Have you found a red, spidery mark somewhere on your face or body? Have you tried to treat it like a spot, or age spot, but to no avail? That little annoyance is probably a broken blood vessel, or broken capillary.
The interesting thing about broken capillaries is that they aren’t truly broken capillaries, they are just capillaries that have been stretched beyond the capacity they are used to, causing the appearance of a small, red blotch with minute tendrils.
Why do broken blood vessels occur?
The main reason that one will see broken blood vessels or broken capillaries is due to physical trauma to the skin. Our skin is a delicate creature, and something as simple as popping a spot, or having a mechanical treatment such as frequent microdermabrasion, can cause a broken blood vessel – yes, really.
Extra pale hoomans are more susceptible to broken blood vessels, as are those who’d have a more reactive skin or those who suffer from general redness or rosacea. Additionally, broken capillaries and broken blood vessels are more likely to occur in smokers, as smoking constricts blood vessels and additionally saps us of vitamin C.
Why does the amount of vitamin C we’re getting in matter? Vitamin C is to collagen as water is to plants – our body needs vitamin C to produce collagen, and collagen is what keeps our blood vessels strong, healthy and resistant to stretching and collapse.
Extreme heat, extreme wind, sunburn, change in weather conditions, exercise and having a few tipples are notorious culprits for broken capillaries, because they cause dilation and contraction of the blood vessels, leading to them become weaker.
Does this mean that we should be over-the-top, hermit-type hoomans about the factors mentioned above? Heck no. But right now, stop doing DIY home-steaming, home extractions or popping spots, limit your alcohol consumption and try to avoid extreme heat or extreme cold by lowering that shower temp and keeping your face cosy with your scarf on colder days.
What to do about broken blood vessels
Unfortunately, seeing as it is damage to the capillaries directly beneath the surface of the skin, topical skincare won’t actually get rid of broken capillaries. Using soothing, anti-redness products can help to bring down the intensity of the redness, but it is more of a short term solution.
The Neostrata Restore Redness Neutralizing Serum (€50.00, available on the Nerd Network store) is great for bringing down redness of any kind in the short term but again, it isn’t a true solution in that sense.
The two main salon or clinic treatments that I would rate to actually get rid of broken blood vessels would be laser vein removal or IPL. Neither are ludicrously expensive, especially considering it will be just treating one tiny area. Both work to dissolve the capillary via heat, which sounds painful, but mostly, it would be considered mildly uncomfortable.
Laser vein removal or IPL can take about 15 minutes to half an hour and for the most part, you just need to allow the area to cool down and you can go straight back to your normal life. For a few days to a week, the broken blood vessel or capillary will actually be darker, but you can safely cover it with mineral makeup until it is completely gone. It’s also possible that you’ll see some temporary swelling or redness (edema and erythema, in technical terms). No pain, no gain!
You’ll have different therapists have different opinions on whether laser vein removal or IPL is better but it depends on the type of broken capillary or blood vessel, in my opinion. IPL suits redness and broken capillaries close to the surface of the skin, whereas for the deeper ones, laser vein removal is sometimes a better option.
Skincare broken blood vessel solutions
So, as we’ve mentioned, topical skincare simply cannot get rid of broken blood vessels. What it CAN do is help to conceal them, soothe them and prevent them.
When it comes to soothing, outside of the aforementioned Neostrata serum, there’s also the creamy IMAGE Vital C Hydrating Facial Cleanser (€37.00) with calming soapwort extract, redness-reducing vitamin C and vitamin A. This is an ideal cleanser for someone who sees redness of any kind and who would be really quite dry – not just combination-skinned.
The REN Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream (€32.00) is an uber-hydrating, very calming moisturiser to pop on for instant cooling and hydrating powers. With omega-rich, moisturising plant extracts, this will give your skin instant comfort and help to temporarily minimise the appearance of redness.
From the aspect of concealing redness, the classic makeup artist trick is to cover red with yellow. Some say green, but green can very easily make you look like your lunch isn’t agreeing with you.
Ben, Nerd HQ’s resident makeup Nerd, adores the Glo Redness Relief Powder (€36.00) for covering any visible red on the skin. What makes this a nerdie product rather than just a makeup product is its ingredients – and you know we only really care about the ingredients. This yellow-tinted powder contains known soothers, honeysuckle extract and zinc oxide. Zinc oxide is a mineral powder that also provides the skin with antioxidant protection so win-win! You just sweep it on atop your SPF and, optionally, before you apply your makeup for an instant neutralisation of the crimson hues in your skin.
When it comes to prevention, we recommend getting heaps of vitamin C in through your diet and through an additional supplement, if you struggle to get enough in. New to the store is the Solgar Ester-C Plus 1000mg (€40.00 for a 3 month supply). What’s different about this is that it is a pH neutral vitamin C. Some find that high amounts of vitamin C can give them some tummy trouble, so Solgar found a solution… Innovators, they are.
The nerdie conclusion on dealing with broken blood vessels
Broken blood vessels, to summarise, are a sign that your blood vessels could be stronger, or that you’re not treating them as well as you maybe should. However, they aren’t anything that you need to fix unless you’re bothered by their appearance.
What you can do is…
Get laser vein removal or IPL to zap ‘em
Prevent them by eating a vitamin C rich diet
Temporarily reduce or conceal the appearance with topical skincare
Stop steaming, picking, popping and prodding
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