What are broken capillaries?
Well for starters, the term “broken” is actually inaccurate. Broken capillaries are caused when you get a bruise from injury to the skin.
The little red blood vessels that are found in different areas of the face (most commonly the nose, cheeks and chin) are actually permanently dilated capillaries. These are common in lighter, fairer skin types of western European descent (Irish, Scottish). If you have visible capillaries around the corners of the nose (little red, squiggle marks) and nowhere else, these may not be the same – these can be caused simply from blowing your nose from colds and allergies that put pressure on the capillaries.
Where do they come from?
Capillary walls are very elastic, and through repeated dilating from hot showers, spicy foods, microdermabrasion, intense exercise, alcohol, or merely just genetics, they no longer have the ability to contract, remaining visibly enlarged.
Why the difference in colors?
These capillaries form in two colors: red and blue. The red-colored ones are arterial capillaries, where the blood is oxygenated and comes from the heart to the skin. These are easier to treat and prevent, as well as get rid of. The blue in color is venous capillaries going back to the heart. These often times can be deeper in the skin and are harder to treat.
How can I get rid of them?
Generally, once you have them, they don’t go away. You need to seek professional treatment, as skin care products cannot make these vanish. There are laser procedures that can be very beneficial, as well as the older tried-and-true technology of using an electric needle to cauterize surface capillaries. Either way, consult with a skin care professional to determine which option is best for you, based on the severity of the condition.
How can I prevent them?
Without a doubt, skin care products and certain skin tips can really make a difference long-term in preventing the formation of new ones. Here are some helpful tips to prevent them.
Refrigerate your products: Toners, serums and moisturizers and gel-based masks can be kept in the fridge. This not only helps preserve the products, but their cool temperatures can soothe redness on the skin.
Use calming ingredients: Products containing anti-inflammatory and calming ingredients such as chamomile, sea whip, azulene, and white tea help naturally cool and comfort the skin. It’s really important to use products exclusively formulated for keeping the skin calm. See our nine skin types.
Wash your face with cool/tepid water: Hot water on the face will speed up blood flow, which will only increase redness in the skin.
Remember to moisturize: When the skin becomes dry, it becomes irritated. By simply keeping moisture in the skin, you can be one step closer to healthy, glowing, calm skin.
Take it easy on intensive exercise: Intense activity creates a sweat for you, and a flush for your skin. Activities like walking, swimming, or yoga can provide a workout without as much redness.
Taking steps to prevent wear and tear on capillaries can really go a long way, so if your skin is prone to them, be sure to practice these tips.
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.”