Gateway Aesthetic Center: Birthmarks and Port Wine Stains

Dr. Mark Taylor with Gateway Aesthetic Center comes to Studio 5 with information you need to know about birthmarks.

Pigmented birthmarks, such as coffee-and-cream (cafe-au-lait), are spots or patches of skin that are irregularly shaped, flat and darker than the surrounding skin. They are usually a tan color, the color of coffee with cream. The borders of such birthmarks may be smooth or irregular.

What causes birthmarks and abnormal pigmented skin patches?

Birthmarks occur when an area of the skin does not develop normally before birth. There are many types. Pigmented birthmarks may develop with increased pigment cells, nevus cells (cells seen in moles), increased hair, and Epidermal nevus (a warty linear growth). Vascular birthmarks develop with higher than normal concentrations of blood vessels.

What are the risks of birthmarks?

Some pigmented birthmarks have a greater risk of becoming a deadly melanoma skin cancer. Always check with a dermatologist and have a biopsy performed on any birthmark that is abnormal in appearance or changes color. Such precautions could prevent deadly skin cancer.

How are birthmarks treated?

One option is to remove the birthmark surgically and then sew the normal skin together. This option is only practical for smaller birthmarks, moles and abnormal skin pigment patches. A second option is to use a laser to lighten the skin pigment in areas where it is abnormal. While not every pigmented birthmark can be completely removed, at the Gateway Aesthetic Institute & Laser Center, we have multiple lasers and years of experience that assure optimal results.

Is there any danger to the surrounding skin when treating a birthmark with a laser?

With today’s remarkable new technology there is little to no damage to the surrounding skin.

How long do the treatments take?

The length and number of treatments will depend on the size and extent of the patient’s particular birthmark. Laser treatment may take anywhere from several minutes to as long as several hours. Treatments of port-wine birthmarks require multiple procedures spaced several weeks or months apart.

What causes moles?

In most cases, moles are hereditary. Some families have a risk of malignant moles or melanomas. If you have moles, especially darkly pigmented moles, we recommend a complete skin check at least once a year.

Should I have my moles removed?

You should have your moles removed if your doctor thinks they may turn cancerous. Many people also choose to have their moles removed for convenience and appearance.

How are moles removed?

The most common method of removing a mole is surgical excision. Small benign moles may also be removed with a laser.

Is treatment painful?

When a laser is used to remove or lighten birthmarks or moles, most patients report little or no discomfort during the procedure. If desired, the area can be treated with local anesthetic.

What are the risks associated with laser birthmark & mole removal treatment?

Minor bruising, bleeding and scabbing may occur, but is not common. Unexpected deepening or lightening of skin coloration may also occur, but such side effects are very rare and easily treated with a secondary corrective procedure.

How do I know if my birthmark or mole can be treated?

At the Gateway Aesthetic Institute and Laser Center, thousands of patients have been treated for removal of their birthmarks or moles.

Birthmark and Port-wine Stain Treatment

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.

Who is the Gateway Aesthetic Institute & Laser Center?

The Gateway Aesthetic Institute is one of the largest dedicated cosmetic laser centers in the world. We have over 30 years of experience and as a leading pioneer in the cosmetic dermatology and laser surgery industry. We provide safe, effective treatments in a comfortable, discreet and relaxing atmosphere.

Dr. Mark B. Taylor

Mark B. Taylor, M.D. is a world-renowned dermatologist and cosmetic laser surgeon. He has been in practice for over thirty years. Since the origination of laser treatments for skin, Dr. Taylor has been a leader in the field of cosmetic laser surgery, pioneering and teaching many new laser techniques to over 4,000 doctors world-wide. Dr. Taylor and his well-trained staff use leading-edge products and over twenty-eight different lasers to provide a range of high-quality services including Botox, Restylane, lip enhancement, laser skin resurfacing, chemical peels, light facials, tattoo removal, laser hair removal, sclerotherapy, laser acne treatment, LippoDissolve, Smartlipo, Tumescent liposuction, Fraxel Repair, laser eyelid surgery (Blepharoplasty), scar treatments, and many other laser and dermatology treatments.

Dr. Taylor received his medical degree from the University of Utah and is board-certified in dermatology through the American Board of Dermatology. He is a member of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery as well as many other professional organizations. He was the first doctor in the world to use the Krypton and VeinLase lasers for the treatment of vascular and pigmented lesions. Dr. Taylor was one of the first researchers to use the PhotoDerm, Derma K, Cynergy and MPX 1540 Lasers. Many physicians have traveled to Gateway for instruction from

Dr. Taylor on advanced techniques in laser resurfacing. In addition, Dr. Taylor has developed new techniques for many other laser treatments and cosmetic surgery which he performs on a regular basis in his busy practice in Salt Lake City.

Call Gateway Aesthetic Institute & Laser Center at (801) 595-1600 to schedule a consultation. They are located at the south end of the Gateway Mall in Salt Lake City at 440 West 200 South, Suite 250, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101.

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