What are those small, dark blood vessels around my nose and cheeks? Telangiectasia
Fine pink, purple, blue or red lines that go white when you apply pressure could be telangiectasia. These blood vessels can appear in men or women, and while generally not a health concern, may not be cosmetically desirable.
How to say telangiectasia:
tea – lan – gee – eck – tay – sha
Telangiectasia – small, broken or widened blood vessels – are harmless, but they can itch or hurt because the can put pressure on smaller veins.
They are most visible on the face, nose, chin and cheeks, but they can be seen on the legs, chest, back, arms and legs, or even the whites of the eyes. The face can become reddened due to these veins and sometimes they can bleed. Spider telangiectasia have a central red vessel that branches outward.
Why do I have telangiectasia?
Telangiectasia occur most often in people with fair skin with long-term sun damage, but these broken blood vessels are usually of unknown origin. These blood vessels can actually appear anywhere within the body, but we can only really see them on the outside.
Things that could lead to telangiectasia
- Sun or wind exposure
- Medications used to widen blood vessels
- Pregnancy – extra pressure on blood vessels
- Long-term use of corticosteroids
- Damage to skin
- Alcohol in excess
- Being older – blood vessels weaken as we grow old
- Hormone changes – menopause or some contraceptives
Telangiectasia is not always innocent, so it’s important to be screened for other conditions before treating the telangiectasia. Interestingly, telangiectasia are associated with port-wine stains and rosacea. The most common cause of telangiectasia in healthy people is sun damage, which is not a deeper health concern, but a cosmetic blemish.
Treating telangiectasia with lasers
There are many types of laser and they all work in different ways. There are a few options available for treating blood vessel conditions, with certain lasers being some of the most useful and effective.
Lasers work by using heat to shrivel the blood vessels so they disappear, reabsorbed by the body. Sealing off the larger, widened blood vessel to redirect blood elsewhere is roughly the point. Treatments come with minimal discomfort and are reasonably quick.
Not all telangiectasia are treatable, but your dermatologist is the best judge of that.
Sclerotherapy involves injecting salt water or a chemical solution into the vein, which then hardens and disappears. It isn’t painful, and may be a useful treatment in some cases.
Recovery times are minimal after these treatments, and life can be resumed immediately as per usual. The skin should be protected from sunlight until the skin colour in the area returns to normal. Sometimes blistering, scabbing or crusting appears, which is completely normal, and a special wash or cream can be applied as per your doctor’s instructions.
How long does treatment last?
Once the vessel is treated, it doesn’t return. If your telangiectasia was caused by an underlying medical condition, you may develop new ones unless that condition is treated or managed. Laser treatment is thought to be the most effective way of completely removing telangiectasia.
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