A port-wine stain, or nevus flammeus, is a dark red or reddish-purple birthmark that really does look as if someone spilled wine on the patient’s skin. Port-wine stains can occur anywhere, but they are most commonly found on the face, scalp, neck, legs or arms. If you have been looking for an effective treatment for this condition, then it is a good idea to learn more about IPL therapy.
What Causes Port-Wine Stains?
Port-wine stains are vascular birthmarks. They develop on patches of skin that don’t have enough nerve fibers to keep the capillaries narrow. The capillaries thus keep expanding, so more blood than usual flows into them and forms the stain under the skin. There is no way to prevent port-wine stains from developing.
Are They Dangerous?
Port-wine stains are generally harmless, but they can be disfiguring, especially if they’re large and/or on the face. If a port-wine stain is on the forehead or near the eye, the doctor will want to monitor the child, for the stain could be associated with an uncommon neurological disorder called Sturge-Weber syndrome. Port-wine stains on the eyelids may increase the chances of developing glaucoma.
What is IPL?
IPL, which stands for “intense pulsed light,” is a treatment that uses short bursts of highly intense polychromatic light. A laser, by contrast, consists of coherent light of a single wavelength. The IPL penetrates to just below the skin’s surface and causes the dilated blood vessels to heat up. The capillaries collapse and eventually disintegrate, causing the stain to fade.
What Happens During a Treatment?
During the procedure, the patient will see brief flashes of light and feel momentary pulses of heat. The treatment will typically take only 15 to 20 minutes. Most people need around three treatments, with each one being six to eight weeks apart.
Who is a Good Candidate for IPL Treatments?
The best candidates for IPL therapy are people who are sick and tired of the appearance of their port-wine stains on their body. IPL can also be used to treat rosacea, age spots, wrinkles, vascular lesions and much more. The treatment is extremely safe, and there is no downtime involved. Good candidates have overall good health as well as realistic expectations for what the treatment can do.
The best way to determine if you are a candidate for IPL therapy is to come in for a consultation at Fine Arts Skin and Laser in Dover. Contact our office today to schedule your appointment to learn more.