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About Port Wine Stains

When they hear about port wine stains, most people automatically think of wine stains on table cloths or shirts, caused specifically by accidentally spilling some port wine. This, of course, can be true, and there are probably many advices and tips as to how to remove such stains from the clothes. However, medically, or to be more precise, dermatologically speaking, port wine stains are pink, purple or red patches on the skin, often on the face, that are considered birthmarks and are generally indelible.

This hereditary disorder is characterized by burgundy-colored patches that are usually located on the face, although they can affect other parts of the body as well.

Naevus flammeus, which is a medical term for port wine stains, is a relatively rare congenital disorder caused by the swelling of blood vessels in the affected area. It was considered unsolvable and indelible for a long time, but today, with the advent of laser and plastic surgery, those unsightly wine-colored patches can be effectively removed.

These stains, of course, can be covered up with cosmetics or even with a tattoo, but such solutions are not exactly convenient. Permanent solutions, involving surgery and laser procedures, are much more effective, and their cost depends on the extent of the stain and on the procedure itself.

Laser Surgery

Laser removal of port wine stains is by far the most popular method. It uses the pulsed dye laser pointed at the affected area, where the strong, intermittent beam of light passes through the dye, providing a desired color and tone to match the pigmentation of the skin. Laser imprints a completely even tone and the procedure is harmless, which is why most people opt for it.

Surgical Skin Graft

In case laser surgery does not solve the problem, the next solution is surgical skin graft. In this procedure, the patch of the skin affected with port wine stain is replaced with a healthy piece of skin from some other part of the body. This procedure has a high success rate but the problem is that it will always be possible to see the difference between the new patch and the surrounding skin, especially if exposed to sunlight.


Dermabrasion is a procedure is which the skin is sanded down in the process of abrasion or smoothening of the skin, providing uniformity and equal tone and texture. This procedure is very effective for scars, wrinkles and minor blemishes, but for port wine stains its success rate is medium, and in some cases even medium-low, which is why most people opt for it only as the last resort.

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