About Treating Facial Blood Vessels
Many people struggle with noticeable, prominent, and aesthetically unappealing blood vessels that become particularly prominent on the face as we age. Examples of the types of facial blood vessels that people often find bothersome include:
- Telangiectasias: Also known as spider veins, telangiectasias are permanently dilated blood vessels that can be found on the face, as well as other parts of the body. They tend to be more numerous and noticeable with age, and are attributable to chronic sun damage, which can both weaken the walls of the blood vessel itself, as well as dimmish the quality of the supportive tissue surrounding the blood vessel. Other factors that contribute to the formation of telangiectasias include trauma, a history of radiation, venous insufficiency, estrogen/progesterone excess (pregnancy, hormone use), chronic topical steroid use, collagen vascular disease, and rarely, certain genetic conditions.
- Periorbital veins: There are somewhat large, bluish or purplish veins that become noticeable beneath the eyes, on the temples, and often on the forehead. While it is normal to have veins in these areas, they may start to bulge in an unsightly way with time. Factors that contribute to prominent periorbital veins include a strong family history, chronic sun exposure that damages both your skin and the walls of the blood vessels themselves, being a light-skinned individual, and having a history of allergies.
- Forehead veins: Like periorbital veins, these too are large bluish/purplish veins are prominent on the forehead. For many people, this prominence is a natural and unique feature that becomes more noticeable with physical exertion or emotional stress.
- Venous lakes: A venous lake is a dilated collection of very small veins (venules) that frequently appear on the lips, face, and ears of adults. Like many of the other types of prominent facial blood vessels described here, their presence is associated with chronic sun exposure.
- Cherry angiomas: These are the most common type of acquired vascular proliferation, and are comprised of collections of small capillaries. Unlike many of the other vascular growths described here, cherry angiomas can start to appear during young adulthood. Their cause is not completely understood. Some women may develop them during pregnancy, and experience spontaneous regression following the pregnancy’s conclusion.
- Spider angiomas: This is a type of telangiectasia that is comprised of a central arteriole (red bump that looks like the body of a spider) from which numerous small vessels radiate outwards (legs of a spider). They are commonly observed in children (up to 40% of children as old as 8 will develop a spider angioma), those who are pregnant, and those who are experiencing states of estrogen excess either due to medication use (such as oral contraceptive pills) or liver dysfunction (cirrhosis or cancer).
- Rosacea and facial flushing: It is very common for people to notice telangiectasias, cherry angiomas, and other prominent facial blood vessels in the setting of rosacea and chronic facial flushing. Very often, the management of rosacea and flushing requires a multimodal approach beyond lasers alone. For a more detailed discussion on treatment options for rosacea and facial flushing, click here.
- Vascular birthmarks: Some people are born with birthmarks that are made of blood vessels. Examples of these include infantile hemangiomas, congenital hemangiomas, tufted angiomas, port wine stains, and others. To learn more about how our physicians treat vascular birthmarks, click here.
How are facial blood vessels treated?
Depending on the type of blood vessels that are being targeted, and what other skin concerns you are looking to have addressed at the same time, our board-certified dermatologists may choose to use any of the following vascular lasers:
- 1064-nm Nd:YAG laser
- Intense pulsed light (IPL)
- Pulsed dye laser (PDL)
- 2940-nm erbium ablative laser
- 532-nm long-pulsed laser
These lasers work by heating blood in the vessel until it either becomes sealed off, or until it bursts. Sealed blood vessels will gradually be broken down by your body over the course of weeks, whereas blood vessels that have burst will no longer be visible once the associated bruising has resolved. When treating cherry angiomas, erbium ablation is also an option depending on the size of the lesions.
Is it dangerous to eliminate these blood vessels? Do I need them for my circulation?
It is not dangerous to eliminate any of these blood vessels. The face has a robust circulatory supply comprised of an arterial and venous system of blood vessels. When certain small, superficial blood vessels are removed from this system, the blood is rerouted to “collateral” blood vessels, which join more major arteries and veins. Therefore, there is no danger that your skin health is going to be compromised by removing any of these vessels.
How long will I need to recover from having my facial blood vessels treated?
In the vast majority of cases, your skin’s barrier is not compromised when treating blood vessels, so there is consequently very little downtime. Any bruises that occur on the face usually resolve within a week, and can be camouflaged with make up or tinted sunscreen in the interim. Larger facial veins that have been sealed shut can be associated with swelling in addition to bruising, as well as the need to handle the treated area gently for the first couple weeks following treatment. As always after laser treatments, it is important to protect your skin from the sun to minimize the risk of hyperpigmentation.
Is it possible to have other treatments performed on the same day?
It is very common for our patients to have multiple treatments performed on the same day, in order to extract the most benefit from their recovery time. Some treatments that our board-certified dermatologists will frequently perform alongside the treatment of facial blood vessels include removal of sun spots and freckles, ablation of benign skin growths, laser rhinophyma repair, and injectable treatments such as neuromodulators and soft tissue fillers, among many others.
Why trust Gateway Aesthetic Institute and Laser Center to treat my facial blood vessels?
At the Gateway Aesthetic Institute and Laser Center, our board-certified dermatologists utilize a wide range of state-of-the-art lasers to effectively and safely remove your unwanted facial blood vessels. While some other practices might offer vascular laser treatments, it is highly unlikely that the practitioners there possess the expertise, experience, and high-powered devices to bring about the meaningful results that you seek. Our board-certified dermatologists pride themselves on about transformative results, while avoiding thermal damage to the skin.
Because facial blood vessels tend to manifest in older adults, many of whom have a significant history of sun exposure, skin cancer surveillance is of the utmost importance. It is very important to have your face examined by one of our board-certified dermatologists who can assess for the presence of both cancerous and pre-cancerous skin lesions, before having any kind of laser treatment. Our dermatologists can also continue seeing you on an ongoing basis to maintain the long-term clearance of your unwanted facial blood vessels, while also continuing to monitor for the development of any suspicious skin lesions.
Finally, our compassionate and experienced team of board-certified dermatologists understand how unwanted facial blood vessels can compromise your goals for a clear complexion. You can therefore be assured that when you trust them to manage your facial blood vessels, you are placing your care in the hands of knowledgeable, highly skilled and experienced physicians who will approach your unique skin issues with a customized treatment plan that is tailored to restore your natural appearance, as well as your confidence in it.