IPL for facial thread veins

Case study, Good Skin stories, Skin concerns

IPL intense pulsed light

Summary: facial spider veins removed and pores refined
Client: early 60s, non-smoker, sun damage

The issue:
Facial thead veins are a common problem as we age, they can become enlarged and obvious single branching vessels such as those in this image, or they can be more of a diffuse pattern of redness, often seen across the cheeks or nose (ie in rosacea). This case combined diffuse redness and thread veins.

Two main approaches target the improvement of facial thread veins: using diathermy (precisely targeted electric current to cauterise the vessel) or laser or light based energy which can treat single vessels as well as overall redness from tiny broken capillaries. Microneedling using Dermapen is also effective in treating diffuse redness, by building up the health and thickness of the epidermis.



My treatment of choice used in this case study, is IPL, using the Ellipse SWT IPL platform.
Ellipse, produced in Denmark, is an international leader in the field of light-based treatments, respected through the industry for the safety and effectiveness of its selected waveband technology IPL. 

IPL works by targeting the visible pigment in the surface blood vessels with a selected wavelength of light. The light heats the vessel, instantly cauterising it. The result is the removal of the target vein, and the reduction of overall redness and flushing.




The branching spider veins across the nose, cheeks and chin have been significantly reduced, and the overall redness caused by extensive sun damage has been diminished.

Bonus: In addition, the IPL treatment has resulted in improvment of the skin texture, reduction in pore size and visible brightening of the skin.



In this case, the client had a full-face IPL treatment, to improve red and brown pigment across his face. This was then topped up by targeting individual vessels, especially across his nose, cheeks and chin.  The feeling is of an instantly sharp heat, some liken the feeling to the ‘twanging’ of an elastic band against the skin. Some find it easier to tolerate than others, but it is a treatment quickly and safely delivered.

At the initial consultation, we took a detailed medical history, to ensure that there were no factors which might make the client more light sensitive than anticipated (certain medications can make your skin photosensitive). It is important that the skin has no recent suntan (including sunbeds and fake tans) as this will heighten pigment, and therefore increase the absorbtion of heat, risking burning. We always do a test patch at least 24 hours prior to treatment.

The treatment itself involves preparing of the skin (a bit of a facial), applying clear gel, and working across the skin with regular light pulses. Some veins will require a further treatment, many will clear on the first pass. Brown pigment will darken and intensify (this darkening will last for 7 to 10 days, and then lift to the surface). Depending on the pigment being targeted, I would usually recommend a course of two or three treatments, although often there is the most significant clearance in the first treatment.


This client had chosen a full face treatment, which costs £125 per session. Packages are available for multiple treatments, and combinations of treatments. 



“I didn’t realise until I saw my photographs how red my skin had become. Friends keep on commenting now how well I look.”