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Broken Capillaries – Symptoms and Causes

Broken Capillaries is a condition when the tiny blood vessels are becoming visible near the surface of the skin and usually they appear as blotches or streaks. Their shape is associated with spider – web shape so they are usually known as spider veins. This condition can be easily seen because broken capillaries are usually appearing on the skin surface and they are blue or red colored. These are delicate and tiny veins which are located under the skin. Their role is to have normal blood circulation in the face. When the walls of capillaries are suddenly widened and narrow, then they are breaking. There are some cases when these capillaries are not repaired and they cannot go back in their natural place or thickness so in many cases they should be treated with medications. Broken capillaries or spider veins can be found on many places on a face and body such as neck, nose, mouth, cheeks, legs and upper chest. There are two types of broken capillaries. The first type of broken capillaries is the most common type of broken capillaries which appears in many cases. They are bruises which are having form of swelling which is colored purple. When people are having some kind of traumas, then they are having increased chances to get broken capillaries [1]. These kinds of broken capillaries are usually disappearing in a period of couple of weeks. broken capillariesThey do not need to be treated with some kind of medications. The second type of broken capillaries is blood spot which is appearing beneath skin surface and it looks like spreading of cells which are colored red. There are many factors which are reason for this type of broken capillaries such as malnutrition, problems and diseases which are traumatizing the immune system. People who are having fair skin are having increased chances to get broken capillaries compared with people who have olive or dark skin. Also people who have sensitive skin or who have dehydrated and dry skin are having less and thinner layers which are protecting their tissues, so they are having increased chances to get broken capillaries. [2]

Broken Capillaries – Causes

 Here are the causes for this disorder:

  • Trauma: When people are having some kinds of traumas or when they have some kinds of injuries, then they are risking their skin because their capillaries can be ruptured. Skin surgery, intense cosmetic or wounds can be a reason for broken capillaries. Also when people are giving an effort to put their glasses on their faces, then in some cases this pressure can be a reason for broken capillary. [1]
  • Old age: When people are getting older, then elastin and collagen are becoming weaker because they are not replaces so quickly. This factor in a combination with other factors are reason why skin is becoming thinner and people are increasing their chances for getting broken capillary. When this is happening, our skin is becoming less flexible. It is a very easy to be bruised easily. People from old ages are having more chances to get broken capillaries. When they are old, blood spots on their faces can be easily indentified. [3]
  • Genetics: Genes are also having one of the biggest roles for this disorder. When your grandparents are having broken capillary on their faces or on their arms and legs, then you are having bigger chances to get broken capillaries. It is not proven that if your grandparents are having broken capillaries, you will also have this disorder. But your chances to get broken capillaries are increased with this factor. [4]
  • Hormones: When people are having some changes in their hormones, then they are having the biggest chances to get spider veins or broken capillary. This disorder is more common in women compared with men. They often have broken capillaries on their faces and arms. Pregnancy, puberty and menopause are examples when women are having changes in their hormones.
  • Environment: Extremely cold conditions, windburns or sunburns can easily get you to broken capillary. Sun is one of the biggest causes for this disorder. If you are going out in the sun, then you must use sunscreen because it will protect you from the sun effects. Also when you are moving from one to other temperature in short period, then your chances to get broken capillaries are increased. [5]


[1] Xu Y, Xu W, Wang A, et al. Diagnosis and treatment of traumatic vascular injury of limbs in military and emergency medicine: A systematic review. Medicine (Baltimore). 2019;98(18):e15406.

[2] The Derm Review. Everything you need to know about broken capillaries. 2018. Retrieved from

[3] Umea University. Brain takes a beating as arteries age. Science Daily. 2019.

[4] Rockefeller University. Study reveals first evidence inherited genetics can drive cancer’s spread. Science Daily. 2020.

[5] Rittie L, Fisher GJ. Natural and sun-induced aging of human skin. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine. 2015;5(1):a015370.

Hanan Marshal
Hanan Marshal
Hanan, a medical student (MBBS) having passion for writing and is very much interested in holistic living along with nature. He is very much interested in doing community service and watches anime and play PS4 during his free time. You can reach him through [email protected]



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