You know them when you see them: red and blue bruise-like streaks that extend like spider webs around your nose, cheeks, mouth and legs. You call them spider veins (doctors call them telangiectasias), and you know they’re more common in people with sensitive skin and rosacea. But how much do you really know about this skin condition? How do you get it, how do you treat it and what can you do to avoid it? Take this quiz to find out.
True or False: You are more likely to have broken capillaries if you have fair skin.
Answer: True. “Broken capillaries are actually dilated blood vessels and are associated with acne and rosacea,” explains dermatologist Dr. Emil Tanghetti. “They can be seen in all ethnicities, but they are seen more commonly in lighter-skinned individuals of Celtic background.”
True or False: Exfoliating can cause them.
Answer: True. “Using a scrub-type exfoliant too harshly or too often can be a trigger, as can mechanical exfoliation, such as microdermabrasion, when performed incorrectly or on an unsuitable skin type,” says aesthetician Mariga Sheedy.
How to deal? Dr. Tanghetti suggests switching your usual face scrub with chemical-based exfoliants. “For patients who are looking to exfoliate their skin, I recommend using glycolic acid or topical retinoids to achieve exfoliation without damaging the skin. For people who use exfoliating devices like the Clarisonic, try to limit its use to one to two times per week since it can also aggravate the situation, especially if you’re prone to rosacea.”
True or False: They fade away eventually if you just let them be.
Answer: False. “If not addressed, broken capillaries can worsen and become more visible with the loss of our skin’s structural integrity, which happens naturally as we age,” says Sheedy. “And if you’re prone to redness, consuming spicy foods, carbonated drinks, caffeine and alcohol will only make it worse.”
True or False: The only way to reverse them is to get an in-office procedure.
Answer: True. “Unfortunately, there is no over-the-counter remedy that can reverse the appearance of broken capillaries once they emerge,” says Dr. Tanghetti. “So far, the most effective way to eradicate these visible veins is through an in-office procedure, which usually includes a laser device or intense pulsed light (also known as IPL or photofacial). Consult an experienced provider to see which treatment or device is best suited for your need.”
True or False: Broken capillaries are totally preventable with the right skin care products.
Answer: True. “The best way to deal with broken capillaries is to avoid forming these dilated blood vessels in the first place,” says Dr. Tanghetti. “Avoid sun exposure and overexfoliation and use a good sunscreen and a gentle, non-soap cleanser.”
READERS–Are you struggling with broken capillaries? What do you do to keep the symptoms under control? Share your thoughts with us on the comment section below.