Treatment for Broken Capillaries on Face

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 20

Light therapies or electrocautery

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.


Virginia Beach Dermatologist
4.5 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Treating Broken Capillaries

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
San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Nd:YAG laser for facial telangiectasias

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
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Treatment for broken capillaries on face.

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
San Diego Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

VBeam Laser for broken capillaries on face

I highly recommend the VBeam laser, the most advanced Pulsed Dye Laser Technology. VBeam treats red skin, broken blood vessels, rosacea, and birthmarks. This laser targets the selected area with an intense yet gentle burst of light. This laser is so safe that it’s used for the treatment of port wine stains on infants and young children. It also treats photoaging and sun damage with no downtime. Our patients have achieved impressive results!

Dennis Gross, MD
New York Dermatologist
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Facial Veins/Capillaries

I always tell my patients that if a face vein or capillary is large enough to inject, then injections are the fastest, most effective way to treat facial veins/capillaries.  If they are too small to get a tiny needle into, then I recommend lasers or Veinwave.  Injecting the face requires experience and stronger medications than those used on the legs. Access to different types of sclerotherapy medicines and to different strengths is important as well.

Hope this helps and take care,

Dr Chang

John W. Chang, MD
Coral Gables General Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

There are a lot of treatments for broken capillaries on your face

Thanks for your question and there are a lot of treatments for broken capillaries on your face. The most
important thing is to make sure that you are going to a reputable provider, and we recommend that you
consult with a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon and that if these procedures are
delegated, that they be done in these offices under the supervision of these experts. Make sure that they
use lasers and lights in their offices as well. Med spas for the most part, if they are free standing, have no
real supervision and thus we do not know if the treatments are adequate or appropriate.
In our laser center, and many around the country, we have IPLs, KTP lasers, pulsed dye lasers, and Nd:
YAG lasers all that work well with these broken vessels. Most work really well, and sometimes several
treatments are needed for all of them to resolve. And we recommend appropriate skin care and
sunscreen to maintain the skin after the laser procedures.

Michael Gold, MD
Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

IPL or laser for broken capillaries of the face - Buffalo Niagara NY

I strongly agree that not all devices are created equal. The types of "IPL" devices that you see on Groupon specials used in non medical 'salons' are different that the $ 100,000 plus IPL devices in physician offices and physician directed medical spas. These are amenable to successful treatment either by IPL or long pulse lasers. We have the largest selection of IPL and laser devices in Buffalo Niagara and are able to offer customized treatments once patients are seen in consultation and evaluation with examination.  

Laser Treatment

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
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Broken Capillaries Spider Veins of Face or Nose

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).

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.