(See also Overview of Skin Growths Overview of Skin Growths Cells of the skin and underlying tissue may accumulate and cause growths. Growths may be raised or flat and range in color from dark brown or black to skin-colored to red. They may be present... read more and Overview of Growths and Malformations of the Vessels Overview of Growths and Malformations of the Vessels Growths and malformations of the vessels (angiomas) are collections of abnormally dense blood or lymph vessels, usually located in and below the skin, that cause red or purple discolorations... read more .)
Port-wine stains are harmless, permanent discolorations. However, their cosmetic appearance may be psychologically bothersome or even devastating. They appear as flat pink, red, or purple patches of skin. Port-wine stains may be small or may cover large areas of the body. Port-wine stains that appear on the nape of the neck of newborns have been referred to as stork bites.
Rarely, facial port-wine stains appear as part of Sturge-Weber syndrome Sturge-Weber Syndrome Sturge-Weber syndrome involves an abnormal growth of small blood vessels. It is characterized by a port-wine birthmark on the face, overgrowth of blood vessels (angioma) in the tissues that... read more , a rare disorder present at birth that is associated with neurologic problems such as seizures and intellectual disability.
Some port-wine stains can be covered with cosmetic cover-up cream. If a stain is bothersome, its appearance can be greatly improved with laser therapy (see sidebar Using Lasers to Treat Skin Problems Using Lasers to Treat Skin Problems ), especially if the stain is treated as early in life as possible. As these are malformations, they do not resolve spontaneously.