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Port Wine Stain

Port wine stain or naevus flammens is the reddish or purple birthmark exhibited by some people.  It is a type of hemangioma or strawberry marks caused by a collection of blood vessels.  It cuts across races and cultures.  The birthmark is caused by vascular malformations or dilated capillaries in the skin.  At birth, a newborn may bear the purple color on any part of his body, and that stays throughout his life.  As the infant grows into adulthood, the port wine stain grows in proportion.  It is estimated that three out of 1,000 people have the stain on the face. 

Early on, the port wine stain is flat and pink in appearance.  As the person grows older, the stain thickens and deepens in color.  Development of lumps and thickening of the lesion may also occur.  When there is increased tissue mass or Hypertrophy, this will result in some disfigurement.  

All birthmarks should be evaluated by a physician.  Port wine stain around a child’s eye should be evaluated for the risk of glaucoma.  The port wine stain adds pressure to the eye.  Periodic check up must be scheduled to assess the condition of the port wine stain and its effect on the eye area.  In some cases, an X-ray of the skull will be needed to measure the intraocular pressure.  A skin biopsy may be required to confirm othe clinical observations.  

People afflicted with port wine stain resort to all means to rid of the birthmark.  Treatments include radiation, tattooing, freezing, and surgery.  Lasers have proven to be more effective as these have the capacity to destroy the cutaneous capillaries without much damage to the outer skin.  Others use cosmetic solutions, which produce good camouflage cover.  

Here are some ways to treat unwanted port wine stain:  Use a blemish remover, following the directions carefully.  If the instructions require the application of a skin protector before the treatment, then apply it first.  After applying the stain remover, let it dry on your face.  The skin will absorb the formula.  You can wash off the residue.         

Laser treatment is the preferred choice for the treatment of port wine stain.  Before a child should undergo laser treatment, parent should get more details from the doctor.  For infants, the flashlamp pump dye laser has been successfully in destroying stains.  This laser emits yellow light.  For adults, the neodymium YAG laser inhibits the further development of nodules on port wine stains.

There are several more complications caused by port wine stains.  It is advised that port wine stains should not be treated lightly.  These can develop blisters, which bleed easily.  These should be removed. In some instance, the tissues surrounding the port wine stain may enlarge, maybe around the lip.  A stain on the scalp can develop deeper blood vessel irregularities associated with epilepsy.  If a fit occurs, a child should be brought to a neurologist for an evaluation.