Port Wine Stain

port wine stain

port-wine stain

A port-wine stain is a form of birthmark that appears pink at birth and tends to darken to a red or purple color as a child ages. This birthmark is tokened with the name port-wine stain due to the color similarity to wine. Around three out of every 1,000 children have a port-wine stain at birth.

Port-wine stains are commonly known as nevus flammeus and can appear on all areas of the body. Common areas include the face, scalp, neck, arms, and legs. These birthmarks can range in size and grow as the child grows. Port-wine stains are initially untextured but can develop a bumpier texture as children age.

Are Port-Wine Stains Harmful?

Port-wine stains do not cause any physical discomfort however, they can take an emotional toll on children. The darkening and growth of the stains as children age can affect their self-esteem and confidence. Port-wine stains can cause a child to feel different than their peers.

If a port-wine stain changes later in life, it is crucial to get it checked by a medical professional. Individuals with port-wine stains near their eyes are at a heightened risk of developing glaucoma. The birthmark can be more prone to bleeding when injured, due to the abnormal capillaries.

Causes of Port-Wine Stains

These birthmarks can occur from abnormally formed capillaries. These capillaries are dilated and are more stretched out than normal capillaries. This condition is unrelated to genetics, and no specific causes exist.

Examinations and Testing

A medical provider can diagnose your port-wine stain through a variety of tests and skin evaluations. In some cases, a skin biopsy is needed, while in other cases your doctor can tell simply by looking at the skin.

Treatment for Port-Wine Stains

Although port-wine stains do not fade naturally, laser treatments have proven to be highly effective in dulling the color of the birthmark. This treatment works by shrinking the birthmark blood vessel fading the mark. 

Although port-wine stains won’t disappear independently, they can be treated by a professional. At Clear Dermatology & Aesthetics we offer laser treatments to minimize the appearance of port-wine stains. Laser treatments can lighten the birthmark, making it less visible in areas such as the face and neck.

At Clear Dermatology & Aesthetics Center, we proudly offer the V-Beam Perfecta “pulsed-dye” laser. Laser treatment is often started during childhood when the blood vessels and birthmark are smaller. This ensures that the birthmark responds more readily to treatment. Laser treatments can also help diminish port-wine stains in older children, teens, and adults. The longer the stain has been on the skin, the more treatment sessions you may require. 

Laser therapy treatments are short, lasting only a few minutes, depending on the size of the birthmark. Treatments should be administered every few months to yield the best results. After treatment, your skin can appear red and tender, like a sunburn. Numbing cream, spray, or anesthesia can be delivered to young children.

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