Broken capillaries or telangiectasia as they are better known in the medical world develop because the walls of the veins are delicate and are just below the surface of the skin, which makes them more susceptible to damage especially on the face. If the veins get damaged they become weak and dilate causing the veins to enlarge. If the muscles in the walls of the veins that carry the blood contract and expand too quickly they tear and blood will seep through. Unfortunately once they tear they will not repair by themselves, they will remain in this state. They look like fine thin threads red or purple in colour on the surface of the skin, some people describe them as thread veins, spider veins or broken veins. These are mostly found on the face and legs. There are also varicose veins which are faulty valves that become swollen and knotted especially in the legs.
Thread veins vs varicose veins, are they related?
Varicose veins tend to be much larger and deeper than thread veins and are more blue or purple in colour. Mainly affecting the veins in the legs, varicose veins can occur on their own or as part of an inherited problem. If you suffer from varicose veins you are more than likely to have thread veins also, however the reverse isn’t true. Varicose veins cannot be treated with laser and often require specialist treatment from a dermatologist with sclerotherapy, a treatment which uses a tiny needle to inject a solution that causes microscopic damage to the cells in the lining of the vein. Sclerotherapy is used to treat the smaller varicose veins however they can come back and often surgery is the best option. Seek advise from your GP in the first instance.
So what causes broken capillaries?
There are several reasons which include diet, environment, lifestyles, genetics, age, skin type and even how you wash your face.
As we all know diet plays a huge part on how our body and our skin which is the biggest organ in the body reacts to certain types of food. Prevention is better than cure so avoiding excessiveness of the following will help.
- Hot spicy foods, alcohol and smoking has a massive impact on broken capillaries. Alcohol increases your blood pressure causing the veins in your face to enlarge, similar to smoking which damages the circulatory system. Pollution and extreme temperatures of hot or cold, sunshine, snow, and windy conditions, even places like saunas are not good.
- Genetics play a role so if your parents or grandparents are prone to this condition then it is possible you may be too. Also as we get older our skin becomes thinner which means the veins are more visible.
- Too much scrubbing whilst washing your face, if the water is too hot and using certain beauty products particularly on sensitive skin.
Everything in moderation is the key. Using a sunscreen to prevent the harmful UV rays of the sun and protecting against the wind by using clothing and barrier cream is a must if outdoors. If you are concerned about your skin condition it is worth speaking to a skin specialist to find out which products are correct for your skin.
The most common treatment for broken capillaries is laser therapy. At Beauty Haven we use the Ellipse Sirius laser treatment, it is a popular and proven method which targets unwanted thread veins. The laser beam gives brief bursts of laser light to the blood vessels allowing them to slowly disappear, helping to remove them and improve the appearance. This is a gradual process with regular treatments required to ensure the vein decreases in size before eventually disappearing from view. We advise to book in for a free, no obligation consultation and would recommend anywhere between 2 to 3 treatments at 4 weekly intervals depending on the size of area on the face requiring treatment. Costs are between £60 and £125 per session. A typical course of treatments are usually 3 treatments.
Broken capillaries are a common problem often affecting self esteem, we feel we constantly need to cover up before we leave the house, following our tips is a first step to protecting the skin from further damage. It is worth mentioning a couple of products that can help reduce redness and sensitivity, Barrier Repair by Dermalogica and Colostrum by Environ, please call if you would like any further advice.