Broken blood vessels, also called telangiectasias, occur when tiny vessels under the surface of the skin dialate and become visible. They are not really broken, just dilated. Telangiectasias are small, red, purple or blue blood vessels found mainly along the surface of the face (cheeks, nose and chin areas), upper chest and neck. Similar looking veins found on the legs are referred to as spider veins.
Anything that causes the face to flush or blush can produce telangiectasia. Sun-damage, heredity, aging, hot or spicy foods, exercise, stress, hormones, alcohol use, cortisone medications or rare skin diseases are some of the contributing factors. Broken blood vessels can also be caused by direct trauma to the skin.
This condition can affect anyone, and is often very noticeable for people with fair skin. Although they are not painful or harmful, some people often will have them treated for cosmetic reasons.
Common symptoms of broken blood vessels include:
Splotchy marks: Broken blood vessels can be identified by small red or purple splotchy marks on the skin, similar to spider angiomas.
Areas of occurrence: They can occur anywhere on the body, but are usually localized to the face, neck and upper chest area.
Blood vessels can dilate for a variety of reasons. Chronic sun exposure and skin damage caused by:
- UV rays
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Changes in hormone levels, especially during pregnancy
- Flare-ups may also be triggered by hot or spicy foods, physical exertion, emotional stress or cortisone medications
Proper skin care is important in maintaining healthy skin. Use products specially designed for sensitive skin. Use gentle cleansers that are fragrance and allergen free to avoid irritating the skin. Avoid astringents that contain alcohol, which may dry out the skin. Look for moisturizers that contain UV filters, which can offer additional safeguards against UV radiation. Make sure to apply these frequently and generously, to adequately hydrate and protect the skin.
Since broken blood vessels are often caused by over exposure to the sun, it’s important to take extra precautions before spending time outdoors.
Limit sun exposure: Reducing your time in the sun is perhaps the easiest way to avoid damage to your skin caused by UV rays. When outdoors, set a time limit and seek shade when necessary. Also keep in mind that UV radiation is the strongest between the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Use Sunscreen: Sunscreens are an essential part of protection against the sun. Look for sunscreens that are labeled “Broad Spectrum”. They are often the most effective and offer protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Make sure to apply generously and frequently.
Cover and protect: Wrap-around sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats and clothing that covers your arms and legs, can offer extra protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays.
A cosmetic option to consider is to use a foundation to even out your complexion and conceal the redness.
Depending on the location, and if a dermatologist determines that you are a suitable candidate, pulsed-dye lasers and pulsed green lasers are often used to treat this condition. Multiple treatment sessions may be required.
- Cosmetic Concealers
- Pulsed Dye Laser
- Pulsed Green Laser