Broken Capillaries: Causes, Risk Factors, and Treatment Options

Broken capillaries under the surface of the skin, which are also sometimes called spider veins, can be identified by their color and appearance. These capillaries often present as fine, colored lines that are most often found around the nose and cheeks; however, they can appear almost anywhere on the face. Broken capillaries are a common skin care problem and have a number of causes that range from genetics to environmental influences. No matter the cause, those who suffer from them often spend a great deal of time and money to cover or eliminate the problem. If you have developed broken capillaries on your face and want to cure them, learning a little more about what causes them and how to identify this harmless but unsightly skin problem may help you do so with confidence.

What Are Broken Capillaries?

Damaged blood capillaries occur when small veins in the face are weakened and walls of the vein develop small tears. When this happens, the veins leak a small amount of blood and create the reddish-blue marks that are their trademark. Depending on the extent of the damage, the broken capillaries may either be quite thin and faint or wider and brighter in color.

These veins are usually more noticeable in areas where the skin is thinner, as they are closer to the surface and therefore more easily seen. Anyone can develop this skin problem, but there are risk factors that make some people more vulnerable to them than others.

Who Develops Broken Capillaries?

While broken capillaries aren’t limited to any specific skin type, those with fair or sensitive skin may be more prone to develop them, as sun damage and harsh skin products can weaken the delicate veins that lie beneath the skin’s surface and cause the blood leakage that creates them.

Those who have fair skin might notice that these capillaries are much more noticeable because of the contrast of the veins’ coloration to the skin’s complexion.

Climate and lifestyle are also factors in the development of broken capillaries. Extreme weather conditions, such as harsh winters, hot, dry summers and high winds can all cause the veins that carry blood to the face to expand and contract too quickly. This may lead to the weakening or breaking of vein walls over time.

Older people are also more likely to develop this problem, as the veins in the face may become weaker with age, and other factors such as smoking and alcohol consumption can cause blood vessels to age prematurely.

While some of these factors can’t be avoided, using gentle skin care products with sun protection and limiting the use of tobacco and alcohol can reduce your risk factors for broken capillaries.

Treatment Options for Spider Veins

If you suffer from broken capillaries and want to seek treatment, there are several options that are open to you. One treatment, which is called electrocautery, involves using electricity to heat the damaged veins and stop the blood leakage that causes the discoloration. During treatment, the leaking vessels are sealed, which will prevent existing broken capillaries from getting any worse.

Another option for treatment of spider veins is to have laser surgery. This type of surgery uses precision lasers to target the damaged veins and heats them up until they collapse and sink away from the skin, where they are no longer visible.

If you are unsure about what type of procedure is best for you, make an appointment with your cosmetic surgeon or dermatologists so that he or she can evaluate your skin and help you decide which course of treatment will be the most effective for broken capillaries.


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