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Cambridge Laser Clinic - Port Wine Stain Myths

Busting Common Myths About Port Wine Stains

Port wine stains, characterised by their deep red or purple coloration, are a type of vascular birthmark that affects approximately 0.3% of newborns. Despite being relatively common, port wine stains are often shrouded in misconceptions and myths.

Myth 1: Port Wine Stains Fade Over Time

One common misconception about port wine stains is that they will naturally fade or disappear as a person ages. While some vascular birthmarks, such as haemangioma, may regress over time, port wine stains typically do not fade on their own. They often darken and become more prominent with age. Without intervention, port wine stains are likely to persist throughout a person’s lifetime.

Myth 2: Port Wine Stains Are Harmless

While port wine stains are benign and do not pose a direct health risk, they can have significant psychosocial implications for individuals affected by them. Beyond the visible appearance of the birthmark, port wine stains may be associated with emotional distress, low self-esteem, and social stigmatisation, particularly in cases where the birthmark is large or prominently located on the face or other visible areas of the body. Addressing these psychosocial aspects is an essential aspect of comprehensive care for individuals with port wine stains.

Myth 3: There is No Effective Treatment for Port Wine Stains

Laser therapy is commonly used to treat port wine stains by targeting the blood vessels responsible for the discoloration. While laser treatment can significantly improve the appearance of port wine stains, it may not eliminate them, especially in cases of deep or extensive birthmarks. Additionally, multiple treatment sessions may be required to achieve optimal results, and individual responses to laser therapy can vary. It’s essential for individuals considering laser treatment to have realistic expectations and consult with a qualified dermatologist or laser specialist. Dr Nathan Holt at Cambridge Laser Clinic has over 30 years of laser experience and can provide detailed information on Port Wine Stain treatments. The laser used at the clinic is:

  • Candela Vbeam Prima Pulsed Dye Laser 595nm (PDL) – The gold standard treatment of choice. This advanced laser can selectively destroy the dilated capillaries significantly fading unwanted redness and thickening.

Myth 4: Port Wine Stains Are Easily Covered Up with Makeup

While makeup can help camouflage the appearance of port wine stains, achieving natural-looking coverage can be challenging, especially for larger or darker birthmarks. Moreover, makeup may not be entirely waterproof or long-lasting, posing practical challenges for individuals seeking to conceal their birthmarks for extended periods. While makeup can provide temporary relief from the visibility of port wine stains, it’s essential for individuals to explore other treatment options for long-term management and improvement of their birthmark’s appearance.

Book Your Port Wine Consultation

Port wine stains are more than just a superficial blemish—they are a complex and often misunderstood aspect of dermatological health. By dispelling common myths and misconceptions surrounding port wine stains, we can foster greater understanding and empathy for individuals affected by these unique birthmarks. Whether seeking treatment for cosmetic or psychosocial reasons, individuals with port wine stains deserve access to accurate information and comprehensive care tailored to their individual needs. Through education and awareness, we can promote inclusivity and acceptance for all skin types and variations. Book your consultation today.