Telangiectasias are enlarged superficial blood vessels. They can occur at any age anywhere on the body. Telangiectasias usually occur spontaneously for unknown reasons. They also may be associated with other acquired disorders, such as liver disease, lupus, scleroderma, rosacea, skin cancer. Some inherited disorders such as ataxia telangiectasia and hereditary benign telangiectasia also present with telangiectasias. Long term topical corticosteroid use may result in the formation of telangiectasias.

Telangiectasias present as blue, purple or red lines on the surface of the skin. They may also appear as a central red dot with red lines emerging radially from the central area, a so-called “spider” telangiectasia. Telangiectasias occur anywhere on the body but are most commonly observed on the face, especially around the nose.

Telangiectasias not associated with an underlying skin cancer are benign and do not need to be treated. If the telangiectasias are cosmetically disturbing, they may be treated with an electric needle, intense pulse light or lasers. Multiple treatments are sometimes needed to obtain the best results.

James WD, Berger TG, Elston DM. Andrews’ Diseases of the Skin Clinical Dermatology 10th edition. Elsevier 2006.

Anita Osmundson, D.O.
Department of Dermatology
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine/Frankford Hospital
Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia.

Stephen M. Purcell, D.O., F.A.O.C.D.
Professor and Chairman of the Department of Dermatology
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia