If you have a patch of skin with a bluish-grey or medium brown coloration, you may have a condition known as “Nevus of Ota,” named for the physician who first identified the skin abnormality. At Miami Dermatology and Laser Institute, board-certified dermatologist, Jill Waibel, MD, FAAD, treats Nevus of Ota for men and women living all over the world.
What is Nevus of Ota?
Nevus of Ota is typically a type of birthmark that has a medium brown or bluish grey coloration. The discoloration of the skin occurs because the skin cells that are responsible for skin color are in the deeper layers of skin. Areas with Nevus of Ota have melanin-producing cells in the dermis, and the normal skin has melanin-producing cells in the epidermis or outer layer of skin.
What Causes Nevus of Ota?
Studies have not been able to identify a specific cause of Nevus of Ota, but there is a link to some abnormalities in the melanin-producing cells. Approximately half of the cases are present from birth, which is why it is considered a type of birthmark. The condition has also been described as having developed in the teenage and early adult years.
How is Nevus of Ota Treated?
Although it tends to take multiple treatments, treatment with lasers is the best and most effective treatment for Nevus of Ota. The laser procedure destroys the damaged melanocytes. Lasers used to treat these lesions include Q-Switched ruby laser, Q-Switched Nd:YAG, and Q-Switched alexandrite.