Many of my patients are noticing more “broken” blood vessels on their faces now that their summer tans have faded. If you’ve ever wondered why you have facial spider veins and how to get rid of them, here’s the scoop:
Facial spider veins are tiny blood vessels (capillaries) that get swollen and become visible through the skin. They’re not actually “broken”—just enlarged. Sun damage can weaken the walls of the veins, making them bulge and visible through the skin. Rosacea and pregnancy can also increase blood flow to the face, making veins swell. In addition, injury and inflammation can trigger the formation of new veins. And, in some people, they’re hereditary.
Facial creams with anti-inflammatory ingredients such as licorice and calendula could potentially reduce excessive blood flow to the affected areas, making veins less obvious. This is the rationale behind many redness-reducing and rosacea creams. In my experience, these work best for newer and very small veins. If the veins are dark red or purple, or if they have been present for years, they are likely to require a prescription or in-office treatment. Some of my patients have good success with Onreltea (brimonidine), a prescription-strength rosacea gel that temporarily shrinks veins for 8-12 hours.
In my office, I often treat small facial veins with my Elos Plus laser, a type of Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) laser, which also reduces overall redness, shrinks pores, and improves skin texture. Larger individual veins can be treated with the V-Beam or Diolite lasers. In some cases, I inject facial spider veins with a sclerotherapy solution to shrink them.
I also advise my patients to avoid heat (steaming hot drinks, long hot showers, hot washcloths, hot steam and saunas) because these will increase blood flow, possibly making the spider veins larger. Instead, keep cool by drinking cold beverages and blot your face with a cold washcloth when exercising.