Treatment for Broken Capillaries on Face

  • bulbie
  • Boston, MA
  • 4 years ago

My skin is very fair and I am in my late 30s. I tried IPL spot treatments (at a medspa chain) but they did not seem to do anything. I'm not sure if it's because the technician used the wrong setting or if my skin is just stubborn and needs a stronger laser. I would like to avoid a lot of downtime if possible. Thank you!

Doctor Answers (16)

Light therapies or electrocautery

July 16th, 2009

First, these are not "broken" capillaries. They are permanently dilated small blood vessels called telangiectasias.

Your treatment would depend on how much money you care to spend. Electrocautery is an old-fashioned, but nonetheless effective, method of treating this problem. This would be a fraction of the cost of laser treatments.

The best laser treatments would include a pulsed dye laser such as the Versapulse or V-Star or a 1064 Nd: YAG pulsed laser.

While the IPL in the green spectrum handles diffuse redness, I am not impressed with its results for telangiectasias.

Arnold R. Oppenheim, MD

Arnold R. Oppenheim, MD
Virginia Beach Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

IPL is good for broken capillaries

July 17th, 2009

You would get better care at a plastic surgeon or dermatologist's office than in a medispa where no doctor is present.  Go to one of these settings for an evaluation and I am sure you will get a better result.

Laser for facial capillaries

July 17th, 2009

Although I agree with the other experts that the long pulse ND YAG is one of the best treatments for facial vessels, an IPL/ BBL Light based treatment will have less chance of bruising or darkening of the vessels. In my office I have both options available and will often start with the BBL which is one of the best IPL systems on the market and generally gets excellent results. If there are some difficult vessels remaining we may then use a different laser such as my ND YAG to obtain optimal results. Although the laser being used is important, the operator on the other end of the laser is equally /more important. As mentioned earlier, seek out a board certified dermatologist who specializes in lasers in your area.

Shawn Allen, MD

Shawn Allen, MD
Boulder Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review


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Nd:YAG laser for facial telangiectasias

July 17th, 2009

I have seen more significant improvements with the Nd:YAG laser for facial telangiectasias. One seeking such treatment should ask the physician (if there is one at all!) what lasers does he/she have available. If there is only one then they will try to make that "fit" even though it is not the best indicated. With multiple lasers a physician can decide which one will be best for your particular problem. Lasers of different wavelengths will have different effects on the target tissues.

Theodore Katz, MD, FACS

Theodore Katz, MD, FACS
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Treatment for broken capillaries on face.

April 28th, 2009

There are several good vascular laser/light treatments to address facial blood vessels including the pulsed-dye laser, ipl/fotofacial and Nd:YAG long pulsed laser. The settings and particular laser selected depend on the size and depth of the blood vessels. I would consult a board certified physician - in fact in your part of the country, there is a group of dermatologists called Skincare Physicians of Chestnut Hill - experts in laser therapies - that I would consult. The spa may not have used the correct filter or settings on the IPL.

Good luck.

Bryan K. Chen, MD

Bryan K. Chen, MD
San Diego Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Facial Broken Capillaries Treatment

August 12th, 2014

For Broken Capillaries (telangiectasias) on the face there is a number of lasers that work well. Though IPL at the proper settings correct many there are also specialized laser such as the Diolite KTP laser, Sciton laser and Candella tuneable dye laser that work great for these problems.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Laser Treatment

November 4th, 2013

IPL is really disappointing in my opinion. While IPL often times leads to less “down time”, results are universally lackluster in most cases. Accepting a day of redness in the area with a stronger laser is the trade-off for more rapid results with fewer treatments for facial lentigines (sun spots). I like the Matrix CO2 laser and Solta’s Permea best for superficial pigment.

Bobby Buka, MD

Bobby Buka, MD
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Treating Broken Capillaries

July 21st, 2013

Without examining you in person, it’s important to understand that visiting a specialist in laser treatment is crucial in experiencing optimal results. It is possible that your treating doctor or nurse did not use the correct settings or the optimal IPL or laser machine. All IPL machines are NOT the same. Some cost $20,000 and some cost $120,000. As a board certified dermatologist and vein treatment specialist, I am able to utilize the largest selection of lasers in Southern California to develop a unique treatment for each and every patient. For small  vessels on the face, the most popular treatments that work very well include the pulse dye laser, Nd:YAG lasers and IPL.

Mitchel P. Goldman, MD

Mitchel P. Goldman, MD
San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Broken Capillaries Spider Veins of Face or Nose

April 2nd, 2013

I have seen many patients in my practice that have the same exact story.  Although the issue could be related to the training of the medspa personnel performing your IPL, even in the best of hands the IPL therapy can lead to poor response when used on spider veins or broken capillaries of the face.  It has been my experience that most patients are dissatisfied with the results of using IPL on capillaries / veins of the face & nose.  For this condition we have been using a technology known as Ohmic Thermolysis or Thermocoagulation for years with excellent results, and results that it our hands have been significantly better than IPL.  The technology also goes by the name "Veinwave" or "Veingogh".  The technology was designed exclusively for use on spider veins (unlike IPL which is applied to dozens of different conditions with variable results).

Joel Gotvald, MD, FACS

Joel Gotvald, MD, FACS
Austin General Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

IPL for face

October 22nd, 2012

I recommend using Intense Pulse Light laser to treat capillaries on the face.  It may be that different settings may need to be used and/or you may need a series of treatments.  

Sam Naficy, MD

Sam Naficy, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 138 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.

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