Author: A/Prof Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand, 2014.
Telangiectasia is a condition in which there are visible small linear red blood vessels (broken capillaries). These are also called telangiectases. Visible small blood vessels that are blue in colour (spider veins) are called venulectasia, because venules are involved.
Telangiectases need to be distinguished from other vascular conditions, including blood vessel tumours such as infantile haemangiomas and angiomas that arise in adults; and capillary or venous vascular malformations.
Large red blood vessels are arteries and large blue blood vessels are veins. Arteries may be enlarged due to aneurysm formation. Veins may be enlarged due to destruction of their valvular system, and are known as varicose veins.
Note that telangiectasia may be noted as a normal feature of facial skin in some families.
Telangiectasia may follow cutaneous injury. For example:
Some tumours are characterised by telangiectasia, such as:
Certain medications may give rise to telangiectasia.
Telangiectases are generally harmless. Treatment may be sought because of bleeding or unsightly appearance. Facial red vein treatment methods include:
© 2018 DermNet New Zealand Trust.
DermNet NZ does not provide an online consultation service. If you have any concerns with your skin or its treatment, see a dermatologist for advice.