Treatment Options for Unattractive Broken Blood Vessels on the Face


Chris Byrne, PA-C

The good news is that there are many treatment options are available today to repair these vessels or make them less visible.

Have you ever looked in the mirror in the morning only to see new, tiny broken blood vessels on your face? Medically known as telangiectases, these burst capillaries have likely been developing on your face over time and won’t go away instantly, but the good news is that there are many treatment options are available today to repair these vessels or make them less visible, says Chris Byrne, PA-C with of Advanced Dermatology P.C.

Broken capillaries on the face are not dangerous but nobody wants them, especially on their face. “Patients often ask how they got there and what can be done to remove them, Bryne says. He adds that “telangiectases typically appear around the chin, nose and cheeks and women are most often affected.

“The cause of broken capillaries is when the walls of the tiny veins carrying blood to the skin deteriorate and widen, becoming more noticeable against the skin’s surface,” explains Byrne, who is experienced in many areas of medical and cosmetic dermatology. “Women and people with fair skin are more susceptible to to the problem and people coping with other skin problems such as acne or rosacea, though almost anyone can suffer from it at one point or another,” adds Byrne.

Risk factors for broken blood vessels:

According to Byrne, many causes of broken blood vessels are uncontrollable, but in some cases, there are things to do (or not do) to prevent them. They include:

  • Aging: “Getting older simply puts us at greater risk of broken capillaries,” he says.
  • Exposure to Extreme temperatures, whether heat or cold
  • Excessive scrubbing with harsh cleansers: “Overly vigorous scrubbing can exacerbate already-sensitive areas,” he says, “increasing the progress of these broken vessels.”
  • Tobacco and alcohol use: “Excessive use of tobacco or alcohol is a factor for telangiectases. Add this to the list of reasons to eliminate or minimize use,” Byrne says.
  • Genetics
  • High blood pressure
  • Frequent nose-blowing
  • Excess sun exposure
  • Hormones: Hormonal changes from pregnancy may contribute to broken blood vessels, Byrne says.

Suggestions for treating broken facial capillaries:

While it is true that broken facial blood vessels won’t shrink or heal on their own, that doesn’t mean they can’t be minimized or eliminated.

“There are two main approaches to treating telangiectases: temporary fixes and permanent fixes,” says Byrne. “In both cases the condition requires attentiveness to keep under control or reduce the chance it will re-appear.”

Temporary fixes include:

  • Anti-inflammatory creams: Products with anti-inflammatory ingredients such as green tea, or red and brown algae, may potentially cut excessive blood flow to affected skin, making broken capillaries less noticeable, Byrne says.
  • Vitamin A creams: Also known as retinoids, these creams can help reduce the prominence of broken facial capillaries by building surface collagen in the skin, thereby minimizing the vessels’ appearance, he says.
  • Concealers: In some cases a person’s broken capillaries are minimal or in a less-obvious facial region, so covering them with good-quality concealer may be all you need. “Use a green-based concealer to counteract the redness,” Byrne advises. “Then blend your regular foundation over the concealer for a clean and smooth look.”

Permanent fixes include:

  • Laser treatment: The most effective treatment today for broken facial capillaries sends laser light pulses into the veins, hindering their blood flow and eventually destroying them. This type of laser treatment typically requires multiple visits and sometimes there are temporary side effects such as redness, swelling, stinging, peeling or crusting.
  • Electrocautery: In this approach, heat is dispensed through a fine needle-like tip which electrocautery evaporates dilated blood vessels so they disappear. This approach is not beneficial for all patients, but a dermatologist can determine if it might work in your case, Byrne says.

“While shutting down dilated blood vessels can treat them and reduce their visibility, the body can create new vessels to replace those that are gone,” Byrne says. “So in the end, treating broken capillaries requires ongoing maintenance on the part of the patient for long term benefit.”

Bio: Christopher Byrne RPA-C is a certified physician assistant with Advanced Dermatology PC.

Advanced Dermatology P.C. and the Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery (New York & New Jersey) is one of the leading dermatology centers in the nation, offering highly experienced physicians in the fields of cosmetic and laser dermatology as well as plastic surgery and state-of-the-art medical technologies.

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