A beauty consultant by profession, Jayne has been advising on correct skin and hair care, makeup, and other cosmetics for almost 20 years.
Basically, broken capillaries are blocked blood vessels. They can surface at any age and may remain a lifetime unless treated very early on.
What to Do About Broken Capillaries
In this article, you'll learn:
- what exactly broken capillaries are and what causes them
- how to prevent their onset (if you don't yet have them)
- how to reduce their appearance with special creams and makeup (if it's too late)
- how deep tissue facial massage could get rid of them completely
What Are Broken Capillaries?
Broken capillaries of the face—also referred to as "dilated" capillaries or "spider veins"—affect mostly the nose and cheeks and are a symptom of rigid blood vessels that have become blocked.
The condition is hereditary for many people, but even if it does run in the family, it doesn't have to be inevitable.
Ironically, broken capillaries are often triggered by the very things with which we intend to beautify ourselves, like dieting, facial scrubs, saunas, and water-based moisturizers that freeze on the face during cold weather.
Sun, cigarettes, and alcohol might also be to blame.
Ten Things to Do to Prevent Broken Capillaries
- Avoid all cosmetic treatments that involve applying pressure to the face. Mechanical exfoliation using scrubs and facial massage brushes etc. is one of the most common causes of broken capillaries. Instead, use a chemical method—e.g., with fruit acids. Clay and "peel-off" facial masks may also trigger the condition.
- Be gentle when cleansing your face; never rub or pull.
- Wash your face with lukewarm water rather than hot or cold.
- Avoid saunas, steamy baths and hot showers.
- Protect your face in cold weather with a fatty, oil-based cream.
- Wear sun blocker, sunglasses and a brimmed hat in summer.
- Avoid heavy eye glasses, which, through pressure of weight, can cause broken capillaries of the nose.
- Make sure your diet is balanced, paying special attention to vitamin C intake—consult a medical practitioner if in doubt.
- Refrain from smoking.
- Keep alcohol consumption to a minimum. Red wine in particular is renowned for causing broken capillaries.
Why Prevention Is Better Than a Cure
Sadly, once broken capillaries appear, there’s often no way of getting rid of them. Even IPL (intense pulsed light) and laser treatments don’t help in severe cases. But there are creams and serums to prevent them getting worse, as well as makeup to cover them up.
How to Cover Broken Capillaries With Makeup
The easiest and quickest way of reducing the appearance of broken capillaries is with foundation and concealer.
Dense cream and compact foundations provide adequate cover if the capillaries are not too prominent.
If broken capillaries shimmer through your foundation, you need to apply concealer. It should be opaque enough to offer maximal cover, yet light enough not to look caked when applied over large areas or on mature skin. Creamy and liquid concealer products usually fulfill these criteria.
Using your ring finger and/or a brush, gently pat and blend the concealer into the affected area. For larger areas, you may find it easier to blend with a wedge-shaped foundation sponge.
Choose a shade that matches your foundation exactly, which should be applied beneath your concealer.
If broken capillaries are widespread and causing your complexion to appear ruddy, you need a green color corrector, sometimes referred to as "green concealer."
But because shades differ from brand to brand, finding the right product is often difficult. Light green works for some, while others benefit from a darker color. And if your ruddiness seems more purple than red, you most likely need a yellowish green. Collect product samples from beauty counters to test which works best for you.
Apply as little product as possible, and only on affected areas. If it shimmers through your foundation, you've used too much. Color corrector is the only type of concealer that should be applied beneath foundation.
Creams and serums to treat broken capillaries, which are sometimes labeled "anti-couperose," contain secondary plant substances extracted from crowfoot and celandine. These stimulate circulation to keep capillary walls elastic and flexible.
Although such creams don't serve as a cure, they are an excellent preventative measure. Start using one at the first sign of broken capillaries, or if there's a family history of the condition.
Broken capillaries are most prominent on skin that is pale, thin and dry. Dermatologists prescribe moisturizing creams containing retinyl—the alcohol form of vitamin A. This stimulates cell renewal, which causes skin to thicken and lose its transparency. As a result, broken capillaries become less visible.
Myofascial Release: A Deep Tissue Massage
Athough you should avoid applying pressure to the face if you're prone to broken capillaries, myofascial release is an exception.
Begin with this deep tissue massage at the first sign of broken capillaries.
Like the plant-based creams and serums mentioned above, myofascial release stimulates circulation to keep capillary walls elastic, making it a good preventative measure. But, unlike creams and serums, it can get rid of broken capillaries completely as long as they’re not too prominent.
How to Self Myofascial Release
Most cosmeticians should be able to administer facial myofascial release, but it’s just as effective if you do it yourself at home. This is how it's done:
- Lubricate your face with plenty of moisturizer. Use night cream if you carry out the massage before bed.
- Spread your fingertips (excluding your thumbs) at either side of your nostrils and massage in a circular motion to the count of five. Apply minimal but firm pressure—your skin should appear white when you lift your fingers.
- Now move your fingers up a fraction and massage again. By the time you reach the bridge of the nose and the area beneath the eyes, you should only be using two or three fingers.
That’s all there is to it. Do the massage four times a week for about ten minutes.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2010 Jayne Lancer