Updated 11/30/20 Whether it’s redness on the corners of the nose, the cheeks, or the chin, red, broken capillaries can be a frustrating condition to deal with. In this post, I share my expert tips on everything you need to know about how to make broken blood vessels less noticeable as well as preventing future ones from showing up.
The Cause of Broken Blood Vessels
The main cause of broken blood vessels is wear and tear, which leads to a loss in elasticity. Blood vessels are like rubber bands in that they can only be stretched so many times before they will no longer spring back to their original state. Eventually, they stay permanently dilated and enlarged which brings them closer to the surface of the skin, causing them to be more visible. Technically they are not “broken”, they are just stretched beyond their capacity and remain that way.
Things that contribute to a weakening of capillary walls include:
- hot showers
- spicy foods
- suction treatments like microdermabrasion
- intense exercise
- saunas and steam rooms
- hot yoga
- alcohol consumption
How to get rid of broken blood vessels
Here’s how I recommend getting rid of red, broken blood vessels on the face.
Consult with a skincare professional to explore treatment options
The truth is, once capillaries and blood vessels have appeared, they just can’t disappear (unless you apply concealer!). A dermatologist or skincare professional can do a procedure called electrocauterization to safely remove them. There are also various laser treatments that can be effective as well. However, don’t forget about the importance of trying to prevent them from appearing in the first place.
Note: Capillaries form in two colors: red and blue. The red ones are arterial capillaries, where the blood is oxygenated and comes from the heart to the skin. These are easier to get rid of with laser and cautery procedures. The blue ones are venous capillaries going back to the heart. These often times can be deeper in the skin and are harder to treat. This is why prevention is so important.
How to Prevent Broken Blood Vessels
If you can, preventing broken blood vessels in the first place is always easier than getting rid of them! Here’s how.
Take a vitamin C supplement with the added benefit of bioflavonoids
Vitamin C, when taken orally, is essential for your skin and body since it’s an amazing antioxidant that helps reduce inflammation and lessen free radical activity that leads to aging. What is lesser-known is that the added benefits of bioflavonoids can help prevent bruising and help to strengthen fragile blood vessels. Vitamin C with bioflavonoids helps to give strength to blood capillaries internally to prevent them from getting dilated so easily.
I personally take 1,000 mg of vitamin C with bioflavonoids (the 365 Whole Foods brand) once daily as a preventative measure to help keep my blood vessels and capillaries strong — and for the antioxidant benefits. (I’m a skin type #6.)
Use a topical vitamin C serum daily (but look for one that doesn’t sting the skin and cause redness)
Daily use of topical vitamin C helps to support collagen synthesis both in the skin and within capillary walls so you’ll want to incorporate this into your skincare routine. However, even though topical vitamin C is thought to be the best serum for broken capillaries, you want to choose your formula carefully. Since forms of vitamin C like pure ascorbic acid or l-ascorbic acid are in fact acids, they can sting the skin and increase visible blood flow. When used daily as suggested, the redness this creates may weaken capillary walls. My favorite forms of vitamin C for preventing broken blood vessels are tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate and ascorbyl methylsilanol pectinate. They provide a safe and gentle topical application of vitamin C that won’t induce redness or cause irritation.
Getting your daily dose of vitamin C, both inside (with a supplement) and outside (with a serum) may create less visible redness and dilated capillaries on the face.
Analyze your parent’s skin
Looking at your mother or father’s skin is like looking into a crystal ball. If they have a lot of visible, broken blood vessels, you’ll be prone to them, too. Prevention is so important.
Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
These will contribute to getting broken blood vessels so you may want to limit or omit this from your life if you’re concerned about this condition. Read how alcohol is really affecting your skin.
Avoid microdermabrasion treatments
The original microdermabrasion machines from back in the late 90’s/early 2000s are still commonly used today and are not ideal for fragile capillaries. The machine uses an abrasive material along with a vacuum that creates a suction allowing for the exfoliating crystals to lift off dry skin cells. The problem occurs when the suction can pull and tug on capillaries and causes them to weaken. If you want to see the damage it can do to capillaries, see how microdermabrasion can go seriously wrong.
Go easy (or avoid completely) the use of a sonic cleansing brush
I have not been shy about my personal thoughts about sonic cleansing brushes (read my review of the Clarisonic brush) but you really need to careful when using it. When the bristles are massaged over the face (especially if you are pressing hard on the skin), it can quickly stimulate blood and cause the capillaries to dilate which can cause weakening over time. Note: As of September 2020, Clarisonic has gone out of business.
Use anti-redness ingredients in your skincare products
Especially if you are prone to redness and rosacea, such as skin types #5 and #9, you want to create an environment in the skin where it can stay acting calm. The less redness you have appearing on the skin, the better it is for the strength of your capillaries. The best serum for broken capillaries might include various types of algae like red marine algae, white tea, green tea, allantoin, sea whip, oat kernel, bisabolol, chamomile, and azulene.
Avoid blowing your nose too much
If you’re someone who struggles with seasonal or year-round allergies, you know all too well about getting a red nose. However, the pressure from blowing your nose along with the rubbing of tissue around the nose can both cause broken blood vessels. Try to get your allergies under control and try not to blow your nose as hard and have a gentle touch when wiping with a tissue.
In summary, having visible red capillaries and blood vessels appearing on the face is all too common. I sincerely hope these tips have helped you. Want to learn more about how to care for your skin? Read 7 surprising ways you’re aging your skin faster.
Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”