How to treat broken blood vessels on your face

Sick of those pesky little feathery red lines when you look in the mirror? No need to fret. Advances in treatment mean it is possible to banish them for good.

Hormones, genetics, sun exposure, weather changes, alcohol consumption and even blowing your nose too hard can all cause broken capillaries, the red marks also known as spider veins that can sit like a splotch on your face.

And once you clock them, you just can’t unsee them.

The good news is with the right tools, you can not only treat them, but prevent them from coming back to haunt your future self.

What exactly are broken capillaries?

Sitting under the skin on your face are loads of tiny delicate blood vessels responsible for circulation.

When these widen or narrow suddenly, or are damaged for some reason, they can become permanently dilated, which is what causes those tiny spidery red lines.

“People call them broken capillaries but most of the time they’re just weakened vessels known as fragile capillaries,” DMK Australia founder and education director Debbie Dickson says.

While some look like small red dots, others branch out like a cobweb across the nose, cheek and chin.

What causes fragile capillaries?

Skin practitioner Sarah Hudson says while there are many possible causes, one of the key contributors is too much sun.

“Excessive sun exposure can enlarge your blood vessels as the UV rays penetrate the skin, causing them to dilate permanently,” Sarah, of Skin by Sarah Hudson, says.

“Daily sun damage can hurt the vessels’ elasticity, particularly around the nose and cheeks.”

Age is another factor, adds Debbie, because skin cells don’t turn over as rapidly and collagen declines as we get older.

Stress, genetics and rosacea are other triggers.

How do you treat broken blood vessels?

“Laser and IPL treatments are the most effective way to remove spider veins,” Sarah says.

“The heat from the laser and IPL coagulates the blood, destroying the vessel and making the capillaries disappear.”

Debbie says it is important to treat the root cause of the problem, such as with dedicated skincare products.

“We follow this with enzyme therapy to improve circulation and it brings fresh nutrients and oxygenated blood flow to the tissue,” Debbie says.

“This also enhances collagen production and strengths the blood vessels.”

How to prevent broken capillaries

1. Choose the right skincare

“A gentle cleanser and skincare containing vitamin A and C to support collagen and strength of the skin is crucial,” Sarah says.

“As is using sunscreen to prevent further damage.”

2. Ditch the heat

It might be cold outside but resist the impulse to wash your face with hot water and keep it out of the direct blast of your steaming shower, Sarah advises. Tepid is your friend.

3. Keep your zen

“Consistency with everything is key to keep the skin healthy with a good barrier function,” Debbie says.

“Reduce inflammation internally and topically with pre- and probiotics and avoid things that impair circulation.

“Minimising stress is also important and remember to breathe properly and stay hydrated.”

Written by Liz McGrath.