Broken Blood Vessels

What Causes Broken Blood Vessels on the Face and Ways to Treat Them!

Although having broken blood vessels on the face is not a life threatening condition, it is not a pretty sight to see. The condition causes facial redness, including red patches or spots on the skin that distort the entire facial complexion. So what causes this condition?

Apart from physical injury such as an accident or excessive scrubbing, broken blood vessels on the face can be caused by several underlying medical factors. The Oregon Health & Science University Dermatology Department credits this condition to sunburns, medication, age, alcohol and chronic medical conditions such as Rosacea. These causes are explained below.

Causes of Broken Blood Vessels on the Face

1. Sunlight, Pregnancy And Childbirth

When excessively dilated due to excessive sunlight, pregnancy and childbirth, blood vessels on the face may break, causing visible red patches on the skin. This breakage is as a result of increased blood pressure in the body cavity.

2. Medication

Some medications such as birth control pills, Aspirin and estrogen therapies are known to be a cause of broken blood vessels on the face. They increase blood pressure, causing breakage of facial blood vessels and hence the redness common on the cheeks and around the eyes.

3. Age

Aging is also a cause of broken blood vessels. The red spots common on the elderly are not the color of aging skin. They are the result of broken blood vessels. As the human body gets older, it becomes fragile and prone to damage. After years of hardship and exposure to the sun, the skin gets fragile and so do the blood vessels. Because of age, the body cannot regenerate itself as well, making the capillaries of the skin weak and easily broken.

4. Rosacea

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that causes red patches to appear on the skin. It is characterized by red flushes and tiny spider-shaped blood vessels on the skin that look like acne. Rosacea can easily be mistaken for acne if proper medical tests have not been completed. While topical and oral medication can help mitigate the negative effects of rosacea, laser treatments can effectively remove the broken blood vessels, redness and flushing often associated with rosacea.

5. Alcohol

Excessive consumption of alcohol can not only be harmful for a person’s health, but also for a person’s face. Increased ethanol in the blood leads to a rise in blood pressure, causing the veins and capillaries on the face to dilate. If this happens over an extended period of time, the capillaries lose their elasticity and break, leaving red patches or spots visible on the skin.

How can you Control the Risk of Broken Blood Vessels on the Face?

Although not entirely preventable, the breaking of facial blood vessels can be minimized by a few simple steps.

Warm Water
  • Wash the face with warm water, not hot water. Hot water can damage capillaries over time.
  • Always use sun screen when out in the sun, especially on sensitive areas of the face such as the cheeks and around the eyes. A hat is also a good option to use as added protection.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. While binge drinking is okay once in a while, do not make it a habit, as it is bad for your face. A healthier lifestyle with moderated drinking habits can result in a healthier face.

How can you Treat Broken Blood Vessels on the Face?

Fortunately, there are treatments available for broken facial blood vessels. The Oregon Health & Science University Dermatology Department proposes the use of laser treatments.

The University has two lasers that are effective for the procedure: the Versapulse Vascular Laser and the V-beam Vascular Laser. These two treatments are said to eliminate any traces of redness on the skin after just two sessions. The lasers penetrate the skin and destroy the dead capillaries. The broken capillaries are then treated so as to avoid damage to the rest of the face. The dead capillaries are then naturally absorbed by the body, leaving the facial skin spotless. The best thing about these laser treatments is that there is little discomfort, and results are visible after only a few days and are long-lasting.

Although some people may experience side effects such as redness and blistering after the laser procedure, these disappear after only a few days. It is, however, advisable to have the laser treatments done by a reputable, experienced physician since the procedures are very sensitive.

What Causes Bleeding Under the Skin?


Quite a number of factors can cause bleeding under the skin. Medical website MedlinePlus lists the following factors as some of the main causes: physical injury, allergic reactions, blood infections, autoimmune disorders, birth and many more that are discussed below.

1. Injury

Injuries come about as a result of an accident or fall, causing trauma and internal bleeding. In some cases there is little or no external damage, hence the injury goes unnoticed. That is why it is advisable to take a full body scan or x-ray in the event of a fall or trauma, even if there is no external damage. When left untreated, internal bleeding can result in rotting and organ failure.

2. Allergic Reactions

Sensitivity to allergens may cause bleeding under the skin. Once an allergen comes into contact with the nose, skin or any other part of the body, it causes inflammation of tissues and blood vessels. This dilation of cells may cause them to break and bleed under the skin. If they cannot be avoided, allergies should be treated immediately, as severe reactions can lead to paralysis or death.

3. Autoimmune Disorders

Autoimmune disorders occur in very rare cases. This type of disorder happens when the immune system is confused, mistaking a healthy body tissue for an antigen (harmful substance) and destroys it. This reaction causes bleeding under the skin.

4. Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a well-known treatment therapy for cancer patients. The procedure involves the infusion of cancer killing drugs straight into the body’s systems. This medication is meant to cure, shrink or stop the progression of cancer cells in the body. Chemotherapy involves radiation. This process may kill other normal body cells, especially in the head and digestive tract, leading to hair loss, lack of appetite and excessive weight loss. The death of healthy cells can cause bleeding under the skin.

5. Anticoagulants

Medicines can also cause bleeding under the skin. These medicines include Aspirin, steroids, heparin, warfarin and antiplatelet medication hgclopidogrel. It is therefore advisable to take such medication only under prescription by a qualified physician.

6. Aging

As the body gets older, it is more prone to internal damage. This means that cells do not repair or regenerate themselves as fast as they used to. This may cause frequent cases of bleeding under the skin for the elderly. This phenomenon explains why many elderly people have black or red spots on their skin.

7. Illnesses

Illnesses affecting blood coagulation, viral infections and neural conditions such as Leukemia can cause bleeding under the skin.

How to Identify and Treat Bleeding Under the Skin

Bleeding Under the Skin
  • If you notice any negative reactions to drugs that show signs of bleeding, contact your health provider immediately.
  • If you notice traces of bleeding on your skin after a period of time, a few days, do not hesitate to seek treatment. This is especially important if you notice that the redness is spreading over time.
  • If you notice bruising on your skin that appears out of nowhere and does not seem to heal on its own, seek medical help. It is a sign of bleeding under the skin.
  • When pressure is applied on the reddened area, the redness minimizes and the area becomes pale. But when pressure is removed, it goes back to the same red coloration.
  • Protect your skin from excessive exposure to sunlight, especially for the elderly.
  • Avoid causing trauma to the skin such as pulling, bumping and scraping.
  • If you can prevent coming into contact with substances that you are allergic to, please do. Allergies can cause death if they induce bleeding under the skin.

Diagnostic Tests for Bleeding Under the Skin

If you have any of the above symptoms, contact your health provider. At the health facility, the following tests listed by MedlinePlus will be conducted to determine whether you are bleeding under the skin or not

  1. Co-agulation gulationionhttpsprothrombin time and INR
  2. Blood differential and CBC BCPERplatelet count
  3. Bone marrow biopsy


Apart from a physical bruise on the skin, any other sign of bleeding under the skin or broken blood vessels should be checked out by a physician. However, not all signs of redness are a result of bleeding under the skin. Either way, it is good to have a physician look at the affected area to be on the safe side.




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