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Definition

Telangiectasias are small blood vessels that you can see just below the surface of the skin. They may appear as a single vessel or a cluster of vessels. Telangiectasias can also appear in the mouth, eyes, and brain.

Causes

Small blood vessels become stuck in a wide open position. This makes them more visible. It is not always clear why this happens. Some may have related conditions, such as rosacea.

Risk Factors

This problem is more common in women and people who are 40 years of age and older. The risk may also be higher in people who have other family members with this problem.

Symptoms

Symptoms are red lines under the skin that:

  • May appear in a lacy pattern
  • Can appear anywhere on the body, but are most common on the face, nose, and legs
  • Are often painless
  • May have a burning feeling
  • May bleed

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.

Treatment

Treatment is not always needed. This problem rarely causes health concerns. However, some may not like how they look.

Make-up can be used to cover the red patches. The blood vessels may also be destroyed with laser therapy or chemicals. These treatments are not right for everyone.

Prevention

There are no known methods to prevent this health problem.

RESOURCES:

American Academy of Dermatology
http://www.aad.org

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
http://www.familydoctor.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Dermatology Association
http://www.dermatology.ca

The College of Family Physicians of Canada
http://www.cfpc.ca

REFERENCES:

Generalised essential telangiectasia. DermNet NZ website. Available at: https://dermnetnz.org/topics/generalised-essential-telangiectasia. Accessed August 20, 2021.

Idiopathic telangiectasias. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/cardiovascular-disorders/peripheral-venous-disorders/idiopathic-telangiectasias. Accessed August 20, 2021.

Spider telangiectasias. Boston Children's Hospital website. Available at: http://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions/spider-telangiectasias. Accessed August 20, 2021.

Last reviewed July 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board James Cornell, MD  Last Updated: 8/20/2021