If you have recently had a child and have noticed a red, maroon, or large pink mark on the skin, then your baby has a port wine stain. If you are concerned about this and how it may affect your child long-term, then keep reading to learn about some facts about these formations.
What Is A Port Wine Stain?
A port wine stain is a type of birthmark that appears on the skin. These birthmarks typically look light pink at first, but they darken as your child ages. The marks can develop into a deep maroon color, and this explains the name of the mark. Specifically, it appears as though port wine was poured onto the skin. The official name for the mark is nevus flammeus, and it commonly appears on the face, although it can appear on any area of the body.
Most port wine stains are birthmarks caused by vascular issues and the specific malformation and abundance of the capillaries underneath the skin. While the vast majority of the birthmarks are simply harmless and superficial, the marks can be a symptom of a more serious disorder. For example, the marks may appear if your child has Sturge-Weber syndrome. This is a neurological disorder that can cause seizures and learning disabilities. If your child has the birthmark on their forehead or scalp, then an MRI should be completed to see if the disease is present.
Can The Stains Be Treated?
Many children can live with birthmarks. They cause no harm to their health and they can often be overlooked, especially if they are not located on the face. If a port wine stain does appear on the face, then treatments can be started to reduce the appearance of the stains. Since the issue is related to an abnormality in the number and formation of the blood vessels underneath the skin, the issue cannot be completely fixed or eradicated.
While your child will likely need to live with the port wine stain, laser treatments can be used to reduce the appearance of the birthmark. Specifically, they fade the mark so it is less apparent. Since port wine stains will grow with your child, it is wise to opt for laser treatments when your child is still an infant. The treatment is uncomfortable, but anesthetics are often applied beforehand to ease the pain from the laser.
At home, the stains can be treated with lotions. The skin of the birthmark will often become quite dry, especially if laser treatments are started. Using a moisturizer can help to reduce the scaly appearance of the mark.