Facial veins are enlarged or broken blood vessels that appear close to the surface of the skin around the nose, cheeks, forehead and eyelids. Also referred to as telangiectasia rosacea or facial spider veins, these vessels tend to appear in middle-aged men and women and are usually harmless, painless and strictly a cosmetic concern. Occasionally, facial veins can accompany other skin conditions like rosacea and may cause an uncomfortable burning sensation. Although rare, facial veins can be an indication of a more serious underlying health condition such as venous disease, lupus or liver damage.
Causes of Facial Veins
The delicate skin on the face is exposed to the outside world with minimal protection, making it vulnerable to damage. Further, lifestyle choices, environmental factors and various activities can promote the development of facial veins, including:
Blood vessels naturally start to weaken with age; thus, it is common for men and women to develop facial veins in the 40s and 50s.
If you have family members with facial veins, you are more likely to develop them.
The sun can cause enlarged blood vessels and draw them closer to the surface of the skin, making the facial veins more visible.
The face often has very little protection from harsh wind or frigid air. These extreme weather conditions can damage the surface of the skin and cause blood vessels to burst.
Exposure to extreme heat raises the body’s temperature and causes veins to expand in order to cool the body. Blood flow increases and is pushed to the surface of the skin, creating increased pressure on veins which can lead to stretched or ruptured facial veins.
Pregnancy and menopause are points in life that are dramatically impacted by estrogen and progesterone fluctuations in the body. These hormones dilate blood vessels, making them more visible. Further, estrogen and progesterone can weaken vein walls, making veins more susceptible to enlargement or breakage.
Use of Certain Medications:
Prolonged oral or topical corticosteroid use, hormone therapy and other medications can cause blood vessel dilation and lead to facial veins.
Injuries to the face can cause damage to the delicate internal and external tissues of the face, resulting in bruising and broken blood vessels.
Using hot water to wash the face can cause enlarged blood vessels. Further, aggressive scrubbing can create broken blood vessels.
Environmental and Chemical Irritants:
Topical agents, such as lotions or serums, as well as environmental pollutants can irritate the surface of the skin and make blood vessels more evident.
Intense Sneezing or Vomiting:
These bodily functions create excessive pressure within the face and can cause blood vessels to enlarge or rupture.
Underlying Health Conditions:
Certain health issues can weaken or damage blood vessels and cause facial veins.
Drinking alcohol causes blood vessels to swell. Frequent or excessive alcohol consumption can cause permanent reddening of the face and broken blood vessels.
Facial Vein Prevention
There may be no way to fully prevent the formation of facial veins. However, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk of developing these veins:
- Always wear sunscreen
- Limit your time in the sun
- Cover your face if you are outside in windy or cold weather conditions
- Skip hot showers, spas and saunas
- Talk to your doctor about the possible side effects of all the medications you are taking
- Wear protective gear when cycling, skiing or participating in activities that may put you at risk for facial injuries
- Use lukewarm water to wash your face
- Gently wash your face and avoid vigorous scrubbing
- Read product labels and watch your skin for any reactions after applying lotions, serums, masks, etc.
- Schedule routine physicals and contact your doctor immediately if you notice a sudden onset of facial veins
- Avoid excessive alcohol use or binge drinking
If you have facial veins that are a cosmetic concern, there are several treatment options available to eliminate them. If you are concerned about the cause of your facial veins, it is a good idea to have a vein specialist evaluate the veins to ensure that an underlying medical condition does not exist. Whether your concern is cosmetic or medical, Dr. Lawrence and his experienced staff at PCI Vein Center are experts in vein care and are here to help. Located in Eastern Iowa, PCI Vein Center serves the communities in and around Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. Call us today at 319-774-8432 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Lawrence and say goodbye to those unsightly facial veins for good.