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 21

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
4.7 out of 5 stars 14 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
4.4 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Pulsed dye or ND yag is more effective

While I have IPL in my practice, I refer people with your type of issue to a nearby practice that has a pulsed dye laser.  it is much more effective for "broken capillary"

Marwan R. Khalifeh, MD
Chevy Chase Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 106 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.  

Hratch Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Buffalo Phlebologist
4.8 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

IPL for face

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, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 221 reviews

Treatment of Broken Capillaries on the Face

In our practice we use electrodessication (electrocautery) which is very superficial burning of the vessels. I think it works very well and gives longer-lasting results than any laser.  That being said, it is a little painful and there is crusting in the treated areas for up to 1 week after treatment. But having compared electrodessication and laser for telangiectasia (broken capillaries) on the face, I really feel electrodessication is much more effective with anywhere from 1 to 3 treatments spaced a few weeks apart. 

Channing R. Barnett, MD
New York Dermatologist
4.1 out of 5 stars 8 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
4.8 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

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
4.4 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 18 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.