A port wine stain is a benign birthmark that is caused by enlarged capillaries under the skin’s surface. These swollen capillaries produce a light pink to dark-red- violet discoloration of the skin.
Port wine stains can be found anywhere on the body, however, it is common for them to present on the head and neck. Often the biggest problem people with port wine stains experience is low self esteem, and psychological issues due to their negative cosmetic appearance.
The cause of port wine stains is not completely understood by medical professionals. What doctors believe is that port wine stains develop as a result of deficient or absent neurons that would normally regulate blood flow through the skin’s capillaries. As a result, the blood vessels are unable to constrict normally and remain permanently enlarged giving off a pink to red appearance.
In the past, port wine stains have been treated by freezing, surgery, tattooing, and radiation. These treatment options have shown limited success and have been replaced by pulse dye laser (PDL) technology. The laser targets the vessels, and, over time and multiple treatments, causes the birthmark to lighten and diminish in size. Usually a combination of different lasers is needed to significantly reduce the appearance of a port wine stain.
After a PDL session, the skin may look darker or bruised, but this typically lasts only 7 to 14 days. This treatment has also been found to be safe for infants, toddlers, and children.
Call Windsor Dermatology today to schedule your stain-removal consultation.