What are broken capillaries?

By Clare Dickens

Broken capillaries are not in fact 'broken' - they're overstretched. Here are my tips on how to prevent yours from becoming damaged, blog on MiNDFOOD.

Capillaries are very small blood vessels, no wider than a hair, with walls that are only one cell thick, making them vulnerable to damage. They represent the final stage in the journey of the blood.

Due to their minute size it is via the capillaries that nutrients pass from the blood into the tissue and in return waste products are dumped for disposal. Hence they are vital for your skin’s health.

Broken capillaries are not in fact broken, the term ‘overstretched’ is more appropriate. A healthy capillary is very elastic allowing them to dilate or enlarge when the skin is hot or as a response to spicy or hot foods and alcohol. Once this stimulus has passed they return to their original size and the flushed appearance disappears.  

With the overload of a poor diet, excessive alcohol (particularly white wine and spirits) stimulants such as coffee and strong tea, very severe climate changes and circulatory disorders they appear as thin pink/red threads very close to the surface of the skin leaving a permanently flushed appearance. Dehydrated, dry and sensitive skins often have thinner skin that provides less protection and therefore, these skin types are the most commonly effected. However visible capillaries are also hereditary, exacerbated by age and environmental conditions.

The daily protection of ‘overstretched’ capillaries is as important as a preventative treatment.

Ensure you are using the correct skincare products. Ask your beauty therapist for a full skin analysis and recommendation of at-home products and how to use them.

Be gentle: applying more pressure to scrub them away is not the answer. Consider this delicate structure every time you are tempted to squeeze a blemish. A temporary flaw is worth the anguish as opposed to a permanent imperfection. 

Look out for the essential oil of rose which is a great strengthener for the capillary walls. This should be applied in the form of a cream or oil twice daily for best results. A soothing facial massage is very beneficial to help restore the elasticity of the blood vessels.

A daily application of an SPF product is vital as sun and wind burn both aggravate this condition. This practice should be carried out during the winter months, no question.

In addition to external protection, we must consider the internal, too. Consider what you eat:n a diet rich in antioxidants/vitamin P is recommended for building strong healthy cells. These bioflavanoids can be found in green tea, walnuts, capsicums, citrus fruits, cherries and blackcurrants, just to name a few. Eat in conjunction with vitamin C-rich foods to preserve and strengthen capillary walls.

Finally, avoid harsh changes in temperature. It is tempting, in the depths of winter, when you are feeling cold to blast the car heater in your face. This puts pressure on the tiny capillaries. The same can be said of airconditioning in the summer.


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