........A Chicago area beauty blogger's foray into day-spas, med-spas, and countless beauty counters........

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Broken Capillaries And Vbeam Pulsed Dye Laser

You'll read online all kinds of "natural" ways to cure broken capillaries on the face: drink chamomile tea, apply gel with vitamin K in it (which does sometimes help with bruising). I'm going to tell you straight out from observation and experience, that I have never seen any of this work.

I'm not talking about your face getting red for a little while from irritation or from eating spicy foods or being in the heat, I'm talking about actual little broken capillaries that look like tiny red or pink threads that are usually found around the nose and other places on the face. These aren't going to be fixed by drinking (or applying) chamomile or vitamin K because they are just what they say they are: broken. In other words, the walls of the capillary have tears in them and blood has leaked out leaving little red lines like these.-------------->

How do you get them? Genetics always play a part, extreme temperature changes, sun damage, trauma (squeezing/pressure)....there are a number of causes, and even with treatment, sometimes they come back in a couple of years. Maintenance is a part of life, I guess. They're harmless, just sometimes unsightly.

So how do you get rid of them? You're going to have to see a pro for this one, and nope, insurance won't cover it because although unsightly, unlike varicose veins, broken capillaries aren't considered a health risk. I've seen prices anywhere from $150-$400 per treatment in the Chicago area, and although usually 1 treatment gets the desired results, sometimes a couple more are required 4-6 weeks apart. Some places offer a free consultation and others charge for a consultation (generally $50-$100) but if you have treatment the same day that fee it put toward the price of the treatment. Ask around to find out about consultation fees.

Most medspas and dermatology/plastic surgery offices I've talked to use a pulsed dye laser such as the Vbeam laser to treat broken capillaries in the face.  The Vbeam laser is the mac-daddy (yeah, that's right, I said it!) of lasers for the skin and can be used to treat a number of conditions--hemangiomas, acne, rosacea, port wine stains...and the list goes on. But here we're talking about broken capillaries in the face. Wherever you go, ask what type of laser they're using, and do a little research online.

The difference between the Vbeam laser and lasers that were being used to treat this condition 8-10 years ago is that the Vbeam works to cool the outer layer of skin while it targets the vessels beneath. This means in most cases you won't experience blistering or pitting of the skin like people sometimes did years ago. There may be some redness and minimal swelling for some people, but it usually goes away later that day or less often in a day or two.

The Vbeam is best used on lighter skin types I-IV. Darker skin types V & VI aren't usually treated with this laser or they risk burns and pigmentation problems.

Does it hurt? Imagine a rubber band snapping your skin. That's what you feel when pretty much any laser hits the skin---a flash of light and then a snap coming out of a little handpiece. It's not relaxing or without sensation, but most people don't considerate it painful either. Most doctors tell patients that acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be taken 30-60 minutes before the treatment to lessen the snapping sensation, but make sure to ask.

When going in for a treatment, skin is cleansed of all makeup and lotions, goggles are put on the patient and the person doing the treatment to protect their eyes from the laser light, and then the laser's handpiece is used to administer treatment and target the red areas. It can take just a few minutes for a handful of small vessels or up to 30 minutes for several all over the face. Afterward, makeup can be reapplied if desired, but most doctors recommend that retinols or any other possible skin irritants are not used for 2 days after.

Most people do not have any side effects from treatment with the pulsed dye laser, but personally I wouldn't do any treatment such as laser, peels, injections, etc that I'd never done before right before a big event. If you're getting married next weekend or a reunion in a few days, maybe you want to pass on trying anything new just in case you're one of the few people who do have a mild reaction. Keep your face pretty for those lifelong photos and do these things a month or so before! :)

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