Broken Capillaries &
Dilated Blood Vessels

Broken Capillaries
The term “broken capillaries” is actually a misnomer. The blood vessels are not “broken” but rather dilated or enlarged so they appear more prominently on the surface of the skin. This can pose a cosmetic concern, particularly if there are numerous dilated capillaries on the face. The skin may appear chronically red and become more brightly flushed during hot weather or exercise.

Dilated capillaries can be due to sun damage, rosacea, radiation, medications, estrogen, surgery, photosensitivity, pregnancy, liver disease, and autoimmune diseases. They can also appear in perfectly normal skin in the absence of an underlying medical problem.

Dilated blood vessels can be treated using laser or intense pulsed light. The light is absorbed by hemoglobin inside the blood vessels, causing a heat reaction. The blood coagulates, the walls of the capillary collapse, and the blood vessel is sealed off. Over several weeks, the body gradually absorbs the blood vessel. Generally, several treatments are necessary to diminish the appearance of the vessels.

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