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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.
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.
Telangiectasias are caused by small 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
- Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia
- Injury from surgery or radiation
- Too much estrogen—can be caused by oral contraceptives or pregnancy
|Telangiectasia may be related to rosacea.|
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Factors that increase your risk for telangiectasias are based on the underlying condition.
Telangiectasias may cause:
- 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
- They can occasionally bleed
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 and location of telangiectasia, laser therapy or chemicals may be used to destroy the vessels.
American Academy of Dermatology
FamilyDoctor.org - American Academy of Family Physicians
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. 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.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 05/2014
- Update Date: 05/22/2014