Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center - Health Library


Pronounced: teh-LAN-jee-ek-TAY-zhuh


Telangiectasias are small, visible blood vessels just below the surface of the skin. They may appear as a single vessel or as many vessels in clusters. They may also be seen in the mouth or whites of the eyes. The may also be in other locations, such as the brain and the back of the eyes.

Causes  ^

Telangiectasias are caused by small blood vessels that are stuck in a permanent, wide open position. In people without any underlying conditions, such as rosacea, there may be no clear cause.

Risk Factors  ^

Telangiectasia are more common in women and in people aged 40 years and older. There may also be an increased chance of telangiectasias in those with a family history.

Symptoms  ^

Telangiectasias are mainly a cosmetic problem. They are visible blood vessels that make red lines under the skin. They may appear in a lacy pattern. They can appear anywhere on the body, but are most common on the face, nose, and legs. In most cases they are painless. There are some who may experience a burning sensation or bleeding.

Diagnosis  ^

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

Depending on the cause of the lesion, your doctor may take a skin biopsy of the area. You may be referred to a skin specialist.

Punch Biopsy

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Treatment  ^

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Often, treatment is not needed for the telangiectasias itself. Treatment depends on what is causing the telangiectasias.

Make-up can be used to cover the red patches. Depending on the type and location of telangiectasia, laser therapy or chemicals may be used to destroy the vessels.

Prevention  ^

There are no current guidelines to prevent telangiectasias.


American Academy of Dermatology

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians


Canadian Dermatology Association

The College of Family Physicians of Canada


Generalised essential telangiectasia. DermNet NZ website. Available at: Updated May 16, 2016. Accessed May 16, 2016.

Idiopathic telangiectasias. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: Updated May 2014. Accessed May 16, 2016.

Spider telangiectasias in children. Boston Children's Hospital website. Available at: Accessed May 16, 2016.

Last reviewed May 2016 by Michael Woods, MD  Last Updated: 5/16/2016