Capillaries are the smallest of blood vessels. They serve to distribute oxygenated blood from arteries to the tissues of the body and to feed deoxygenated blood from the tissues back into the veins. The capillaries are thus a central component in the circulatory system, essentially between the arteries and the veins. When pink areas of skin are compressed, this causes blanching because blood is pressed out of the capillaries. The blood is the fluid in the body that contains, among other elements, the red blood cells (erythrocytes) that carry the oxygen and give the blood its red color.