Broken capillaries are tiny, dilated blood vessels, which are visible on the surface of the skin and are usually red or purple in appearance. The term is most often used when referring to small broken veins on the face, specifically around the nose and on the cheeks. They are often referred to as spider veins.
Broken capillaries can appear for no reason at all, although there are certain factors that are linked to them. Genetics are thought to play a part as well as hormonal changes in the body, such as during pregnancy, and the ageing process. Alcohol is also attributed with the formation of broken capillaries, particularly on the cheeks or around the nose, known as "drinkers nose". Other factors include trauma to the skin, sun burn and medical conditions like rosacea.
Broken capillaries are most commonly found on the face, particularly on the cheeks and nose.
Anyone can get broken capillaries but their incidence increases with age. People who consume a lot of alcohol are also more susceptible.