Red blotches and red lines, you may be surprised to hear, have a lot in common, especially on the face. Many people spend lots of time and money looking for products to treat them but are confused because the lines are easier to understand than the blotches. Today I'll clarify their differences, causes, and treatment.
While they can occur anywhere on your body, red blotches and red lines are much more common and certainly much more conspicuous on your face. First, when we talk about red blotches we mean flat areas on the skin with a pink to reddish color and usually irregular or vague borders... it's like the color at certain places just fades into the normal colored skin next to it.
On the other hand, red lines, which are actually broken blood vessels, also called broken capillaries or spider veins, are sharply bordered, straight, curved, squiggly or just randomly shaped... thin... pink to red... to even blue colored lines that are usually anywhere from an 1/8 to 1/2 inch long. They may form an interconnected network with others so they appear like a net or a curved irregular tic tac toe board.
Now imagine what you would see if the broken blood vessels got thinner and thinner. They would actually be too thin to see with your naked eye. Then imagine thousands and thousands of them all pushed together and overlapping...
This is the a-ha moment!
They would cause a pink or red spot or blotch from all the blood in those thin walled vessels all pushed together. So red blotches are really just gazillions of tiny, mini broken blood vessels, all smooshed together in one area.
So then it's not surprising that the causes and treatment of both are similar.
Both are caused by injuries to the skin, whether from a scratch, pimple, or ultraviolet injury... hellllllooo sunburn! And repeated UV injuries can even cause spider veins to become visible and grow larger.
When it comes to treatment, there is no topical skincare product that fixes or removes them completely. Some products may temporarily reduce their size by shrinking their diameter, but when the product wears off they become just as visible or sometimes worse. Conversely, you can hide them with makeup... green tinted foundation works best... but obviously that's just temporary.
Only lasers effectively remove them permanently. Not a DIY exercise. So if you have either red blotches or lines and want them gone, see your dermatologist. Don't waste money on any products except makeup to hide them.