Sunday, January 11, 2015

Couperose Skin explained

This is a bad case. Most people's couperose is less noticeable.
What is couperose skin? Couperose is a condition affecting the capillaries of the face. These capillaries are very thin vessels that constitute the blood network for the skin on the face. Capillaries are weak and fragile; they can “break” or dysfunction very easily. (Although the capillaries have merely dysfunctioned, many times they are termed broken capillaries.) When this happens, the blood stagnates within the vessels, making them more visible. Broken capillaries (couperose) look like tiny red lines under the surface of your skin. If you have thin skin, broken capillaries will be more noticeable. 

Why is it couperose? This condition can happen for many different reasons: 
  • Genetics play a large role in how weak the capillaries are.
  • The environment has a lot to do with couperose.
  • Sun exposure, with its constant and extreme heat, can definitely cause capillary damage. Sometimes this is hard to see through a dark tan. If the tan is allowed to fade, there will usually be residual redness remaining that may be couperose.
  • Severely cold temperatures or cold, windy conditions can be a cause.
  • Skiing can really do a number on your skin and the capillaries. You’re in cold air with the hot sun beating down while the crisp wind is hitting your face as you gracefully glide down the slopes. When skiing, your skin is vulnerable to the elements, so cover up as much as possible. It will save your skin in the long run.
  • Extremes in temperature are bad for the skin and specifically the capillaries. Moderation is always best when choosing a temperature to expose your skin to.
  • Alcohol and smoking are also culprits in causing couperose. Alcohol dilates (opens, expands) and smoking constricts (closes, contracts) the capillaries. This constant opening and/or closing can weaken the capillaries over time. 
  • AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids), Retin-A, and strong exfoliating peels can also exacerbate couperouse skin.
  • Steam machines (like the kind used in facials—or even those for home use) dilate capillaries and can definitely cause or increase couperouse.

As you can see, many things contribute to couperose skin. Almost everyone by the age of 35 or 40 has a certain amount of redness to their skin—even if only in a few places. It’s hard to avoid all the different factors that cause broken capillaries and still lead a normal life. People who flourish outside usually have a tough time keeping couperose away. My recommendation is to do what you can to protect your skin, then enjoy your lifestyle and activities. Life is too short.

What to use on couperose skin. In treating couperose skin, it’s important to know what not to use and what conditions to avoid (if possible) more than what to use for the condition. Capillaries are very sensitive to extremes, so you never want to use either hot or cold water directly on your face. Even going from really hot temperatures outside to cold air conditioning (and vice versa) can be hard on these vessels. Spicy foods dilate the capillaries, as do caffeine, alcohol, and sun. Smoking, air pollution, and cold or windy weather constrict the capillaries. Obviously, there are conditions that exist in our everyday lives that we cannot escape, namely the weather. Just remember to stay away from extremes whenever possible. This will help to allay further capillary damage.

Grocery and department store products rarely, if ever, address couperose skin, but many professional product lines do. Keep in mind, nothing will get rid of existing broken capillaries, so prevention should be the focus. Avoid extremes and use products specifically formulated to tone or promote proper capillary function.

For more information, see: