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Capillaries are the tiny blood vessels throughout the body that connect arteries to veins. Capillaries play an important role in carrying oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Due to their small size, capillaries aren't as hardy as arteries and veins. This makes them susceptible to breaking, often as a result of trauma or certain medical conditions. There is a complex network of capillaries responsible for carrying a rich blood supply to your skin on your face. Unfortunately, facial capillaries can break as a result of:

  • Genetics and Family History: many people who experience broken facial capillaries have a family history of spider veins, which can affect the face as well as more well-known areas like the legs.
  • Rosacea: this skin condition causes the small capillaries in the face to dilate and become visible on the skin. Depending on the severity of your rosacea, you may notice visible broken capillaries across your cheeks and nose.
  • Trauma: when someone experiences a facial injury, it’s possible for small blood vessels to break in the affected area. When this happens, the broken veins may become visible until the area heals.
  • Pregnancy: due to the hormonal changes in a woman’s body during pregnancy, they may experience broken facial capillaries as well as spider veins across their body. Thankfully, many women will heal after their delivery and require no further assistance with broken capillaries and spider veins.
  • Vomiting, Coughing, or Sneezing: Sudden changes in pressure are known to cause broken facial capillaries. A long coughing fit, sneezing, and vomiting can all cause enough of a pressure change to break the tiny capillaries in your face.

Unlike some other dermatological conditions, broken capillaries are quite easy to identify and diagnose. Like spider veins, broken facial capillaries appear as dark, red lines underneath the skin. In some cases, you can even see how the capillaries branch off underneath your skin. Broken facial capillaries may also "disappear" or lighten in color when pressure is applied to the area. They quickly become visible again after the pressure is removed and blood flow returns to the area.

Dr. Schultz will carefully examine your skin and have an in-depth conversation about your health history and concerns. Depending on the cause of your broken capillaries, he will recommend a treatment that will remove broken facial capillaries. While "removing" a broken capillary may sound invasive – it isn't! The most common treatments used to remove a facial capillary that has burst include:

  • Time: for many people, time is all it takes to heal a broken capillary. Whether you experienced an accident or merely sneezed too hard, visibly burst facial capillaries may heal and become imperceptible after a few weeks.
  • Topicals: depending on your circumstance, Dr. Schultz may recommend a topical cream to reduce the appearance of broken facial capillaries. In many cases, these topical creams include retinoids to promote collagen production and healing within your skin.
  • Laser treatments: this popular treatment is able to safely target broken facial capillaries and areas of hyperpigmentation without damaging the surrounding tissue. Laser treatments remove broken facial capillaries by safely destroying the capillary. This causes the broken capillary to shrink and dissipate so that it is no longer visible.
  • Sclerotherapy: one of the best treatments for broken facial capillaries and spider veins, Sclerotherapy is a non-invasive procedure where Dr. Schultz will inject a solution into the vein. This solution will cause the vein to shrink and dissipate until it is no longer visible, making sclerotherapy one of the top choices for those looking to remove broken capillaries, spider veins, and varicose veins.

Dr. Schultz understands that broken facial capillaries are a frustrating problem. While broken capillaries may not be a major medical concern, many patients report feeling most confident when they do not have to worry about visible veins. Due to their dark color, broken facial capillaries may also be difficult to hide with makeup. Before recommending a treatment, Dr. Schultz will carefully examine your skin and discuss the cause of the broken capillary. If time or topical creams would not be strong enough to remove the broken capillaries, he may recommend a laser treatment or sclerotherapy.

During your appointment, Dr. Schultz will carefully examine your skin. Depending on the cause of your broken capillary, he may recommend giving your body more time to heal or that you try a topical cream at home. When a patient is a good candidate for a laser treatment or sclerotherapy, they will first receive information about what to expect during their procedure, how the healing process works, and what results to expect. Then, their skin will be thoroughly cleaned and prepped for the laser or injection needed to remove the broken capillary.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Will broken facial capillaries come back?

    It's possible for broken facial capillaries to return. If you used a Read More

  • How do I prevent a facial capillary from breaking?

    Most broken capillaries happen as a result of trauma or a sudden Read More

  • Is there a recovery period after a broken facial capillary is removed?

    No, laser treatments and sclerotherapy are both non-invasive procedures. Aside from mild Read More

  • Are broken capillaries dangerous?

    In most cases, broken facial capillaries do not indicate a larger medical Read More

Rejuvenate Your Skin

Make your skin care a priority with leading-dermatologist and New York Magazine’s “Top Doctor”: Dr. Neal Schultz.