Definition | Causes | Risk Factors | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Treatment | Prevention
Telangiectasias are small blood vessels just below the surface of the skin. The blood vessels are very visible through the skin. They may appear as a single vessel or as many vessels in clusters.
Telangiectasias are caused by blood vessels that are stuck in a wide open position. There is no clear reason for why this happens in many cases.
Some telangiectasias are due to conditions like:
- Chronic sun and/or cold exposure
- Basal cell carcinoma
- Cushing’s syndrome
- Injury from surgery or radiation
- Too much estrogen—can be caused by oral contraceptives or pregnancy
Factors that increase your risk for telangiectasias are based on the underlying condition.
This condition usually does not cause symptoms.
Signs of telangiectasias may include:
- Red patches of skin that have a lacy pattern
- Patches of red skin that turn white when pressure is applied, then red again after pressure is removed
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Depending on the cause of the lesion, your doctor may take a biopsy of the area. You may be referred to a skin specialist.
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 of telangiectasia, laser therapy may be used to destroy the vessels.
American Academy of Dermatology
American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor
Canadian Dermatology Association
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Generalised essential telangiectasia. DermNet NZ website. Available at: http://dermnetnz.org/vascular/essential-telangiectasia.html. Updated July 1, 2011. Accessed June 11, 2013.
Rosacea. DermNet NZ website. Available at: http://dermnetnz.org/acne/rosacea.html. Updated June 8, 2013. Accessed June 11, 2013.
Rosacea. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what. Updated August 22, 2011. Accessed June 11, 2013.
Spider telangiectasias. Boston Children's Hospital website. Available at: http://www.childrenshospital.org/az/Site2926/mainpageS2926P1.html. Accessed February 21, 2013.
Last reviewed June 2013 by Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.