A port wine stain is a type of birthmark, present from birth or shortly afterwards, that occurs when the tiny blood vessels in the skin known as capillaries develop abnormally. As its name suggests, a port-wine stain tends to be red or purple in colour. These birthmarks can appear anywhere, although it is common to find them on the face.

Unlike other vascular birthmarks which fade over time, port wine stains grow with the individual and can deepen in colour as the years pass. They can also start to thicken and cause the surface of the skin to appear uneven and bumpy.

A noticeable port wine stain can cause considerable distress to an individual and can have a detrimental effect on self-confidence and social relationships. Birthmark removal using Intense Pulsed Light is by far the most effective way to deal with an unwanted port wine stain.

The light causes the blood in the dilated capillaries to heat up until it reaches temperatures that will denature the cells lining the vessel walls. The blood vessels then begin to collapse and disintegrate, and with repeated treatments, the birthmark fades away.