Telangiectasia (spider veins)

As well as facial redness and flushing, one of the other noticeable symptoms of rosacea are spider veins, medically known as telangiectasia. Spider veins are tiny red lines that can appear for a number of reasons, but in rosacea they usually appear as the condition progresses. Spider veins are as a result of enlarged small blood vessels developing towards the surface of the skin. They are called spider veins because they spread out (mainly across the nose and cheeks in rosacea) like a spider’s web. However, having spider veins does not necessarily mean you have rosacea and your doctor should be able to determine whether you have spider veins as a result of having rosacea or perhaps due to something else.

There are ways in which spider veins can be treated.  One option is to use a specially formulated camouflage make up to cover the veins. There are a number of brands designed for full coverage so it’s worth trying to obtain samples to try, both from the point of choosing the right colour for your skin tone and to determine which feels best on your skin.

You may also want to consider having laser or light-based treatment to destroy the blood vessels. This is not usually offered via the NHS but a treatment that is widely available privately. During treatment you will be required to wear special glasses to protect your eyes from the damaging rays of the laser. The treatment itself can be carried out without any localised anaesthetic. You may feel a mild stinging sensation during the treatment, a bit like an electric shock, and there is likely to be some swelling and redness followed by light scabbing which usually goes within a week.  Laser / light treatment for spider veins usually delivers positive results.

If you wish to consider laser or light treatment, you are advised to speak to your doctor who may be able to refer you to a dermatologist, or other healthcare professional or provide you with guidelines about how to choose a clinic.

You can talk with others who are also living with rosacea in our talkrosacea patient discussion forum.

Sources used in writing this article are available on request

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Information written by the talkhealth team

Last revised: 17 January 2017

Next review: 17 January 2020