Birthmarks are present at birth or develop shortly afterward. Most fall into one of two categories: port-wine stains and pigmented (often called coffee-and-cream or cafe-au-lait) birthmarks.
A Port-wine stain is a vascular birthmarks caused by a high concentration of blood vessels in the birthmark. Swollen vessels in the area cause a reddish-purplish discoloration of the skin. This type of birthmark occurs in about 3 out of every 1,000 people.
Early port-wine stains are usually flat and pink in appearance. As the child gets older, however, the color may deepen to a dark red or purple. Port-wine stains occur most often on the face but can appear anywhere on the body.
Many treatments have been tried for port-wine stains, including freezing, surgery, radiation, and tattooing. However, laser therapy has been the most successful. It is the only method that can destroy the tiny blood vessels in the skin without significantly damaging the skin. The exact type of laser needed varies depending on the person's age and particular port-wine stain characteristics. Generally, multiple treatments are needed.
Stains on the face respond better to laser therapy than those on the arms, legs, or middle of the body. Older stains may be more difficult to treat.
Pigmented birthmarks, also called coffee-and-cream (cafe-au-lait) birthmarks, are patches of skin with high concentrations of pigmentation. These types of birthmarks may also be removed or lightened with laser treatment.
While most birthmarks carry no increased medical risks, others may be associated with increased risks of Glaucoma, seizures and/or melanoma skin cancer.
Like birthmarks, moles can be easily removed through either plastic surgery or laser treatment.
If you have unwanted birthmarks or moles and are considering treatment, give us a call at the Gateway Aesthetic & Laser Center.