What Are Those Broken Blood Vessels On My Face And What Can I Do About Them?
Posted Jun 20 2014 3:00pm
Dermatology specialists Drs. Joshua Fox and Meryl Becker Joerg explain broken blood vessels, “telangiectasias,” and offer tips on treatment.
Wondering why your face is peppered with tiny red lines? These broken blood vessels affect millions – especially as age creeps up – and don’t typically disappear on their own but can be treated quickly and effectively by a dermatologist, according to Joshua Fox, MD, medical director of Advanced Dermatology P.C. and the Center for Laser & Cosmetic Surgery.
Known as telangiectasias, the tiny spider or thread-like blood vessels can develop anywhere on the body but are especially prevalent on the face. The vessels involved can be veins or capillaries and tend to cluster around the nose, cheeks and chin, creating unsightly areas that can make it hard to face the world with confidence.
“Spider veins on the face don’t hurt, and they aren’t dangerous or life-threatening, but they certainly affect appearance and self-esteem,” explains Dr. Meryl Becker Joerg, M.D., also with Advanced Dermatology. “They can make the face appear slightly bruised and cause you to look older than you are. On top of that, these broken blood vessels are likely to get worse over time if left untreated.”
What causes broken blood vessels?
Some telangiectasias are prompted by uncontrollable factors, while others appear because of lifestyle choices. The numerous causes of broken facial blood vessels include:
* Prolonged sun exposure
* Oral contraceptive use
* Estrogen replacement therapy
* Excessive alcohol consumption
* Rosacea, a common skin condition triggering facial redness from a combination of bumpy skin, pimples and broken capillaries
It may not be possible to completely avoid broken facial blood vessels, but Dr. Fox notes that there are several ways to minimize your risk, including gently washing your face with warm – not hot – water, since hot water forces capillaries to expand.
“Everyone who comes to us with broken blood vessels on their face seems to have acquired them in a different way,” Dr. Fox says. “But one thing unites all of them: The desire to be rid of these embarrassing red lines. Luckily, we have a clear-cut solution to offer.”
Best treatment option virtually painless
The most effective treatment option for broken blood vessels happens to also be quick, virtually painless and highly effective. Laser light treatment uses gentle light pulses to heat the affected blood vessels, causing them to collapse and leaving surrounding skin undamaged. Afterward, the tissue from destroyed blood vessels simply dissolves, restoring the skin’s natural appearance within days.
While some laser light treatment patients describe the laser sensation as similar to that of a snapping rubber band, topical anesthesia or ice can be applied before treatment to maximize comfort. Larger veins may require multiple laser treatments spaced weeks apart, while small vessels can usually be taken care of with a single, 10- to 15-minute treatment. Bruising, crusting or redness of the skin may occur in some cases, but typically clears within a few days.
For optimal results, Dr. Fox recommends laser or intense light treatment and that patients use sunscreen on the treated area to ward away unnecessary redness or discoloration. Daily sunscreen use on the face is a good idea regardless, he notes. Makeup or self-tanning lotion can be used to try to conceal or camouflage broken blood vessels, but don’t remove the problem blood vessels.
“It’s gratifying to have such a safe, effective treatment for a skin problem that impacts so many people,” Dr. Fox says. “When I show prospective laser treatment patients before-and-after photos from others we’ve treated for broken blood vessels, they can’t believe the difference and are thrilled for the chance to regain their natural beauty. The patients are impressed to see the instant improvement in their condition after a single short treatment.”
Advanced Dermatology P.C., the Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery (New York & New Jersey) provides cutting edge medical, laser & cosmetic dermatology and plastic surgery services. http://www.advanceddermatologypc.com
Joshua L. Fox, M.D., F.A.A.D., is the founder and medical director at Advanced Dermatology P.C. He is a leading authority in the field of dermatology with expertise in skin cancer, cosmetic surgery and laser procedures and is program director of a fellowship in laser and cosmetic surgery. Meryl Blecker Joerg, M.D. F.A.A.D. has been with Advanced Dermatology since 1997. She is also n Assistant Clinical Professor in the Cosmetic Clinic at Mount Sinai Hospital, New York City.