The medical name for broken capillaries or spider veins is telangiectasia. They usually appear on the face around the nose, cheeks and chin. The capillaries just under the skin are very delicate and can dilate or break. Once they are broken, they will not return to their normal condition. There may be preventable causes for broken capillaries, such as vigorous scrubbing of the skin, washing with too-hot water and excessive sun exposure. Some of the causes of broken capillaries may not be preventable. These include:


During pregnancy, menopause and puberty, there are hormonal changes in the body that may provoke broken capillaries. This may be because of changes in progesterone and estrogen levels.


Some people have a family gene that makes them more vulnerable to broken capillaries, spider veins and varicose veins. If one or both of your parents have broken capillaries, there is a good chance you will, too.


If there is any trauma to the skin, such as an injury, it may cause broken capillaries. This could be as serious as a blow to the face or as simple as the pressure of spectacles on the nose. Vigorous scrubbing of the face is also considered trauma and may be a cause.

Medical Conditions

A few medical conditions that may cause broken capillaries are blood clots that obstruct the flow of blood, inflammation in the veins, constipation, rosacea and systematic skin infections.


While lifestyle causes may be considered preventable, it may not be easy or practical to change your occupation. People who stand for many hours during the course of their work, such as nurses and teachers, may be more prone to spider veins because the veins in the legs have to work so much harder to get the blood back to the heart. It is also the case for people who sit for long hours because the circulation may be blocked and the blood pressure in the legs builds up, causing spider veins.

Sun Exposure

Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight may not directly cause spider veins, but it does damage collagen in the skin and may make existing broken capillaries worse. For many people, broken capillaries get worse during the summer.


After heredity, obesity is the main cause of spider veins on the legs. Excess weight, especially around the abdomen area, puts excessive pressure on the legs, raising the blood pressure. It also interrupts the blood circulation and stretches the skin, making it more likely that capillaries will break.


The skin naturally becomes thinner and loses elasticity as you age. It also loses collagen and flexibility, making it more vulnerable to trauma.

Alcohol Abuse and Smoking

Alcohol abuse may increase blood pressure, which can break blood vessels. Smoking harms the circulatory system, causing the capillaries to become weak.

Treating Broken Capillaries

Broken capillaries may not be dangerous, but they are usually unsightly. At The Vein Center in Mount Pleasant, we offer multiple treatments for removing them so your face or legs can look clear again. Contact us today to schedule your appointment to learn more.

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You may long for smooth, beautiful skin across your body, but your visible veins may be keeping you from looking your best. These veins often begin quite small and most often show up initially on your legs.


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As we age, our bodies change. It’s inevitable. Still, most of us do whatever we can to maintain a youthful appearance. We exercise, eat healthy and stay mentally active. Despite your best efforts, you may still develop spider veins.