nearly 70 percent by age 7.

Visually, the lesions typically fade in color, and the skin takes on a “crepe-paper” look. When the lesions fade and shrink, about 50 percent of children have normal-appearing skin.

Hemangiomas that are large, ulcerated, distort facial structures (eye or nose), or involve the airway, are often treated with a course of oral steroids or propranolol.

Who are more vulnerable to hemangiomas?

  • Preterm infants are much more likely to have hemangiomas with an incidence of about 23 percent.
  • Females are more frequently affected than males (3–5 to 1 ratio).
  • They are seen in approximately 10 percent to 12 percent of Caucasians.

View Children's Hospital's Vascular Anomalies Center brochure (PDF).