Valerie Monroe
Photo: Jonathan Skow
Q: I have a port wine stain birthmark, and I'm tired of using concealers that rub off. Can you recommend a more lasting concealer or a treatment?

A: Yes. A port wine stain consists of a dense network of blood vessels beneath the surface of the skin, says Deborah S. Sarnoff, MD, associate clinical professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center. You could cover yours with a richly pigmented concealer, such as Dermablend, but you can also have the stain removed with a pulsed dye laser, considered the gold standard treatment. A beam of light specifically targets the red blood vessels without injuring the overlying skin.

Bottom line: Six to eight treatments with a pulsed dye laser, about four to six weeks apart, will lighten your port wine stain. Cost varies depending on the size of the stain and the number of sessions needed (and it may be covered by medical insurance).