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Clear & smooth: how to treat spider veins and broken capillaries

April 07,2016 | Posted by: Maria Leahy

Vascular lesions –­ including broken capillaries (telangiectasias), “spider veins” on the face or port-wine stain birthmarks ­– are all skin lesions that have an abnormal number and/or size of blood vessels.

Undesirable vascular changes are often a result of sun damage and chronic skin conditions such as rosacea and can detract from an otherwise smooth and clear complexion.

The pulsed dye laser is considered the gold standard for treating vascular lesions. The laser emits yellow light wavelengths to reach the target area and destroy the blood vessel without harming the surrounding tissues or deeper layers. The heat causes clotting, coagulation and the closing of small vessels.

After treatment, some lesions collapse and disappear immediately, while others disintegrate gradually. A series of treatments is usually recommended, particularly for larger areas.

What can be treated?

Spider angioma – found slightly below the skin’s surface, often containing a central red spot and reddish extensions which radiate outwards like a spider’s legs.

Cherry angioma – small, red or purple coloured papular lesions usually found on the trunk and proximal extremities.

Telangiectases – small blood vessels located under the surface of the skin. The vessels may appear red, purple or blue.  The most common places these are seen are the face, upper chest, and neck.

Hemangiomas – abnormal build up of blood vessels in the skin or internal organs, also described as a congenital benign skin lesion consisting of dense, usually elevated masses of dilated blood vessels. Hemangiomas can be vivid superficial lesions, known as capillary hemangiomas (often referred to as “Strawberry Marks”), or they can be deep blue swelling, known as cavernous hemangiomas.

Pyogenic granuloma – a relatively common skin growth that presents as a shiny red mass. The surface has a raspberry-like or raw minced meat appearance. Although they are benign, pyogenic granulomas can cause problems of discomfort and profuse bleeding.

Venous lakes – a collection of dilated lake-like venules in the upper dermis that are flat or slightly raised. These lesions are soft, dark blue to purple in colour, average 2-10 mm in diameter and may bleed with trauma. They are commonly seen on the lips or ears of the elderly.

Non-distinct vessels – port wine stains (vascular birthmarks that range in colour from pale pink to dark purple, located on the face and neck), poikiloderma of Civatte (a skin disorder characterised by telangiectasia associated with atrophic changes of the skin, as well as irregularity of pigmentation), and rosacea (a chronic reddening of the mid face often associated with telangiectasia).

Ready to get rid of unsightly prominent red blood vessels? Contact us today for a consultation.