Facial spider veins, like spider veins on the legs, are small (less than one millimeter) blood vessels that are located in the top layer of the skin. Thy are sometimes referred to as broken capillaries, although they are not broken in the traditional sense, but instead are slightly larger than a true capillary.
Facial spider veins are most commonly found in people with excessive sun exposure, rosacea, and with topical steroid use. They can occur spontaneously or in pregnancy, with oral contraceptive use, or in liver disease. If you have a family member who has facial spider veins, it is more likely you will also have or develop this condition. Unlike spider veins located on the leg, increased venous pressure from venous reflux does not cause this problem.
There are several different ways to treat facial spider veins. It is possible to inject the veins with a sclerosant, although that is not commonly done. Far and away the best approach is to use a surface laser to desiccate the small vessels. We use a KTP laser with a wavelength of 532 nanometers, which specifically heats the blood vessels and not the skin. Spider veins can be treated with other types of lasers and with high intensity pulsed light. However, we feel that for facial spider veins the KTP laser gives the best results.