Broken Capillaries

Telangiectasia (Broken Capillaries)

What is Telangiectasia?

Telangiectasia is the medical term for what many refer to as broken capillaries. These are enlarged blood vessels that appear in spider web-like or branch-like patterns. They can be seen on any area of the face, but most commonly on the cheeks, chin and nose.

What Causes Telangiectasia?

Broken capillaries on your face can be caused due to various reasons. Some causes include;

  • Genetic Factors: People with family members experiencing facial broken capillaries are more likely to have them.
  • Sun Damage: Excessive exposure to sun rays can decrease the level of elastin and collagen. When this occurs, blood vessels can become more noticeable.
  • Rosacea: People with rosacea tend to have telangiectasia on their face. There is a specific form of rosacea termed erythematotelangiectatic rosacea.
  • Poikiloderma of Civatte: In this condition, telangiectasia and pigmentation occurs on the neck.
  • Inappropriate use of cortisone creams: Overuse of cortisone creams on normal skin over a long period of time can cause telangiectasia to appear.
  • Spider naevi (spider angioma): Spider naevi are most commonly seen in kids and in females during pregnancy. These lesions may appear like a small pimple. They are easily blanchable with firm pressure and tend to refill quickly from the centre of the lesion.
  • Other causes of telangiectasia include pregnancy, liver failure, scleroderma, hereditary haemorrhagic telangiectasia, spider telangiectasia and generalised essential telangiectasia.

What Treatment Options Are Available?

Over-the-counter products are marketed to help with telangiectasia however these simply do not work. Treatment options Melbourne Skin & Dermatology offer to treat telangiectasia include;


Laser Therapy:

In this treatment, lasers are used to destroy superficial vessels of the skin. We use certain wavelengths of lasers (532nm and 1064nm) depending on the size and depth of the telangiectasia. Treatment is often very successful however at times more than one session of treatment may be required.

Fine Wire Diathermy:

Fine Wire Diathermy uses a fine needle like probe that is inserted into the vessel where radiofrequency is emitted to destroy superficial blood vessels. There is a higher risk of scarring with this treatment as opposed to lasers used by professionals.

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