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How Do You Treat Broken Capillaries on the Face?

If you’ve ever noticed spidery, red lines on your face, here’s what you can do about them.
January 20, 2023

If you’ve ever noticed little red, starburst-shaped veins across your face, then you are dealing with broken capillaries, also known as spider veins. Broken capillaries on the face are often accompanied by skin concerns like redness, dehydration, rosacea and over-exfoliation. While they’re every bit annoying, they're actually more common than you think and all skin types deal with them. 

The good news is that there are ways to address broken capillaries with your skin care and makeup routines. Below, we’re sharing what you should know about broken capillaries, including what broken capillaries look like, plus how to reduce their appearance and how to prevent broken capillaries in the first place.

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What Are Broken Capillaries?

These red marks on your face are blood vessels that can be seen near the surface of your skin. Also known as facial telangiectasias (say that three times fast), broken capillaries are a superficial skin concern that can appear as linear red, blue or purple marks, according to the World Journal of Plastic Surgery. They tend to occur most in areas where the skin is thinner like the nose, under-eyes and cheeks.

What Do Broken Capillaries Look Like? 

Broken capillaries resemble spidery red veins that protrude out in every direction, taking on a starburst shape. If you think you have broken capillaries appearing on your face, the best thing to do is consult with a board-certified dermatologist for options to address them. That said, because broken blood vessels are typically superficial, it’s often not medically necessary to get rid of them.

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4 Causes of Broken Capillaries

Broken capillaries can be caused by a number of different factors. Here are four of the most common.


Exfoliation is good — too much is not. If you’re using harsh manual scrubs and abrasive skin care brushes to exfoliate, this can cause broken capillaries because you’re inducing trauma to the skin barrier, which leads to inflammation and popped blood vessels.

Excessive Alcohol

Alcohol temporarily dilates blood vessels which is why it can lead to broken capillaries and temporary redness. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), states that excessive alcohol consumption (eight drinks per week) can lead to visible blood vessels.


According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), rosacea is a skin condition that causes redness to slowly spread beyond the nose and cheeks to the forehead and chin. Rosacea can be triggered by heat, alcohol, stress and sunlight and it manifests as skin sensitivity, rashes, redness, inflammation and as you probably guessed, broken capillaries.

Sun Damage 

This comes as no surprise because sun damage never leads to anything good, which is why wearing SPF daily is so important. With increased sun exposure the blood vessels can become damaged, causing them to dilate which leads to the appearance of broken capillaries or spider veins.

Treatment Options for Broken Capillaries

Depending on what course of action you determine with your doctor, here are some helpful ways to temporarily camouflage broken capillaries on your face. 

Laser Treatments

After consulting with your dermatologist, laser treatments may be a viable option for eliminating 

your facial spider veins. Keep in mind that these treatments will require multiple sessions and yearly maintenance to keep the broken capillaries away for good.


Blood vessels dilate when they become inflamed. To avoid that, add anti-inflammatory ingredients, like ceramides, to your skin care routine. Ceramides are lipids (fatty acids) that help the skin retain moisture, according to the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology.

How to Cover Up/Hide the Appearance of Broken Capillaries

If you’re looking for a temporary fix, you can use makeup to help hide the appearance of broken capillaries. The secret is taking the proper color-correcting measures and using full-coverage products. 

1. Color-Correct

Start with a green color-correcting primer, like the L’Oréal Paris Prime Lab Up to 24H Redness Eraser, to cancel out redness while extending your makeup for up to 24 hours. 

2. Conceal

After color-correcting, apply full-coverage concealer, like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Full Wear Concealer up to 24H Full Coverage. Dot it on your spider veins and use a clean makeup brush to lightly buff the concealer into your skin.

3. Apply Foundation

After you’ve applied your concealer, finish your complexion with foundation, like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible 24 Hour Fresh Wear Foundation. We like this one because it has buildable coverage and a natural finish that lasts up to 24 hours. For extra staying power, set your makeup with the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Spray and Set Make-Up Oil-Free Setting Spray.

How to Prevent Broken Capillaries 

Taking measures to prevent broken capillaries helps you avoid the need to treat them — and it’s easier than you may think. Here are five tips to keep in mind. 

1. Wear SPF Daily

Sunscreen is good for a myriad of reasons but in this case, it protects against sun-induced inflammation that can lead to broken capillaries. The L’Oréal Paris RevitaLift Derm Intensives Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Invisible UV Fluid is a lightweight, chemical sunscreen that is formulated with UVA and UVB filters to provide broad spectrum protection from sun rays that cause aging and burning. Plus, its invisible finish doesn’t leave a white cast on any skin tone.

2. Avoid Harsh Facial Treatments and Picking at Your Face

Skin trauma, whether it be through misuse of skin care tools, facial scrubs or popping pimples, can lead to broken capillaries. If you need another reason to avoid picking your face besides dreaded acne scars, let broken capillaries suffice. 

3. Choose Chemical Exfoliation Over Scrubbing Brushes and Treatments

Harsh facial cleansing brushes and scrubs can disrupt the skin barrier, leading to broken capillaries, especially for those who have sensitive skin or skin issues like rosacea. That being said, routine exfoliation is a necessity for all skin types so we don’t recommend you skip it. In place of your gritty scrub, opt for a chemical exfoliating treatment, like the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 5% Glycolic Acid Peeling Toner

Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid, (AHA) that aids in shedding the top layer of dead skin cells for a brighter, smoother complexion. With a 5 percent glycolic acid formulation, this toner is suitable for daily use and reveals brighter skin with continued use over time.  

4. Hydrate Your Skin

Dry, dehydrated skin is more susceptible to irritation which means it’s also more susceptible to broken capillaries. In addition to your daily moisturizer, add a hyaluronic acid serum, like the L’Oréal Paris RevitaLift Derm Intensives 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum to your routine. The formula offers intense moisture that leaves the skin fully hydrated with a dewy glow. In one week, skin is visibly plump and over time, fine lines and wrinkles are reduced.

5. Avoid Hot Environments

Heat can cause your blood vessels to dilate while triggering facial redness. Because of this, hot water is not good for your skin. Whether it be in the shower or as you’re washing your face, turn the temperature down to lukewarm. 

The same can be said for hot weather and intense workouts. If these are part of your daily routine, keep a cool compress on hand to keep your complexion from getting too flushed when you’re outside of exercising. If you have a skin care fridge, storing your products in a chilled environment can help cool the skin, soothing the redness and inflammation that leads to broken capillaries.

Next: 6 Signs of Dull Skin and How to Brighten It

Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn, Art Director: Hannah Packer, Creative Producer: Becca Solovay, Digital Tech: Erik Dalzen, Photo Assistant: Sam Kang, Makeup Artist: Jonet Williamson, Hair Stylist: Mirna Jose, Hair Assistant: Keila Rivera, Wardrobe Stylist: Alexis Badiyi, Wardrobe Assistant: Jazmine Alzado, Model: Omega

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