Both men and women are susceptible to spider veins of the face. In fact, at least 20-25 million Americans are affected by vein disease, making spider veins one of the more common chronic conditions.
Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy is a mild, non-invasive procedure with minimal side effects. Read on to learn more about this popular facial spider vein treatment and what you can do to prevent future broken capillaries.
What Are Broken Capillaries?
As our bodies age, our skin becomes thinner, and this thinning of the skin makes veins more visible. Certain elements, including sun exposure and inflammatory diseases such as acne or rosacea, frequently cause damage to blood vessel walls, leading to broken capillaries. Aside from causing facial redness and insecurities, broken capillaries are generally harmless and cause no pain or discomfort. Once broken, these veins will not return to their normal size or repair themselves.
Certain contributing factors increase your likelihood of getting spider veins of the face. Certain conditions frequently cause spider veins, and there is little you can do to prevent them.
Common causes include:
- Genetics. For unknown reasons, spider veins tend to run in families. Individual risk factors also increase with age.
- Gender. Women are more commonly affected than men.
- Rosacea. This common skin condition leads to excessive redness and flushing. With rosacea, broken blood vessels are common.
- Sun exposure. Excessive sun exposure can enlarge your blood vessels. If you get a sunburn, the top layer of skin may peel and temporarily make some of the blood vessels in your face more noticeable.
- Alcohol consumption. Moderate or occasional alcohol consumption can cause your skin to flush due to the enlargement of blood vessels. Binge drinking and heavy alcohol use can eventually lead to spider veins.
- Pregnancy. An increase in estrogen hormones during pregnancy can lead to broken blood vessels. Pregnancy-related spider veins heal on their own after delivery. Skin changes are common in pregnancy.
- Hormones. Birth control pills and the hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause increase the likelihood of broken capillaries.
- Injuries. Minor to significant injuries can lead to bruising. With bruises on your face, broken blood vessels may also be noticeable.
- Vomiting or sneezing. Sudden, extreme pressure in your face from a violent sneeze or a vomiting spell can break the blood vessels in the skin.
- Weather changes. Hot weather increases blood vessel dilation
- Environmental or chemical irritants.
Treating Spider Veins With IPL Therapy
IPL, or intense pulsed light, uses a non-laser high-intensity source of light to treat spider veins, as well as a variety of other skin conditions. IPL treats facial spider veins by first heating and then damaging the walls of the blood vessel. This process causes the veins to collapse and disappear over time. IPL affects only the lower layers of the skin, rather than the top to allow it to reach deeper structures without burning the surface of the skin.
As with other spider vein treatments, IPL causes the walls of the treated vein to collapse and form scar tissue. Eventually, these veins will be reabsorbed by the body and fade away after several weeks.
What To Expect During Treatments
IPL uses many wavelengths of light simultaneously. As a result, the treatment is most effective on veins that are visible at the surface of the skin. This treatment therapy is sometimes more effective for spider veins on the face, rather than on another part of the body.
During the procedure, you may feel a hot snapping or pinching sensation from the light pulses. Most patients do not find the treatment painful, especially when compared to other traditional forms of vein removal procedures.
The entire treatment will be performed in our office and takes 15-45 minutes, depending on the location and the number of veins being treated. Multiple sessions may also be required 4-6 weeks apart before the veins fade after several weeks.
Preventing Future Broken Capillaries
Be proactive in preventing future broken facial capillaries by:
- Be gentle when you wash your face.
- Avoid extreme heat from spas, saunas, or hot weather.
- Limit sun exposure by applying sunscreen to your face. Wearing a hat, and long layers of clothing can also help to reduce the chances of spider veins from sun damage.
- Treat any sources of skin inflammation like acne and rosacea quickly.
- Exercise regularly to improve circulation and vein strength.
- Be mindful of alcohol consumption. Even moderate drinking can cause redness and broken blood vessels.
Is IPL Therapy Right For You?
Before undergoing any type of vein therapy, it’s recommended to identify if you have other underlying vein issues, such as varicose veins or venous insufficiency. Spider veins that develop after IPL will require additional treatments. Call Hinsdale Vein & Laser to schedule a consultation where we can discuss if IPL is the right treatment option for you.