Visible facial veins, which have many different names… spider veins, telangiectasias, spider angiomas, benign vascular lesions, are actually dilated blood vessels. They are usually found on the forehead, nose, cheeks, eyelids, neck, and upper chest. Visible veins are most commonly seen in fair-skinned people and usually appear in the fourth or fifth decade of life but can appear at any age. Blood vessel dilation is due to weakening of the elastic fibers in the walls of the blood vessel. Although the exact mechanisms leading to blood vessel dilation are not completely understood, visible veins are associated with excessive sun exposure, normal aging, steroid use, liver disease, genetics, radiation therapy, and trauma. On the face, visible veins can range in size from the tip of a pencil to bigger than a pencil eraser. Visible veins may be even larger on sites other than the face.
Visible veins are often considered to be a cosmetic issue. However, they can be found in people with rosacea (a progressive skin disorder that is accompanied by excessive redness), liver disease, and more rarely, an autoimmune disease. Hormonal changes can be associated with visible veins as well. Your physician can help to determine the cause of your visible veins.