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Understanding Dilated Capillaries

Dilated capillaries, a common skin disorder is also known as broken veins or broken blood vessels. The medical term for the condition is Telangiectasia Rosacea. This condition affects mostly on the face (around the mouth and nose are prime sites) and on the legs. They are small-threadlike veins close to surface of the skin, which when clustered together looks like a red bruise. However, unlike normal bruises, the bruises presented by dilated capillaries donít fade.


Intense scrubbing of the face or washing with too hot water can lead to dilated capillaries, as the delicate capillaries in the face are easily damaged.     Other factors that can cause dilated capillaries are: over-exposure to the sun, skin injury, the natural process of aging, excessive drinking of alcohol and heredity.


There are a number of ways in which dilated capillaries are treated. Most of these treatment options must be done by a trained skincare practitioner or dermatologist. They include electrolysis, IPL energy (Intense Pulse Light), laser and cosmetic surgery.


With electrolysis, a very fine needle is used to prick the skin around the damaged capillaries. The vessels are then cauterized by a high frequency current to prevent excessive bleeding. The blood in the capillaries will then be absorbed into the body. Dilated capillaries treated by electrolysis do not reappear, but new ones can form.


IPL uses a device known as a Photoderm. The light is focused on each capillary which will absorb the light and result in the damage blood vessel shriveling and dying. Laser treatment works much the same way as Intense Pulse Light. Laser treatment or IPL does not affect normal, healthy skin, so there is nothing to fear.    


Depending on the severity of the condition treatment can be a one-time thing or extended over a period as more than one session is needed to remove all of the affected capillaries. Like all medical treatments, removing dilated capillaries can have some side effects, but most are mild and include bruising of the skin and slight scarring. However, most of these disappear within three to ten days.


If the condition is not bad, makeup can be used to cover up these broken veins.    In some cases the condition returns after treatment, especially in cases where it is caused by heredity and not by external factors.


Although in some instances dilated capillaries cannot be prevented, it can be minimized by reducing sun exposure and always wearing sunscreen when outdoors. Take special care when washing your face so as not to cause damage to the skin and underlying capillaries.


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