Just hearing the phrase ‘spider veins’ sends an eight-legged shiver down our spines, but the condition it describes is really not as sinister as it might seem. Yep, that’s right, we’re talking about broken capillaries and – being the masterminds of skincare that we are – are here to conclude our mini-series by talking all things IPL for broken capillaries.
What are spider veins?
Let’s start here, shall we? The face has an extensive, ahem, web of veins and tiny blood vessels, collectively known as capillaries, and sometimes (actually, quite commonly!), after succumbing to certain pressures, the walls of these blood vessels will dilate, leaving them damaged and visible through the surface of the skin.
What causes spider veins?
Skin trauma catalysts are everywhere, be it intense scrubbing, spot-popping, sneezing (yes – really!), sun damage (the usual suspect – read more about that here and here) or the result of extreme climates. Aging, genetics, hormonal changes (such as pregnancy), environmental and lifestyle factors (excessive alcohol drinking, we’re looking at you) can also be a factor, as can other associated skin conditions, such as acne or rosacea. Crucially, it’s the result of a double-edged sword: Broken capillaries andweakened skin, which allows the spider veins to creepy-crawly their way through.
Where are they most likely to appear?
If broken capillaries are going to be anywhere, they’ll probably be around your nose, cheeks, mouth and chin. Basically – and annoyingly – your face.
IPL for broken capillaries
Fortunately – and as ever – there is a non-invasive, breakthrough treatment out there that works wonders, and that’s IPL. Having made significant progress in reducing broken capillaries over the last few years, it’s also one of the safest methods out there, too.
Using multiple wavelengths of intense pulsed light with pinpoint accuracy which you will, of course, know all about by now (but click here for a quick refresher!), the protein in the red blood cell (haemoglobin) absorbs the light, before being destroyed by the subsequent heat energy which is produced. In simpler terms, IPL minimises the redness caused by the capillaries – quickly and easily. The great thing about it is that it does all this without damaging the surrounding healthy skin and blood vessels – in fact, a side-benefit is that it also boosts collagen production, meaning you’re left spider-vein free andwith a youthful, glowing complexion – hooray!
What else do I need to know?
The treatment is quick, relatively pain-free (patients describe a sensation of a rubber band lightly popping against the skin) and requires no downtime (other than some spots which can take up to 10 days to clear up) – pretty neat for a skin condition that sounds so scary, hey? You may experience slight bruising, redness and swelling afterwards, with minor scabbing or blistering appearing in rare cases if certain capillaries are located near the epidermis (surface) layer of the skin, but some walk away with nothing more than some short-term pinkness. This is why a patch test is always advisable beforehand.
Up to four consecutive treatments are usually recommended for broken capillary reduction to ensure progressive results. Be aware that you won’t start seeing results until two to four weeks after the first treatment, as it can take the body’s lymphatic system that long to remove the dead material. As a general rule, the smaller the capillaries, the quicker they are to clear up. If you’re wondering how to prevent spider veins, you will need to keep up with maintenance treatments as they have a pesky habit of popping up again – especially if you tempt them by continuing certain lifestyle factors that caused their arrival in the first place!
One more thing: IPL for broken capillary removal may not be the most successful on darker skin, because the light will have trouble pinpointing the spider veins in question. You should also steer clear if you’re on certain acne medication. You can speak to one of our qualified therapists if you’re unsure whether you’re a good candidate and they can direct you to another treatment which will be right for you if IPL isn’t an option!
Non-invasive, safe, affordable and effective: It’s time to remove spider veins once and for all and say hello to healthy, rejuvenated skin.
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