Are spider veins dangerous?

Spider veins (also known as capillaries or telangiectasia on the face are a common concern. In themselves they aren't dangerous although in some cases they can be a sign of an underlying medical or skin condition.

Spider veins, also known as telangiectasia or broken capillaries, are small blood vessels that are visible near the surface of the skin. They are typically red, blue, or purple and can resemble a spider's web or tree branches. They most commonly appear on the face, particularly on the cheeks and around the nose.While spider veins are often considered a cosmetic issue, they can sometimes be a symptom of an underlying medical condition.

  • Spider veins can be a sign of sun-damaged skin following long term ultraviolet exposure. While the spider veins themselves aren't dangerous, they can be a visible reminder that skin cancers can occur on sun-damaged skin.
  • Spider veins are also on of the most common signs of rosacea, a skin condition causing inflammation of the facial skin with flushing, sensitive skin that is often dry or oily, dry eyes and a rash that may resemble the facial "butterfly" rash of lupus.
  • In some cases, spider veins can be a sign of venous insufficiency or deep vein thrombosis, which are potentially serious conditions of the circulatory system.

Treatment of spider veins is usually done for cosmetic purposes; most patients wish to get rid of veins on the face - but the best rosacea treatments will address flushing and inflammation of the skin also. Spider veins can be treated effectively with laser, intense pulsed light (IPL) or diathermy (low intensity electric current).

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