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)