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Telangiectasia or “Broken Blood Vessels”

1.    What are telangiectasias?

Telangiectasias are small dilated capillaries and slightly larger blood vessels which are visible in the skin because they are located very superficially.  They can occur on the face, usually most prominent around the nostrils and cheeks, and also on the thighs and legs.  Individuals prone to flushing or blushing easily, those with very fair skin and sun-damaged skin, and those with rosacea are more prone to developing telangiectasias.  Over-use of topical steroid creams may also result in visible telangiectasias.  Larger vessels, deep to the skin, often “feed” telangiectasias, making the treatment more difficult.

 2.    What do telangiectasias look like?

Telangiectasias are painless visible tiny vessels close to the skin’s surface.  They are usually red and may be star-shaped or matted.  They can also be purplish, especially those around the nostrils and on the thighs.

 3.    Who gets telangiectasias?

Telangiectasias may occur in individuals prone to flushing or blushing easily, those with very fair skin and sun-damaged skin, and those with rosacea

4.    What causes telangiectasias?

Sun exposure over time tends to worsen telangiectasias, especially of the face and chest areas.  If untreated, telangiectasias tend to worsen, becoming more noticeable and involving larger areas of skin.

5.    What triggers telangiectasias?

Telangiectasias do not resolve without treatment.

6.    How can my telangiectasias be treated?

Successful treatment of telangiectasias can be achieved with a variety of lasers.  The intense pulsed light and broad band light lasers are very effective at treating widespread facial rosiness and discrete visible vessels of the nose, cheeks, forehead, chin, neck, chest and many other areas of the body.  Multiple treatments are recommended for the best results.  The pulsed-dye laser is also very effective at treating the larger or more persistent vessels, especially around the nostrils; this laser may cause temporary bruising.  Multiple treatments are sometimes necessary.  Telangiectasias of the thighs and legs tend to be more resistant to laser treatment and often require injection sclerotherapy, a relatively painless procedure that irritates the lining of the vessels and causes them to seal off and disappear about 6 – 8 weeks following treatment.  Multiple treatments may be required.

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