Broken Blood Vessels: Causes and Treatments
Broken blood vessels, also called broken capillaries or spider veins, and clinically known as telangiectasia rosacea, are a problem with the tiny blood vessels that become visible near the surface of the skin. They usually appear as streaks or blotches and can be identified by their red or blue color.
Broken capillaries don’t heal or fade with time. They are not dangerous, but most people find them unsightly and want to cover them up or reduce their appearance.
What Are Broken Blood Vessels?
Just under the skin’s surface are tiny, delicate veins that are responsible for blood circulation in the face. When the walls of these veins narrow and widen suddenly, they may burst. Some of these ruptured blood vessels cannot repair themselves or go back to their normal thickness without some kind of treatment. Spider veins may be found around the nose, cheeks, and mouth, as well as on the neck, upper chest, and legs.
There are two types of broken blood vessels. The first kind is the fairly common bruising that takes the form of a purplish skin swelling. It is usually caused by some form of trauma to the skin and disappears in a couple of weeks without any treatment. The second is a blood spot that occurs just beneath the skin surface and looks like a red-colored spreading of cells. This can be caused by a number of factors, such as malnutrition, disease, and other problems that traumatize the body and the immune system.
People with fair skin are more prone to having broken capillaries than people with a darker complexion. People with dry and dehydrated skin, as well as very sensitive skin, have thinner and fewer protective layers of tissue, thus making them more susceptible to this problem.
What Causes Broken Blood Vessels?
Trauma: Any form of trauma or injury to the skin can rupture blood vessels – even scrubbing your face too hard.
Aging: As you age, collagen and elastin in your skin break down, causing the skin to become thinner and veins to become more noticeable. This also causes skin to lose flexibility and bruise easily.
Genetics: If your parents or grandparents have broken facial capillaries, you have a greater chance of developing them, too.
Environment: Environmental factors like sunburns, windburns, or extremely cold conditions can lead to broken capillaries. Sun exposure is known to aggravate this problem, and you should always use sunscreen before going outdoors in the sunlight.
Hormones: People who are going through hormonal changes, such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, may experience spider veins as their body tries to adapt. This is the reason why broken capillaries on the face are more common in women than in men.
Medical conditions: Rosacea is a condition that makes the skin red and flushed. People with rosacea tend to also suffer from broken capillaries on the face, especially around the nose and eye areas. Liver disease can also cause broken blood vessels.
Treatments for Broken Blood Vessels
There are several treatments to help reduce the appearance of broken capillaries.
Tretinoins, or vitamin A creams, build collagen at the surface of the skin, which helps minimize the visibility of broken blood vessels.
After treating your broken capillaries, it is important to use sunscreen daily to help prevent future appearances of these unwanted blemishes. In addition, you should not scrub your face if you have broken blood vessels, as it can cause them to spread.
If you’re concerned about broken capillaries, you probably have fragile skin. Your Water’s Edge Dermatology practitioner can help you decide whether any of these treatments might be right for you.
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