Port Wine Stain

Port wine stains can be successfully treated with either Laser or Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) at Harley Skin and Laser in Newcastle Under Lyme.

A port-wine stain is a red or purple mark on the skin. It is usually present from birth. About 3 in 1000 babies are born with a port-wine stain. Most occur on the face but any area of the skin can be affected. Port-wine stains affect males and females equally. They are not hereditary.

Port-wine stains vary in size from a few millimetres across to many centimetres. Their colour can vary from pale red to deep purple. If left untreated, port-wine stains tend to darken over the years as the blood flow through them becomes more sluggish. The overlying skin is smooth and flat at first. By middle age the overlying skin can become thickened and lumpy (a ‘cobblestone’ appearance).

A port-wine stain is a localised blood vessel problem. The tiny blood vessels (capillaries) in port-wine stains remain dilated (wide). It is like a permanent localised blush. The reason why this occurs is thought to be due to a damaged or faulty nerve supply to the affected tiny blood vessels. The nerve impulses that make the blood vessels narrower are lost so they then stay wide all the time.

Apart from their appearance, no other symptoms or problems occur in most cases. However, about 1 in 10 babies born with a port-wine stain on the face have problems of the eye or brain. * Eye problems may develop if the port-wine stain is on the eyelid area. If a child has a port-wine stain next to an eye then an eye specialist will normally check the child regularly until they are adult. * Brain abnormalities are an uncommon association with port-wine stains of the face. This is due to extensive blood vessel abnormalities in the brain. (The Sturge-Weber syndrome.) Epilepsy and other problems may then develop. The majority of children with port-wine stains do not have these complications.