A telangiectasia is a dilated, thin blood vessel in the skin. These become more visible with time and are seen more commonly among people with lighter skin.
Telangiectasias become visible in sun exposed areas due to chronic sun exposure, especially in those with lighter skin types. Telangiectasias can also be visible in other skin conditions such as new scars.
Telangiectasias become visible due to chronic sun exposure and break down of the elastic tissue in the dermis which allows the superficial vessels to become dilated and visible. Telangiectasias can also occur in association with other skin conditions, such as rosacea or venous stasis. Aging skin is more likely to have telangiectasias, often due to sun damage and other age related structural changes in the skin. Some other causes for telangiectasias not related to sun exposure include: spontaneous occurrence (known as essential telangiectasia) and hormonal changes (for example in pregnancy or liver disease).
- Topically applied brimonidine (a medication that constricts blood vessels) can help reduce the appearance of telangiectasias in rosacea.
- Lasers: Lasers that target hemoglobin can serve as an effective treatment for reducing the appearance of a visible telangiectasias.
- Electrosurgery: Electrosurgery is where an electrical current is used to heat a metal tip or wire, and then touched to the skin to eliminate very small, superficial blood vessels.
- Sclerotherapy: Injectable medications, such as polidocanol, can destroy superficial blood vessels when they are injected into the vessels. Sclerotherapy is typically performed on slightly larger dilated vessels on the legs.