Causes & Symptoms

Skin Conditions

Find out more about both common and rare skin conditions, the causes and symptoms and how we can help you treat these conditions
Port Wine Stains2019-06-05T13:44:24+10:00

Port Wine Stains

Causes & Symptoms

A port wine stain is a birthmark and is a very common skin condition. Although it is rarely harmful, it can impact highly on an individual’s confidence and self esteem.

Port wine stains are common birthmarks caused by tiny blood capillaries in the skin. This condition gets its name due to the colour the birthmark makes the skin. Unfortunately, they rarely fade, however they are not signs of any major health problem.

In addition, there is no known cause for port wine stains, and you cannot prevent them from happening as it relates to chemical signals in the blood vessels. Furthermore, if an individual has port wine stains on their face or around their eyes it can have serious consequences such as seizures or eye problems. This can lead to problems such as glaucoma, which can lead to blindness. Therefore if this is the case, we highly recommend you to see one of our dermatologists.

Treatment at The Skin Hospital

Unlike other birthmarks, port wine stains grow as the child grows, continuing and lasting into adulthood. Not only does the stain get bigger, but the colour can also get darker as well as the skin’s texture changing slightly, becoming thicker than the rest of the skin. Furthermore, the skin can also change from a smooth texture into an almost ‘pebbly’ feel.

Port wine stains shouldn’t itch, hurt or bleed. If this is the case then you should consult your doctor straight away as they will be able to let you know if there are any problems.

The preferred treatment for port wine stains is pulsed dye lasers (PDL). This has proven to have a high success rate and lighten the colour of port wine stains. However, in some cases port wine stains will not respond to PDL and will need further consultation and possible other laser treatments.

Further Information

If you would like further information on port wine stains the sites below provide more in-depth descriptions of port wine stains:

Port-wine stain – ACD

Capillary vascular malformation – DermNet NZ 

Find a Specialist

All our dermatologists are highly skilled in diagnosing and treating Port Wine Stains. Click on the link below to find a dermatologist who can help you with your skin condition.

General Dermatology