Buying health services for local people

If you have recently travelled from Wuhan, China or are looking for information on the coronavirus outbreak please go to our page on coronavirus or the information on GOV.UK

en English
en English

Port Wine Stains (Skin Camouflage) – Information for GPs


A port wine stain is a flat red or purple patch with well-defined borders caused by malformed dilated blood vessels in the skin.

It is present at birth and 0.3% of new-borns are affected.

The face is most commonly involved but it can occur anywhere on the body.

Exclude Red Flag Symptoms

  • Sturge-Weber syndrome – port wine stain affecting skin in distribution of trigeminal nerve associated with underlying epilepsy, glaucoma or other eye complications.
  • Klippel-Trenaunay – rare syndrome with port wine stain on the limb with increased limb size and varicose veins. Associated with other developmental abnormalities and an increased incidence of DVT and PE.


  • Facial lesions should be referred early to Dermatology
    • To consider the possibility of an associated syndrome
    • To discuss laser treatment which can successfully treat or improve the appearance.
  • Lesions on or near the eyelid should be referred to Ophthalmology, as these are associated with glaucoma.
  • Cosmetic camouflage is very good at hiding lesions and is available from Changing Faces.
  • Further information is also available at The British Association of Skin Camouflage at

Information to include in referral letter

  • Size and site of lesion
  • Photograph is required. (Preferably a close up of the complete lesion and one from a distance providing an anatomical overview of the affected area)
  • Any associated symptoms e.g. epilepsy
  • Relevant past medical/surgical history
  • Current regular medication
  • BMI/Smoking status

Investigations prior to referral

  • No investigations needed prior to referral

Patient information leaflets


en English