Can birthmarks be hereditary?

My sister just had a baby girl a week ago. She was born with a light strawberry birthmark on her forehead and left eyelid. Her sister, now 6, was born with a birthmark on her forehead and right eyelid. My sister, their mother, was born with the same birthmark (in my sister’s and older niece’s cases, the faded in infancy). I just found out another relative (1st cousin once removed?) was born with a similar birthmark.

Just a remarkable coincidence, or is there a hereditary aspect of birthmarks?

They’re not generally considered to be hereditary, but in some cases, port wine stains (a specific type of birthmark - like the one Mikhail Gorbachev has) seem to have familial occurrence.

There are also cases where an underlying hereditary genetic disorder causes the appearance of birthmarks, such as Sturge-Weber syndrome (although in that case, the birthmarks are quite trivial compared to the other symptoms).


That Sturge-Weber syndrome link says that it causes birthmarks on the forehead and upper eyelid… which is exactly where my sister and nieces have it!

Odd, that.

Yeah, but it’s:
-Extremely rare
-Associated with a whole bunch of other quite conspicuous symptoms, which you couldn’t have failed to notice.

Anecdotally, it seems that some birthmarks run in families. My daughter was born with a blue mark* on her back, in exactly the same place my older sister had one. Just as with my sister, it faded away to unnoticeability in a few years. They’re aren’t the only ones, either, though I can’t attest to placement for the others. All were female, though - No blue marks on the guys.
*Sometimes called a Mongolian Blue Spot. Legacy of the trace amount of Chumash blood in the family.

My wife and daughter have the same birthmark on the left side of their bellies. It is about the size of a dime and very distinctive although not unattractive. There aren’t any other marks around so we always assumed that it was inherited. Me, my father, and my two bothers have a dark, distinctive freckle on exactly the same place on our right ears. My grandfather did as well. I am skeptical that this stuff is all that rare.

Holy crow! Thanks!

My son has one of those on his lower back. The doc said it was just a type of birthmark and nothing to worry about. But I didn’t know what it was called or anything.

I wonder where it came from, given that my husband and I are both of Russian Jewish descent. But then again, his grandmother was from the more Eastern part of Russia…I wonder if my son ended up with a drop of Mongolian blood! Well, it’s fun to think about, anyway. :slight_smile:

Yeah, they look like pale bruises, are almost always on the back, and fade around age four or five. Quite harmless, and given your ethnic history, entirely normal.