Facial veins are tiny capillaries that have become distended to the point that they're visible. These cosmetically troubling veins can take several forms, including short, straight, red lines or darker masses with spidery legs radiating from the center. In the past, an instrument known as an electric needle was sometimes used on facial veins, but this method was uncomfortable and prone to leaving scars or discolored patches. Today, facial veins are treated with either
sclerotherapy (sklair-oh-THAIR-uh-pee) or laser. In sclerotherapy, the veins are injected with an irritating solution. This can be performed on any facial veins except those near the eyes. In laser treatment, the colored light targets the pigment in the blood vessels while generally having minimal effect on the skin. Some doctors feel that a newer laser, the green KTP (K-T-P), is best suited for removal of facial veins. Still, most patients will require two or more laser treatments or injections to achieve a significant improvement. When successful, both techniques have the same end result: the vessels are damaged and gradually fade. The blood is then re-routed to nearby healthy vessels.