If you’ve noticed tiny red lines on your skin that resemble mini veins, you might actually be looking at dilated capillaries, not necessarily broken ones. “Actual broken capillaries result in bruising as blood is allowed to leak out into surrounding tissue,” board-certified dermatologist Rebecca Marcus, M.D., FAAD tells mbg.
“Dilated capillaries, on the other hand, result in tiny red blood vessels that are visible at the skin’s surface,” she says. These fine branch-like vessels are always underneath the surface but may appear more pronounced in certain areas—oftentimes around the nose and on the cheeks.
There’s a long list of potential causes for dilated and broken capillaries, some occasional and others not so much. Those with rosacea frequently have these tiny red vessels on display, but more on that in a bit.