What are the causes of thread veins on the face?

Updated November 21, 2016

Thread veins are often found on individuals who have used steroid creams on their faces for an extended period of time as well as those who have spent their lives working outdoors, according to Dr. Chris Steele of The most common cause of facial thread veins is rosacea, which strikes middle-aged people, including one out of 10 women. When a person has rosacea, the blood vessels that are affected become enlarged, permanently, and can appear on the cheeks and the nose. Sometimes there are small acne type spots in addition to the thread veins.

The System

These veins are part of the complex vascular system in our body that consists of veins, capillaries and arteries. Veins carry blood back to the heart, while capillaries are tiny blood vessels that hook the smaller arteries to the small veins. Arteries transport blood from the heart. The walls of capillaries aren't thick and, as a result, are fragile. Capillaries are only big enough to accommodate red blood cells travelling in single file. The capillary walls do not contain collagen or muscle fibre, which contributes to the weakness and fragility of the walls. Thread veins are visible and can be an embarrassment, particularly if they are on the face. Thread veins are commonly found on the legs and quite often pop up on the feet or around the ankles. Some individuals even have them on their abdomen or chest. Where the thread veins appear depends on their vascular cause.


When rosacea occurs, the face becomes red and blood vessels become distended. This condition can be made worse if the individual eats hot food, which includes spicy foods and, literally, hot food, temperature wise. Caffeine drinks can exacerbate rosacea as can wind, sunlight, temperature change from cold to warm and alcohol, particularly spirits and red wine.

Not Life Threatening

According to Dr. Joanna Lee, a general practitioner, thread veins are veins that have become dilated. This may be an inherited condition. Even though they may be unpleasant to look at, thread veins do not impede the functioning of the venous system. If an individual gets thread veins or spider veins on her legs, this may be the result of the pressure and weight of pregnancy or in connection to varicose veins. The reason that spider veins develop isn't completely understood by the medical community, although they may be the result of injury or female hormones, although men get them, too.


According to, ageing, which causes our skin to thin and become more transparent, also contributes to the problem because the veins become more noticeable. Facial thread veins can be removed through intense pulsed light or lasers. The pulsed light device or the laser destroys the abnormal veins, which will then disappear. Results are immediate. After the treatment, your face may feel as though you have a sun burn. This sensation will last a few days. Swelling and bruising may occur, but this is temporary. The procedure can cost anywhere from £325 to £975. The cost will depend on how many spider veins need to be removed and the skin damage that is present.

Spidery in Appearance

Thread veins are sometimes referred to as spider veins because they radiate outward and look like the spiders' legs and are also similar in appearance to a spider's web. Thread veins are red, while larger varicose veins will be purple or blue, which indicates slow blood flow in that particular area of the body.


Those apt to get facial thread veins are people of Celtic origin, those who blush easily and those who are fair skinned.

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About the Author

Cindi Pearce is a graduate of Ohio University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in journalism. She completed both the undergraduate and graduate courses offered by the Institute of Children’s Literature. Pearce has been writing professionally for over 30 years.