Broken blood vessels, known as telangiectasias, can occur anywhere on the body. These lesions are also commonly referred to as broken capillaries. They appear as thin red or purple clusters on the skin.
Causes of Broken Blood Vessels
Broken blood vessels can develop as sites of trauma to the skin or excessive sun exposure. A tendency to have inflammatory skin conditions, such as rosacea, may also result in broken blood vessels.
While harmless, broken blood vessels do not resolve on their own and their appearance can worsen with excessive sun exposure.
The appearance of broken blood vessels can be improved with elective (cosmetic) procedures. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL – see more info on this below) and/or electodessication treatments can improve the appearance of broken blood vessels. The size, body location, and severity of the broken blood vessels will determine which treatment would be more effective.
Multiple treatments may be necessary to resolve the appearance of the broken blood vessels depending on the size and severity of the broken blood vessels. These treatments may cause temporary bruising or crusting of the skin for 7-10 days. Therefore, it is recommended that these treatments be scheduled when such downtime can be tolerated.
IPL Treatment for Vascular Lesions (rosacea, facial redness, broken capillaries, enlarged veins of the face, red spots)
What is it?
IPL is Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatment. IPL diminishes the appearance of blood vessels, small veins, redness, rosacea, and broken capillaries. It can be used on all parts of the body, including the face, arms, legs and chest, or any area of the body.
Sun Avoidance For at least two weeks prior to the treatment, use of self-tanners and sun exposure are not recommended as tanned skin can affect cosmetic outcome.
Gentle Products For 1-2 weeks prior to the procedure discontinue harsh products such as retinols and glycolic acid products to avoid skin irritation.
Cleanse On the day of treatment patients should wash the area to be treated so it is free of makeup or any skincare products. No moisturizer or sunscreen should be applied. It is recommended that patients do not apply any products to their skin, including make-up.
Arrive 1 Hour Early Patients must arrive one hour prior to their appointment for numbing with a topical ointment.
What to Expect
This treatment yields minimal downtime. Mild swelling or flaking of the skin may occur, particularly swelling around the eyes. The most common (and expected) side effect is a darkening of the more superficial brown spots and areas being treating. This darkening of superficial brown spots will flake off after about 7-14 days. Darkened brown spots or discoloration can be covered with make-up if desired.
To minimize any possible swelling, sleep with the treated areas elevated above your heart to reduce and apply cold compresses or ice packs to treated areas for 15 minutes every hour for the first two days. Apply plenty of sunscreen with SPF 50+ several times a day and avoid large amounts of sun exposure if at all possible to prevent discoloration of treated areas. If sun exposure is necessary, wear clothing that covers the treated area. Use of a gentle moisturizer at least twice a day is recommended to promote healing of the treated areas. Medicated skincare products, harsh cleansers, exfoliants, and toners should be avoided until the treated areas heal. Makeup can be used after the procedure without any restrictions. Should treated areas become crusted or flaky, it is extremely important that these areas are not picked in order to prevent scarring.
Please follow-up with your provider two weeks after your procedure. If you need multiple procedures, they can be performed one month apart. If you have any questions or concerns after your procedure, please contact our office at (703) 356-5111.