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Tanning is a popular activity for many people, especially during the summer months. However, tanning can pose a potential risk for individuals with birthmarks. Birthmarks are common skin conditions that can appear anywhere on the body and vary in size, shape, and color. While most birthmarks are harmless, some may require medical attention or monitoring.

Here’s what you should know about tanning and birthmarks from our specialists at The Vascular Birthmark Center.

Your Type of Birthmark

Understanding your type of birthmark is critical to knowing how it can be exposed to the sun. there are two main categories of birthmarks:

  1. Vascular birthmarks – Vascular birthmarks are caused by abnormal blood vessels in the skin and can appear as red or purple marks on the skin.
  2. Pigmented birthmarks – Pigmented birthmarks are caused by an overgrowth of pigment cells and can appear as brown or black marks on the skin.

Both types of birthmarks can vary in size and shape and may be present at birth or develop later in life.

Excessive exposure to sunlight and tanning beds is widely known to increase the risk of skin damage, including skin cancer. Individuals with certain types of birthmarks, particularly those with dark pigmentation, are at a higher risk. The increased pigmentation absorbs more sunlight, making birthmarks more prone to becoming cancerous.

Our birthmark specialists recommend consulting with us to learn more about your birthmark and any specific information or measures to protect your health. Certain conditions may require extra precautions, such as avoiding excessive sunlight and UV exposure.

Enjoying the Sun with Your Birthmark

Here are some tips for protecting your skin while still enjoying the sun:

  • Wear sunscreen: Sunscreen is a must for anyone spending time outdoors, but it’s especially important for individuals with birthmarks. Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and apply it generously to all exposed skin.
  • Seek shade: If possible, try to avoid direct sun exposure during peak hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). If you’re spending time outdoors, seek shade under an umbrella, tree or other shelter.
  • Wear protective clothing: Clothing can provide an extra layer of protection against the sun’s harmful rays. Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants and hats with a wide brim to shield your skin from the sun.
  • Consider sunless tanning: If you want a summer glow without the risk of sun damage, consider using a sunless tanning product. These products are available in a variety of formulations, including lotions, sprays and mousses.
  • Consult with your dermatologist or birthmark specialist: If you have concerns about your birthmarks or how sun exposure may affect them, speak with a specialist. We can provide personalized recommendations based on your individual needs and concerns.

Always Monitor Your Birthmark for Changes

If you notice any changes in your birthmarks or your child’s, it is important to get them evaluated by a specialist. While some changes may be harmless, others may indicate a more serious condition, such as cancer. Fortunately, there are treatments available to reduce the effects and visibility of many birthmarks, or even remove them completely.

If you have any questions or concerns about a birthmark, it’s best to schedule a professional evaluation and consultation with the specialists at The Vascular Birthmark Center of New York. Our team can recommend any necessary treatments and provide guidance on birthmark care, including sun exposure and protection.

Posted on behalf of The Vascular Birthmark Center: Gregory M. Levitin, MD

200 W. 57th St., Suite 1410
New York, NY 10019

Phone: (212) 316-0616

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Our Patient Reviews
The Vascular Birthmark Center: Gregory M. Levitin, MD

4.8 / 5.0

Based on 27 reviews

Abril M.

Dr. Levitin is very knowledgeable, compassionate and professional. Five years ago, I needed to find information about a birth mark that my newborn daughter started to grow a couple days after birth. I was afraid, I did not feel like I got any clear information about it through my insurance; also, they did not offer any course of treatment for it. I started to look for information, the birthmark was growing each day, information was scarce and I just got more scared. Finally, I found a video in Youtube from a grandmother who was very grateful after finding treatment for her grand daughter through The Birthmark Foundation. It was a huge blessing to me and my family. I found Dr. Levitin, I contacted him thinking he probably would not even answer. I was wrong, he kindly answered promptly, got in touch with me and soon he had a plan : ) I went to see him at the Birthmark Center in Los Angeles. He explained everything in a way that it was so clear to understand, no question I made was insignificant and his answers were each very informative. I really never have had an experience with a doctor who explains and speaks in such a way. I left his office knowing that my daughter was in the best hands and the best care. I first thank God for the Birthmark Foundation, a great organization with the highest quality of doctors. Also, a very special thanks to Dr. Levitin for all his help and kindness, for listening to my concerns and answering each and every question. And last, but no least, to the Birthmark Foundation Center in Los Angeles : ) I hope many children can find help/care in this place as I found it for my daughter. Thank you forever.

Ryan E.

I will be telling tales of the good doctors compassion till time comes to an end. Because of Dr Levitin, I have more confidence in my every day life. He was fast, knowledgeable, precise and all with a disarming sense of humor. Two thumbs up!

Carla M.

I wanted to show you how much better Hailey's tongue looks and let you know her speech has already improved so much!!! Her speech teacher is thrilled!!!! Thank you so much for everything you did for her. You are an excellent surgeon with a great bedside manner- we are forever grateful to you!!! We are so appreciative!

Danielle L.

we are forever grateful for Dr. Levitin. My daughter Lena had surgery to remove her hemangioma that was located on her forehead at just 6 month old. she healed beautifully and we couldn't be happier with how minimal her scar is, even almost 4.5 years later. Dr. Levitin is caring, compassionate, and such a great doctor/surgeon overall. He had our daughter's best interest and I knew she was in good hands. I highly recommend him any chance I get!


My name is Chris and I was recently treated for an AVM on my forehead by Dr. Gregory Levitin of New York (New York Eye and Ear Infirmary). Thankfully, I live within a few hours of NYC. In brief, I would like to say that Dr. Levitin is very capable doctor with a lot of experience with AVMs. He responds quickly to e-mail, texts, and phone calls. He accepts insurance. He takes a "team approach" and will be your "QB" and involve other specialists as necessary. In my particular case they were Dr. Raj Shrivastava (Mt Sinai) and Dr. Raphael A. Ortiz (Lenox Hill) in NY. I recommend contacting Dr Levitin for a consultation if you suspect you have an AVM. All 3 Drs are just good people. When I spoke to them, they treated me like like an equal. I felt like they were advising me as a close friend or family member. Like many that suffer with AVMs I was at first mis-diagnosed. What was thought to be a just a simple cyst turned out to be an AVM. Surgery to remove the cyst made the AVM about 5x bigger. My treatment entailed a few MRIs and CAT scans to determine what was going on and the treatment plan. This was followed by consultation with the 3 Drs mentioned above and finally a 2-day procedure. On day 1 Dr Ortiz embolized the AVM. On day 2 Dr Levitin and Dr Shrivastava removed the AVM from my skull and put some metal mesh there to fill the "hole". It has been 6-months since the surgery and so far I have not had any recurrence. In honor of Vascular Birthmark Awareness Day and to thank these Drs for all they have done for me, I just want to give everyone a solid reference. Finding the right doctor for this type of stuff makes all the difference.

Valle S.

I just discovered this page i have also a birthmark I always experiences bully because of this. I don't know what kind of birthmark is this if it is harmful ? I hope Dr. Levitin notice this message in this way I think he can help me :) :) #DrLevitin

Alicia M.

This year marks the 10th that I contacted VBF for help. Since then I have been under the care of Dr. G Levitin and Dr. R. Ortiz, they are my guardian healing angels! Thanks VBF for not only helping me but also for letting me be a volunteer in the foundation whenever I am needed. A Big Hug to all from MIAMI... Alicia

Alexander G.

Totally positive experience. Dr. Levitin is a great professional. He has diagnosed and treated my nose breathing problem, significantly improving my quality of life. Office staff is very professional. Appointments always kept on time. Strongly recommend.