The Vascular Birthmarks Foundation Dr. Linda Rozell-Shannon, PhD President and Founder

I’m Kaitlin. I’m 30 years old and I have a port wine stain that covers most of the right side of my face (my cheek, my eye, half my nose, and even in my mouth/gums). I began having laser treatments when I was 8 years old with the outstanding Dr. Nelson at UCI.

Dr. Nelson’s original estimate was that I would need about 10 treatments. After 32 (I think?) treatments, my birthmark is lighter but ultimately too deep to remove completely. I stopped having laser done at age 22.

All the people close to me say they don’t ever notice my birthmark when they look at me. But it is and always will be the first thing I see when I look in the mirror. My teenage years were spent trying what seems like every makeup on the planet that provided enough coverage for me to feel comfortable. I am a huge fan of Dermablend now! It gave me the courage to feel comfortable at school, at work, with friends, dates and just being a girl!

What is my most self-conscious attribute is also one of my most proud. Growing up with a birthmark on your face and all “burnt” after laser definitely turns heads and can be fuel for inconsiderate kids. But it taught me the greatest life lesson of all – strength. I’m stronger because of my birthmark. I have an incredibly high pain tolerance because of the laser treatments I did without anesthesia. And I don’t always look in the mirror wanting to cover it up but instead to show it off.

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