Broken capillaries are networks of tiny, thread-like veins that may appear on your face as you get older. They most commonly show up on the nose or cheeks – but they can also be found on other parts of the face, and even on the chest and legs. Broken capillaries can appear on skin of all types, but they tend to be more pronounced on faces that are fair, thin, or prone to redness.1
These broken capillaries exist just under the surface of the skin and they’re officially known as “telangiectasia.” But they’re not actually “broken” – rather, they’re permanently dilated. These tiny veins on the face are particularly delicate – and genetic predisposition, advanced age, and vein injury can all contribute to their permanent dilation.2
It’s important to treat these blood vessels with care.
Vigorous scrubbing, hot water, and sun exposure can exacerbate the condition, making these veins more prominent.3 And, if you have sensitive skin that’s prone to irritation in the first place, your veins may be more susceptible to damage from any of these traumas.
Many medical capillary treatments exist, but there steps you can take to diminish and prevent their appearance on your face from the comfort of your own home. Here are a few tips to help you care for your veins:
Wash Your Face With Cool Water
There’s nothing like a splash of cold water on the face to wake you up in the morning, and it turns out, it’s good for your blood vessels too. Cold temperatures constrict blood vessel walls, which can help minimize the appearance of veins on the face.4
Hot temperatures, on the other hand, increase blood flow to the skin. To accommodate this increase, veins dilate and may become more pronounced. To prevent this, wash with cool water.
Refrigerate Your Skincare Products
Just like washing your face with cool water, applying products at a cold temperature will gently restrict your veins and help reduce redness on the face. Consider keeping certain products in the refrigerator, like Repair + Reverse. When you apply them, you’ll enjoy a refreshing, soothing chill!
Use Calming Ingredients On Your Face
When you’re dealing with broken capillaries, you want to keep skin irritation to a minimum. Opt for ingredients that contain soothing ingredients. Aloe vera, which is often used to treat sunburns, may help ease redness and irritation on the face, while adding a healthy dose of moisture.5
You can also look for products containing antioxidant ingredients, like white tea extract and green tea extract, which work to minimize skin sensitivity and redness, while easing irritation.6,7
Avoid Using Harsh Exfoliants
Exfoliating can help brighten the face by ridding the skin of the top layer of dead, dry cells. But exfoliation should always be done with care, as abrasive exfoliants can damage the delicate skin on the face.
A safe option is to use chemical exfoliants, like alpha hydroxy acid. Alpha hydroxy acid works by regulating cell turnover in the skin. This helps stimulate the skin cell creation cycle, which includes sloughing off dead, dry cells on the face.8 Also, use a gentle touch when applying any exfoliant to areas of your face where broken capillaries exist, as unnecessary roughness may aggravate existing broken blood vessels and lead to the risk of new blood vessels breaking.
Slather On Sunscreen
Sunscreen won’t diminish the appearance of broken capillaries, but it may help prevent the development of new ones. The sun’s damaging UVA and UVB rays damage skin molecules, causing irritation and enlarging blood vessels.9
UVB rays are responsible for damaging the top layers of the skin, and they have the potential to cause sunburn. The skin does have mechanisms to repair itself from the redness and peeling of a sunburn, but this doesn’t mean permanent damage isn’t being done. And if sun exposure is chronic and frequent, there’s an increased probability that skin damage will become permanent.10
Frequent exposure to UV rays may lead to permanent dilation of veins, leading to the appearance of broken capillaries on the face.11
UVB rays penetrate more deeply into the skin and contribute to the breakdown of collagen. Collagen is the protein that helps make up the skin. It helps keep your face looking firm, smooth, and youthful. As collagen breaks down, it leads to the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on the face. 12 Collagen breakdown also makes the skin more thin. And as the skin thins, veins may become increasingly more visible.
To protect both the top layer and deeper layers of the skin, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30. A broad-spectrum sunscreen guards the skin from both UVA and UVB rays, protecting your face from both sunburns, blood vessel dilation, and collagen breakdown.
Take a Vitamin C Supplement With Bioflavonoids
Vitamin C has a myriad of benefits for the health of your skin. For example, it’s known to brighten the skin and help fade dark spots. A high intake of vitamin C is also associated with a lower likelihood of developing wrinkles on the face. 13
Bioflavonoids are biologically active plant compounds that are found wherever vitamin C is found. They exist naturally in many fruits, vegetables, herbs, and even in chocolate, tea, and wine. Bioflavonoids are known to strengthen blood vessel walls and help prevent the development of broken capillaries.14
So, a good vitamin C supplement that contains flavonoids may help keep your veins strong, durable, and protected.
Intense activity increases blood flow all over the body, and it contributes to facial flushing and redness. This sudden increase of blood can be hard on veins, as they’re forced to dilate to accommodate the influx of blood.15
To decrease the risk of your face flushing, try exercising in cooler temperatures, and focus on gentler types of activity, like walking, yoga, or swimming.
Value Your Veins
So, if you’re bothered by broken capillaries on your face, a mindful skincare routine combined with sunscreen, bioflavonoids, and gentle exercise can help minimize their appearance and may help reduce the risk of new broken capillaries developing.
For more beauty tips, keep reading here:
Essential Fall/Winter Skincare Tips
Crepey Skin Vs. Wrinkles: What’s The Difference & How To Avoid