Broken Facial Capillaries

Capillaries are small blood vessels found throughout the body that connect arteries and veins. When these capillaries break, they can cause small, discolored blemishes beneath the surface of the skin. Broken capillaries that occur on the face, specifically the cheeks and nose, are usually the most noticeable since the eye is naturally drawn to those areas during regular conversation and interaction with others.


Broken capillaries are caused when the walls of the vessel are torn from rapid widening and contracting.  The primary causes of this condition are sun damage, hormonal changes, pregnancy and inflammation which causes the skin to thin and lose collagen.  Collagen is a protein found in the body that boosts skin elasticity. When there is less collagen in the body, the vessels become more vulnerable to rupture, and therefore more likely to suffer broken capillaries.


While broken capillaries are harmless and generally cause no pain to the patient, many people will turn to treatment to help remove obvious discoloration and restore the natural appearance of their face. There are two ways that broken facial capillaries can be treated.

IPL Photorejuvenation

This method of treatment uses intense pulsed light (IPL) to lighten and remove the discoloration caused by broken capillaries. The treatment usually takes place over a period of three to five months, with a session occurring at each monthly interval.

Long Pulsed Nd:YAG Laser

This method of treatment utilizes a solid-state laser to produce a near-infrared wavelength to penetrate the skin. The energy is absorbed by hemoglobin and melanin chromophores in the face, which allows for the treatment of deeper vascular lesions.  

Combination Therapy

We recommend our patients to use products containing Vitamin C to strengthen the capillaries and our OceanQ Recovery Mask which contains kelp (Laminaria ochroleuca) extracts to calm and soothe the skin.  Of course, as always a quality sunscreen with minimum of SFP 30.



During this time, patients who undergo IPL photorejuvenation or a long pulsed Nd:YAG laser treatment will only experience mild discomfort. Patients can expect some mild swelling, redness, or irritation near the treated area after the procedure has been completed.


After the treatment, patients can expect to see the colorization throughout the face begin to normalize. It is important to note that the underlying cause of the broken capillaries, such as sun damage or reduced collagen, will continue to occur; as a result, it is highly recommended that steps are taken to avoid any preventable skin damage (e.g., sunscreen, umbrellas, a personalized skin health protocol etc.).


There are virtually no significant risks when dealing with IPL photorejuvenation or a long pulsed Nd:YAG laser treatment. Patients may experience mild irritation or swelling, and other possible risks and side effects will be discussed during your initial visit.

For more information about how to treat broken capillaries, or to schedule your personal consultation with Dr. Sung, please call 212-452-2800.