Instead of pubescent acne, my main focuses nowadays include stress-induced redness, dilated pores and tiny broken capillaries, also referred to as spider veins or thread veins. I have no idea where these enlarged blood vessels came from – or even when – but I can bet they were likely caused by sun and wind exposure, possibly alcohol consumption, an over zealous facial or just bad genetic luck.
“Broken capillaries are dilated or enlarged blood vessels just beneath the surface of the skin,” says Dermatologist Dr Elif Benar. “On the surface, that translates to little red splotches that don't seem to go away — especially around your nose, cheeks, and chin. But if you (or your aesthetician) zoom in super close, you'll notice that the splotch looks like it almost has vein-y little legs. Some might even look like winding red veins.”
Dr Benar says that almost anyone can suffer from this problem at one point or another, however, those with fair skin are more likely to notice it. It is also very common in people with sensitive skin, rosacea, and acne.
“Broken capillaries are actually caused by an external disturbance in your skin — windburn, extreme temperature changes, excessive drinking or smoking, but especially UV damage and trauma to the skin, such as popping a pimple too forcefully,” she continues. “Even a sneeze that’s too strong can cause broken capillaries. Broken capillaries are pretty difficult to avoid, especially if you have a predisposition. But for the things that you can avoid, it's all about prevention.”
I am unsure that you can effectively treat and/or minimise broken capillaries at home (and please don't splash your face with hot water or take overly hot showers which won't help at all), so that leaves aesthetic procedures.
Depending on your skin tone (some treatments should not be used on darker skin tones), the most effective treatments for facial veins involve precisely targeting and introducing energy into the blood vessel – this is then converted into heat, causing the vein to seal itself off, so the blood no longer flows through it.
You’re likely to need more than one treatment, however the results are permanent, although it should be noted that new ones can form in other areas on the face if you’re pre disposed to them, or you don’t step up effective prevention measures such as wearing a high factor broad spectrum sunscreen.
We round up three options tried and tested by some of our favourite Experts: