Birthmarks: Port-Wine Stains •

There are different types of birthmarks your child could be born with.  A rare type is called port-wine stains.  It is a birthmark that gets its name from the shape of the birthmark looking like maroon wine has been spilled or splashed across the skin.  It usually isn’t harmful, though the appearance of them is usually very noticeable.

Port-wine stains are usually found most commonly on the face, neck, scalp, arms, or legs.  Though this type of birthmark can show up anywhere.  About 3 out of every 1000 children are born with port-wine stains. 

Port-wine stains are a birthmark that won’t go away on their own.  As the child grows the birthmark will grow with them and usually get darker in coloring.  The skin may thicken as well as turn into a pebbly texture.  Usually port-wine stains don’t cause any complications.  The appearance of them though can cause someone with them to be self conscious of them. 

Port-wine stains are a vascular birthmark.  The blood vessels are bigger which causes the skin to turn red.  This birthmark will last until adulthood.  It shouldn’t itch, hurt or bleed. 



Nothing can be done during pregnancy to prevent port-wine stains.  As well as there is nothing that a mother does during pregnancy that causes port-wine stains. 



The main symptoms that go along with port-wine stains is the darkening of the birthmark, as well as the skin texture changing as the child grows.  


Treatment Options

There are some treatment options that you can choose to do.  There is no way to completely get rid of the port-wine stains but you can lighten the darkness of them, or get rid of the appearance of them.  How you treat the birthmark depends on where and the size of the birthmark.  The main treatment options are laser treatments or light treatments.  These treatments damage abnormal blood vessels, this causes the blood vessel to close up and disintegrate after a week or so.  This will help fade the appearance of the port-wine stains.  Some light treatments can include bromide copper vapor, diode, alexandrite, or intense pulsed light.  The treatments may not completely remove but will definitely help the appearance of the port-wine stains.  To remove the appearance may take several treatments.



Very rarely there may be some complications that go along with port-wine stains.  This is usually dependent on where the stains are located.  If you have port-wine stains around your eyes it can cause glaucoma.  It can also cause one pupil to be larger than the other, one eye looks more prominent, or one eyelid is more prominent than the other.  In very rare cases with port-wine stains on your face it can cause Sturge-Weber syndrome.  This syndrome can cause seizures, eye problems, weak muscles, migraines, and trouble learning. 


Wrapping It Up 

Port-wine stains can range in size and location.  Though normally found on the face, neck, scalp, arms, or legs.  Sometimes can be found on the abdomen.  When the child is young the skin will be smooth, but as the child grows the birthmark will grow proportionally with the growth of the child.  As well as the skin may become thicker, with a pebbly texture. 

Though treatment can help the appearance of the port-wine stains, and help a child’s self-esteem, treatment can’t always get rid of the birthmark.  There are several treatment options. Your doctor will know the best course of treatment depending on where the port-wine stain is as well as how big it is. 

You cannot prevent port-wine stains from happening; it is a vascular birthmark.  It is caused by blood vessels that are bigger than normal causing the skin to turn red.  Usually they don’t cause any complications though sometimes they can cause complications.  So, getting them looked out to make sure there is not underlying concern is a good idea even if you don’t need or want treatment for them.  


READ MORE:  Baby Skin & Chapped Cheeks

Port-wine stains are a rare type of birth mark that is distinctive in appearance.  But do not worry, they rarely cause complications and there are treatment options for fading these skin discolorations.


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HealthStatus Team

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