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Reviewed and recommended: Horse chestnut for broken veins and a DIY solution

Is a Solution for:
Age Spots, Rosacea
May 9, 2009 Reviewed by Marta 22 Comments

A few weeks ago my interest was piqued by a comment from ctomek on my post rounding up of treatments for broken capillaries and spider veins:

"I make a DIY treatment that includes horse chestnut, resveratrol, and a bunch of other actives. I mix it up with hyaluronic acid and some oils and use it a few times a week before bed. The small broken capillaries on the side of my nose have subsided significantly in the last few months."

Well, anything ctomek can do, I can do.... So I ordered some horse chestnut and got mixing. Three weeks later, I can report that my potion works. A daily dab on a little patch of broken veins on my right cheek works has really significantly reduced them. Not only does it work, but I have the satisfaction of having created this potion with my own fair hands - mostly.

Actually, I cheated a bit with the base by using a 4oz pot of Skin Actives Canvas Base. This was more of a needs must decision because my priority was to see if the actives I was going to add in would work on broken veins. If my priority had been to make the perfect potion, I wouldn't start with Canvas Base as it has parabens and phenoxyethanol. But it is stable and holds everything together really well. And the last time I tried to do everything from scratch I ended up with an unshaken salad dressing.

To this I added a teaspoon of amla (phyllanthus emblica) extract. This is a powder and it gave my cream a (acceptable to me) chocolaty color. Amla is Indian gooseberry and, although clinical research is fairly recent, it has long been used in traditional medicine. Studies show that it helps cartilage damage, however, we are more interested that it has a high (but disputed) amount of vitamin C and is an able anti-inflammatory, as well as antioxidant due to its tannins and polyphenols. One study published in Science Now in 2001 concluded that amla is a much more potent antioxidant than plain old vitamin C. I decided to throw it into the mix here because it has been demonstrated to have an inhibitory effect on melanin and I was intrigued by the idea that my broken vein repair cream might also fade sun spots (no evidence of that yet, but I shall keep dabbing).

Next I added a teaspoon of horse chestnut. This is the key active in my arsenal. Horse chestnut trees (particularly the seeds) contain a saponin called escin. This is supposed to strengthen veins and capillaries by blocking an enzyme called hyaluronidase, which can breakdown of proteoglycans (part of the structure of capillary walls).

I then decided that it couldn't hurt to throw in some antioxidant green tea extract (three drops) and licorice extract (five drops), which is a useful ingredient against hyperpigmentation. It also good for ezcema and rosacea, which are part of the root cause of my broken veins.

I must say that although at the time I wasn't quite sure whether I was being random or genius in my choices, the outcome has been really encouraging. After only three weeks of use, some of the veins have faded very noticeably. I still haven't seen an impact on hyperpigmentation, but that may take more time. If so, time is what I have – this 4oz pot is going a very long way.


Ingredients in Skin Actives Canvas Base:
Water (aqua); Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil (emollient); Sorbitol (slip and water binding); Butylene Glycol (slip); Cetyl Alcohol (moisturizer and thickener); Glyceryl Stearate (moisturizer and thickener); PEG-100 Stearate (moisturizer and thickener); Stearyl Alcohol (moisturizer and thickener); Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil; Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil; Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil; Sodium Hyaluronate (water binding, nutrient); Polysorbate 20 (emulsifier); Citric Acid (to adjust pH); Dimethicone (skin conditioner, slip agent); Carbomer (thickener); Triethanolamine (to adjust pH); Diazolidinyl Urea, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben (antimicrobial preservatives)

  • January 23, 2014

    by Marta

    MD, I don't really have spider veins on my legs and so cannot say definitively. My guess is that they are tougher to treat and will take longer.

  • January 23, 2014

    by MD

    just want to know if this will work on spder veins on the legs??

  • March 23, 2011

    by marta

    Hi Georgia, I have confess that I didn't keep this up. I don't seem to find time to make my own potions. But I do recall that the serum was much better.

  • March 23, 2011

    by Georgia

    Hi, Marta,
    Are you still using your DIY concoction? Has it made the spider veins disappear yet? Your initial post shows you made a cream, where the last post indicates you are using a serum. Which has been more effective for you?

  • September 8, 2010

    by marta

    Katey50, you can buy the ingredients at Lotioncrafters or Skin Actives. The formula is: 5/6 drops of the base serum (in this case YBF Concentrate, once scoop of horse chestnut extract, one scoop of vitamin c, one drop of Renovage.

  • September 8, 2010

    by Katey50

    I watched the video on youtube and like what I saw. I have a few small broken veins on my face and would like to try this diy. I would like to know how much and where to buy each ingredient used on youtube.The horse chestnut, resveratrol,vitamin c powder and is there a strenth?And how and where do you buy the renovage? And is there a recipe specific for this to make it?

  • June 7, 2010

    by Ellena

    Hi there,
    Does anybody know if a PH 3.2 is bad for skin generally and for rosacea especially?

  • June 4, 2010

    by Ellena

    Thank you Junko for the links. I am not very knowledgeable on how to use the web on its full potential as l am still new here, however l had read one of the reviews on G Spa but it is not compared to NuFace. I wanted to know which one is supposed to work better and give faster results. I could not find much on NuFace-just some statement that also the company itself has published on their web, especially because the Nuface claims to be the only hand held device approved from the FDA.
    Plus, the G Spa has to be used along with some gels that l was hoping to avoid if l get the device, as l dont like their ingredients and also their price (if somebody found a replacement). Maybe it is time for a new review with more updated info on both :)

  • June 4, 2010

    by Junko

    Ellena, You can pull up a lot of TIA information on both by using the SEARCH FIELD at the top of the TIA site: TIA sells the Galvanic Spa in the TIA store:

  • June 4, 2010

    by Ellena

    Hi Julie,
    Thank you so much for this web, sounds fantastic. I wish l knew more about chemistry so l could make my own serums with vit B and C...

    By the way, has anyone heard of these two types of face "machines" that improve skin wrinkles and apparence m, called:
    1- NuFace;
    2- Galvanic Spa ll
    I have seen them on TV shows but l have no idea if the are worthy the $350-$400. I wish somebody new more about them and explain, or it would be even better if TIA could try them and write a review.

  • June 3, 2010

    by Julie Kay

    Ellena, you can find licorice root extract at many DIY sites. The one I use most is Lotioncrafters. Here's a link: Good luck! ~jk

  • June 3, 2010

    by Ellena

    Where can l get licorice extract hopefully in a non-alcoholic tincture?

  • June 8, 2009

    by marta

    Major would be too strong a word. But there is definitely an improvement and I'm continuing to use it daily. I posted an update here:

  • June 8, 2009

    by rileygirl

    I am curious what kind of results you have had with this cream? It has been a little over 1 month. Have you noticed a major improvement in the broken veins?

  • May 27, 2009

    by Judy

    What about the vitamin C and it reacting with other things you may use on your face.

  • May 16, 2009

    by marta

    You can buy horse chestnut at Skin Actives:

    Let us know how you get on.

  • May 15, 2009

    by Matina

    Oh WOW!!!! I've been wondering if there was anything besides laser treatment to remove the small broken capillaries that are starting to show up on my cheeks! I am going to try this post haste! Where can I get horse chestnut? I guess I'll look on the internet! I will repost when I have some results.

  • May 10, 2009

    by marta

    I think it might (with perseverance). However, the only study I've seen was for supplements, not a cream. Research in Europe found that horse chestnut helped to increase blood flow up and out of the legs, strengthen connective tissue, tighten up veins, decrease redness and swelling, and relieve painful leg conditions caused by poor circulation. Recommended horse chestnut capsules containing 50-300 mg of aescin 2-3 times a day, or 1-5 drops of horse chestnut tincture three times a day. But I would try the cream anyhow - can't hurt.

  • May 9, 2009

    by Leslie

    Do you believe this would work on spider veins on the legs as well?

  • May 9, 2009

    by Aubrey

    Did you know skin actives makes their own capillary health cream?

    I've been using it for awhile and wonder how it compares to yours. It's got horse chestnut and licorice, plus a bunch of other stuff that's supposed to help. It's even the same brown color.

  • May 9, 2009

    by marta

    The thing about SA's sea kelp (which I've never used) is that I believe it is a gel. The horse chestnut and amla are both powders and so they might not mix up as well as with a cream.

  • May 9, 2009

    by Jess

    I think SkinActives makes a couple bases without parabens - the Makeupalley boards recommend Dream Cream and the Sea Kelp bioferment (which I've tried and like).

    Do you think this concoction would work with the sea kelp base?

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