Broken capillaries.  Such a fun topic, as anyone who has them will tell you.  Of course I am being facetious.  The term “broken capillaries” is actually not correct, as they are not actually broken.  The capillary walls are enlarged, or dilated, to the point that they become visible on the skin.  And once they show up, they are like annoying houseguests who will never leave.

Broken capillaries have many different causes.  Some people are genetically predisposed to them, others get them as a result of hormonal changes due to pregnancy, menopause, or just aging in general.  Sometimes, too much friction or activity on the skin will bring them out.  This could be due to over-exfoliation, blowing your nose too roughly during allergy or cold season, or obsessively squeezing blackheads or other blemishes (you know you do it, so STOP it.).

There are some causes that have to do with this time of year as well.  Exposure to drastic changes in temperature (going from your nice cozy fireplace-warmed living room outside into freezing temperatures), over-exposure to heat in general (those piping hot showers I told you not to take), smoking, and inflammation in general, which we are more susceptible to during winter weather (this is, of course, assuming you do not live in a warm climate all year round).

But a very big cause of broken capillaries has to do with all the par-taying we like to do around the holidays…office parties, holiday happy hours, times where we are plunged into the whirlwind of forced merriment and we just. need. to. get. through. it…and once we are through it we go out and celebrate for New Years.  I am, of course talking about excessive alcohol consumption. Huge cause of broken capillaries.  Now I am not going to sit here and tell you not to enjoy yourself this season by having a drink or three…but before you do, just consider that overdoing it won’t just give you a hangover.  It could give you these little red lines all over your face that you will have to wear make-up everyday to cover up.  Unless you’re a guy (who isn’t into makeup), then you’ll just have to look at them everytime you look at yourself in the mirror, and think that MAYBE you could have prevented them.

Existing broken capillaries can be treated by certain lasers, electric needles, and intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy.  However, these treatments are expensive, have to be done several times, and they cannot treat or prevent the new broken capillaries that will form if you do not take the proper precautions to prevent them.

Oh, and those great anti-aging spa treatments that we all love like microdermabrasion and chemical peels?  Sorry.  They will make the problem worse.

So before you get ready to get your holiday spirits on this season, stop and use your noodle and maybe set some limits for yourself.

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