THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO
Signs of Broken Capillaries
Broken capillaries can appear as spidery, red splotches lying underneath the skin creating a bumpy, uneven exterior skin surface that doesn’t go away. Sometimes referred to as spider veins, broken capillaries are dilated or enlarged blood vessels in the layer beneath the surface of the skin. While not technically broken, weakness in the vessel wall or an imbalanced blood flow creates pooling and the appearance of small reddened networks. Broken capillaries are most common around the nose, cheeks and chin, and can have legs coming off them if viewed close enough. Anyone can suffer broken capillaries but those on people with lighter skin will be more noticeable due to the contrasting colour. The technical name for these broken veins are telangiectasias.
What Causes Broken Capillaries?
While broken capillaries occur under the skin, they are caused by external disturbances to the skin like popping a pimple too forcefully, blowing the nose, scrubbing the face too roughly or even a violent sneeze. Hot, steamy showers can also be a trigger too as the heat brings more blood to the surface of the skin, dilating blood vessels. Ultraviolet rays from sun exposure and windburn can both also weaken and damage the vessels, making them visible through the top layer of skin. Broken capillaries occur when the delicate capillary walls responsible for circulation, expand and contract too rapidly, causing them damage or to tear in some cases. Capillary walls are very elastic but blood vessels can lose their ability to contract if they’re frequently dilated, prompting them to remain enlarged. If a person’s parents have broken capillaries they are very likely to as well and should take preventative measures like applying a quality sunscreen, daily. An everyday dose of Vitamin C has also been shown to reduce inflammation, combat superficial damage and strengthen capillaries, decreasing the change of broken capillaries forming.
Common causes of broken capillaries include:
- Diet (high in alcohol, caffeine or spicy foods)
- External trauma (such as popping a pimple or drying the face too vigorously)
- Genetics (individuals with fair skin and rosacea are more susceptible to broken capillaries)
- Some medications
- Picking of the face
- Sunburn or windburn
How To Care For Broken Capillaries
Once broken capillaries form, they don’t exactly disappear naturally. The skin on top of the broken capillaries is also more sensitive to the sun as they enlarge, so a high SPF sunscreen is essential. Spicy, hot, caffeinated or alcoholic foods and beverages can cause vessels to fill with blood, making capillaries temporarily look more pronounced. Avoid these foods to reduce the severity and regularity of their appearance.