Port wine stains are thought to affect approximately three people out of every thousand. Although they can occur anywhere on the body, they are most often found on the face. Caused by swollen blood vessels close to the surface of the skin, port wine stains are usually present from birth, and have the appearance of a red or purple discoloration of the skin.
While port wine stains do not generally pose a threat to health, they can deepen in colour over time, thus becoming more noticeable as a person ages. Depending on the size and colour of the birthmark, people may find that it causes them significant emotional distress, and that it can affect their self-confidence and ability to interact with others.
Although there are various types of port wine stains removal available, the most effective type of treatment uses lasers. This is the only method that can denature and destroy the tiny blood vessels within the skin that cause the problem.
The light energy is absorbed by the red haemoglobin in the blood rather than the surrounding skin, which means the treatment is highly targeted and does not damage the surrounding skin cells. For those who suffer from this skin condition, successful treatment can transform their lives.