A couple of nights ago I was sitting watching TV with my son, just chit chatting and making passing comments on the show we were watching and my son – who is 15 and curious about most things – asks: “Mum… how come when I accidentally scratch or cut myself I bleed even if I’m nowhere near my veins?” I was taken back a little because it was such a basic question and I guess I assumed everyone just ‘knows’ how blood works but during my animated explanation to him about veins, capillaries and the vascular system, I suddenly realised that my son’s question is not that basic after all and that he probably isn’t the only one who thinks that our blood only travels through those thick, purple veins we intermittently see through our skin.

In fact, your body pumps about 5.6 liters of blood through approximately 100,000 km (60,000 miles) of arteries, veins and capillaries and even though the average thickness of skin is only 2mm… it gets an eighth of all your blood supply… which answers my son’s question perfectly. Yes?… I hear you say in total boredom…. Why am I talking about this in a beauty blog??

Well, have a close look at your skin. Especially around the nose – nostrils, cheeks and chin. Can you see any redness? Can you see some spindly, little red threads under the skin. If you can, then those are broken capillaries also known as Spider Veins … and those my dears, are a totally perfect subject for a Beauty blog.

Broken capillaries on the face, neck and décolletage are caused by many different factors such as sun exposure or extreme temperatures (too hot or too cold) but certain skin conditions such as rosacea or any kind of skin inflammation can cause those tiny, little vessels sitting just under the skin’s surface to dilate and break making the poor sufferer look like they have been sitting in a Swedish Hot House when really the closest they’ve come to Sweden is a stroll through IKEA.

Of course there are factors beyond our control such as age and genetics that come into play but many factors are self-induced like cigarettes, alcohol, spicy foods and… I’ll say it again… excessive sun exposure!

So, what to do… well luckily for us, these days there are several successful treatments that can be used to treat a whole host of vein related issues and I have given you a few options below but my first advise is start by cutting out the smoking – if you are a smoker, limit your alcohol intake – if you love a drink and stay out of the sun – period.

IPL & Laser Vein Treatment

Both IPL (Intensed Pulsed Light) and Laser are quick and relatively easy way to treat broken capillaries. Both methods use light to deliver energy/heat into the tiny vein and basically cook it (like a boiled egg) without damaging the skin’s surface. In most cases the capillary will disappear immediately but thicker veins will break down over time and be reabsorbed by the body. The treated capillaries may bounce back over time and most people may find they will need to retreat the area once or twice a year. Also, both IPL and Laser will only treat red coloured veins… if your capillaries appear slightly purplish or blue then treatment will not be successful.

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Progress Photos Of Leg Vein Treatment With IPL By Marina Capitelli 

Top Left = Before IPL Treatment  Top Right = Immediately After IPL Treatment 

Bottom Left = 2 Weeks Healing After IPL Treatment  Bottom Right = 6 Weeks Healed After IPL Treatment

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 Thread Vein Treatment With IPL On Shoulder By Marina Capitelli 

Top Picture Before IPL Treatment Of Shoulder  Bottom Picture After IPL Treatment Of Shoulder 

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Before IPL Thread Vein Treatment By Marina Capitelli 

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After IPL Thread Vein Treatment By Marina Capitelli

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Before IPL Thread Vein Treatment By Marina Capitelli

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Healed After IPL Thread Vein Treatment By Marina Capitelli 

Diathermy

Similar to IPL & Laser, Diathermy treats broken capillaries by cauterising the vein with heat. A very fine probe (needle) is inserted into the capillary and heat is applied to coagulate the vein. Each capillary is treated one by one so this would be good option for small areas or if you have just a few capillaries you need to treat. Also, Diathermy may be a better option for thicker veins if your veins appear purplish or blue in colour.

Sclerosation

If you suffer from enlarged or broken capillaries on your legs then forget IPL, Laser and Diathermy. You will need Sclerosation or Sclerotherapy. This method uses a chemical (Sclerosant) which is injected into the capillary or varicose vein to cause the vein to close and block the blood flow. This makes the vein visually disappear. The treatment may be painful and repeated treatments may be needed depending on the extent of the problem but worth doing if you have unsightly leg veins that embarrass you. Sclerotherapy costs less than surgery and there you don’t need a hospital stay but it doesn’t always work for everyone… about 20 out of 100 people do not get a result.

Vein Stripping

On the more extreme end and nothing to do with facials veins… vein stripping is used to treat or remove those horrible and sometime painful, purple/blue leg veins called Varicose veins. These veins are caused by faulty vein valves that do not allow the blood to flow as it should. The veins become filled with blood and swell causing pain and or discomfort. Vein stripping is a surgical process that removes the varicose veins from the legs and must be performed only by a medical specialist.