A port-wine stain (also known as nevus flammeus) is a type of vascular birthmark, and it occurs in approximately 3 children per 1,000 live births. These birthmarks derive their name from their wine-colored appearance. Port-wine stains produce a light pink, red, dark red, or violet discoloration of skin. Although they can develop anywhere on the body, they most commonly occur on the face, neck, and scalp.
Causes of Port-Wine Stains
Port-wine stains are vascular birthmarks, which means the condition is related to the skin’s blood vessels. The birthmark develops when chemical signals in tiny blood vessels don’t “turn off,” causing those blood vessels to get bigger. The extra blood turns the skin red.
There are no known causes of port-wine stains – they affect males, females, and all racial groups equally. There also appears to be no hereditary predilection for the condition within families. Port-wine stains occur randomly, and there is no way to prevent them. There are no known risk factors, and they are generally harmless and painless.
Living with Port-Wine Stains
Although port-wine stains generally pose no major health problems, they can cause self-esteem issues. Because they commonly develop on the face, they can be hard to cover, which can be distressing for a child and cause self-confidence issues, especially during the teenage years. Their appearance also might cause others to treat those with the condition differently. Furthermore, as a child grows, the birthmark grows. If left untreated, the birthmark can become darker, thicker, and bumpy.
Treatment for Port-Wine Stains
Because these birthmarks can darken and become more noticeable as a person ages, treating the condition early is important. According to the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation, studies have recently shown that aggressive treatment of infants and young children at earlier ages improves the appearance of port-wine stains.
At DermaHealth, we provide laser treatments to help reduce and minimize the appearance of port-wine stains. Our medical staff will evaluate your port-wine stain, and we have designed a program to give our clients optimum results. Depending on the area(s) to be treated, initial treatments may be administered by one of our trained Registered Nurses. If the treatment site reaches a more sensitive area, our physician will complete the process. Although treatment is a slow process, approximately three-quarters of children see an improvement in the condition’s appearance.
For more information and to see if you (or your child) are a candidate for our port-wine stain treatment, schedule a complimentary consultation with DermaHealth today.