Skin Redness

Is persistent facial redness a problem? Laser treatments may help or even eliminate the problem.


Redness and blood vessels on the face may be due to rosacea and/or chronic sun damage. This occurs more frequently in patients with fair skin. The persistent redness can be mistaken for a sunburn or even a chronic drinking problem. Dilated blood vessels on the face may be distracting and contribute toward a ruddy complexion. Laser treatments can reduce or even eliminate facial redness and dilated vessels to create a clearer complexion. During laser treatment, there is a momentary slight stinging that is generally well tolerated.

We offer two types of laser treatment. In the first type of treatment (purpuric), the laser is programmed to precisely target your blood vessels to cause them to shatter while leaving your skin intact. The blood inside the vessels leaks into the surrounding skin causing a bruise.

Laser Treatment Before
Immediately After
After 7 Days
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red 2
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Photos courtesy of Candela Laser Corp.
Individual results may vary.

This looks like a dark purple mark (see middle picture below) that takes 7 - 10 days to clear. This method is very effective at removing facial vessels. Most patients require only one treatment to see substantial improvement. Occasionally, a second treatment will be required to remove any remaining vessels for near total clearance. Although highly effective, there is a downtime of 7 - 10 days. In addition to the bruising, there may be some swelling in treated areas which resolves within a week.

Laser Treatment Before
Immediately After
vein before
vein after
vein before 2
vein after 2
Individual results may vary.

In the second type of treatment (non-purpuric), the laser is programmed to induce spasm of your blood vessels. This causes them to collapse and disappear. This method is moderately effective at reducing background redness and facial blood vessels. Immediately after the procedure, your face is more red due to the cryogen spray used to cool your skin. This fades by the following morning. Some patients experience facial swelling but this risk is reduced compared to the first method. Although less effective, there is little to no downtime associated with this procedure. Many patients are able to return to work the following day. You may need several treatments spaced a month apart to achieve an equivalent level of clearance compared with the first method.

Laser treatment is effective at reducing or eliminating the facial vessels and redness that you currently have. It does this by physically targeting the vessels that are present. It cannot prevent you from developing additional vessels in the future. Retreatment may be pursued later but is often not necessary for several years.