Broken Capillaries


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Facial redness can be due to small discrete red blood vessels which are termed telangiectasia, but are more commonly referred to as broken capillaries. Facial capillaries can be very effectively treated by medical grade lasers.

Telangiectasia can develop as a result of a combination of factors. There is a genetic component with often a family history and it is much commoner in pale skin types such as Celtic background; there is an environmental influence particularly from sun damage but also from inflammation caused by excessive wind or cold; it worsens as we age probably due to thinning of the skin and weakening of collagen and elastin; trauma can be a factor such as after surgery (eg rhinoplasty) and medications such as oral prednisolone or long term use of corticosteroid creams can be a cause.

What aggravates Facial Capillaries?

Whatever the cause of facial capillaries, any situation that results in an increased body temperature will also result in increased facial redness because the body tries to dissipate heat through the facial skin. Common factors to raise the body temperature are extreme heat, hot showers, saunas, intense exertion, hot spicy foods and alcohol. These aggravating factors are not the primary cause of the problem but will make the facial redness that is present more obvious.

Ultraviolet light can aggravate in the short term and over time is a causative factor, so daily use of an appropriate sunblock is important as a preventative measure.

Topical products that cause redness or stinging should also be avoided as they will also aggravate facial capillaries.

How can Facial Capillaries be treated?

The first line of treatment is to reduce the rate of further damage. Daily use of an appropriate sunblock is essential. Use of a daily skin moisturiser is also important as dry and dehydrated skin is thinner and less protected making it more susceptible to further blood vessel damage. If using a cleanser, only use a mild non-abrasive cleanser and apply the moisturiser after the cleanser. When washing the face avoid scrubbing vigorously and use lukewarm and not hot water. Pad face dry with cotton towel and don’t rub with rough face washer.

The second line of treatment is to treat the facial redness. The treatment of choice for removing blood vessels is with medical grade vascular lasers. It must be appreciated that not all lasers are the same and not all laser practitioners are the same. The best option for achieving a safe and effective result is to have laser treatment in a medical clinic setting using medical grade laser equipment and performed by experienced University trained laser practitioners.

Facial capillaries may require 2-3 treatments then follow up in a year or more. Some facial capillary locations such as the cheeks respond very well, whereas vessels around the side of the nose can be much harder to treat, and often recur quickly particularly if there is any tendency to congestion from conditions such as hay fever or sinusitis.

What Type of Laser is used?

In treating facial capillaries because there are often blood vessels of varying sizes and colours and it is often necessary to use a combination of medical grade lasers for the best result. For background redness a larger beam size laser such as the VBeam or ExcelV is very effective, whereas for discrete capillaries a smaller beam from a Diode laser may be the simplest option. The wavelength of the laser beam can be critical with bright fine, red blood vessels responding better to 532nm and 585nm wavelength lasers and thicker, darker red and blue blood vessels responding better to 1064nm wavelength lasers. Treatment at a medical laser clinic that has a range of laser options will result in providing patients the best chance of a safe and effective treatment for facial capillaries and Rosacea.

Meet one of our Medical Skin Experts – Dr Barbra Ward

Dr Ward is an experienced in skin dermoscopy and offers medical skin cancer checks and excisions. She is also able to treat birthmarks, vascular skin lesions and fungal nail infections with the latest laser techniques.

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