What Causes Facial Veins and How Can I Get Rid of Them?

Facial veins are tiny blood vessels, called capillaries, that exist right under the surface of your skin. They appear as small red lines when that become damaged.

Facial veins, or broken capillaries, usually appear on the nose, chin, and cheeks. While facial veins typically don’t cause pain or discomfort, they may make you self-conscious.

State-of-the-art facial vein treatments can eliminate facial veins and rejuvenate your skin. Vein treatment specialist Karl Trippe, MD, of Waco Primary Care in Waco, Texas, uses cutting-edge, minimally invasive procedures to remove facial veins and restore the complections and self-confidence of his patients.

What are facial veins?

When capillaries dilate or enlarge, they bulge under the skin due to the pressure of extra blood. Because they’re so close to the surface of the skin, these changes can be more noticeable.

Facial veins are more common with age. As you get older, your veins can weaken and become more likely to dilate and stretch out when damaged by internal or external factors. They can also become more prominent as you get older because skin can thin with age, which can make dilated veins more visible.

What causes facial veins?

As mentioned, aging can lead to facial veins. Other factors can also cause facial veins, including the following:

Sun damage

Sun exposure is one of the most common causes of facial veins. Staying in the sun without sunscreen or having sunburns can enlarge and dilate your blood vessels. When your skin experiences sun damage, the top layer of skin can peel and make the blood vessels directly under the skin more visible.

Extreme pressure

Extreme pressure on your face, whether from vigorous washing, popping a pimple, sneezing, vomiting, or facial injuries, can damage delicate capillaries and make them dilate. Other external factors, such as environmental or chemical irritants, wind, or extreme temperature changes can also damage these sensitive blood vessels.

Drinking alcohol

Alcohol consumption can dilate blood vessels temporarily. Frequent drinking can dilate the blood vessels for longer periods of time and cause a flushed appearance.


If you have family members who have facial veins, you have a higher chance of getting them.

Medical conditions

Having certain medical conditions, such as rosacea, liver disease, scleroderma, and lupus, can also increase your risk of developing facial veins.

High estrogen levels

Having high levels of estrogen, which occurs during pregnancy, can also result in broken blood vessels. The extra blood volume that occurs at this time can cause extra pressure in the capillaries, which can make them susceptible to dilating.

How can facial veins be treated?

Once facial veins appear, they can’t be repaired. The only way to reduce their appearance is to remove them with professional facial vein treatment.

Waco Primary Care has two treatments that can get rid of facial veins: intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy and laser therapy. For intense pulsed light therapy, we use the Cynosure® Icon® system. Intense pulsed light therapy works much like laser therapy. However, IPL therapy delivers multiple wavelengths of energy, much like flash photography. In contrast, laser therapy delivers one very targeted wavelength of light.

Intense pulsed light therapy

Intense pulsed light therapy scatters the energy across a larger targeted area, treating a broader section of skin at one time. The light penetrates to the second layer of skin to destroy the damaged blood vessels without harming the top layer.

As the treated blood vessels are heated, they disintegrate and are naturally removed by your body. The effect is gentler than laser therapy and requires little to no downtime.

Laser therapy

If your facial veins are more severe, they may require stronger treatment with laser vein therapy. Laser vein therapy directs an intense, targeted beam of light to irritate the walls of a damaged vein, causing the veins to collapse. Once the veins collapse, your body naturally removes them.

Laser therapy delivers more dramatic results in fewer sessions than IPL treatment, though the stronger laser treatment typically requires a longer recovery time because it damages the outer layer of skin.