Those spidery red areas on many people’s faces are commonly referred to as “broken capillaries”. Many people associate them with old age.
They are, in fact, small blood vessels that migrate to the surface of the skin. Contrary to their popular title, they are not truly broken.
Yes, the aging process can cause broken capillaries. However, they can also be formed by genetics, hormonal changes, sun exposure, and any condition that causes inflammation to the skin such as rosacea.
These blood vessels tend to develop very gradually, and are most often found on the nose, cheeks, and chin. If the blood vessels become large enough, they can even turn from red to bluish in color.
Magnifying mirrors, particularly those used to apply makeup, obviously make their appearance look even worse. Even things such as exercise, drinking alcohol, eating certain foods, embarrassment (i.e. blushing), and extremes of hot or cold can cause these blood vessels to dilate or enlarge, making them more visible and noticeable.
Fortunately, technologies exist to reduce the appearances of broken capillaries, and we here at Maine Laser Skin Care have some of them. With the latest advances in laser technologies, we can effectively and very safely diminish the appearance of broken capillaries.
With a very narrow and carefully controlled laser beam, we can target individual blood vessels that cause this problem. When the laser beam hits the target blood vessel, it creates a small but intense heat reaction that causes that blood vessel to collapse.
When the blood vessel collapses, your body’s immune system gets a signal that some damage has occurred, and cells are summoned to that area. These scavenger-type cells remove the blood cells and the structure of the collapsed vessel itself in much the same way that your body removes a bruise.
After the laser treatment, this process of removal will proceed over a period of several days to several weeks. Visually, you see that the offending broken capillaries fade away.
Depending on the extent and location of these vessels, it may take several treatments to remove the majority of them. Rest assured, however, you will see progressive improvement over each treatment.
If heredity or rosacea are causing the blood vessel issue, you may see broken capillaries reappear over time. In these situations, these are actually newly migrating blood vessels that are forming, not the previously-treated vessels returning.
If the vessels appear because of damage to the skin from sun exposure, religiously applying sunscreen and other UV protection measures may prevent and limit recurrence in the future. As I always say, sunscreen is a must for everyone, including for people who do not have broken capillaries.
After completing a course of laser treatments, you will find that your skin tone is more uniform in color. For women, that translates into using less makeup, or none at all.
In all cases regardless of extent or gender, your facial redness will be reduced and you will look better. Plus, as an added bonus, there is virtually no downtime.
We have many patients who go back to work, go shopping, or out to eat after a treatment without experiencing any debilitating side effects or problems. The only restriction I recommend is no vigorous aerobic activity for about 24 hours after the treatment.
Laser treatments for this condition in 2018 are effective in almost all cases and very gentle and safe for all skin types. In fact, laser therapies are now the gold standard for treatment of facial vascular conditions such as broken capillaries, rosacea, and diffuse facial redness. I frequently have patients referred to me for this specific therapy by dermatologists throughout Maine.
If you have any questions about these broken capillary conditions or laser treatments, please call us at (207) 873-2158 to schedule an individualized and personal free consultation. This treatment is what I consider to be part of our mission here at Maine Laser Skin Care to “beautify Maine one face at a time.”