If you’ve noticed clusters of tiny red, purple, or blue blood vessels on your face or legs, you’re probably not pleased. You’re likely wondering what they are, whether you should be worried, and what you can do about it. Those are all understandable concerns.
What you’re noticing are probably spider veins, a close relative of varicose veins. The differences are that a spider vein is smaller than a varicose vein, is closer to the skin’s surface, and usually resembles a spider web (hence the name). The good news is that there are ways to lessen the appearance of these blood vessels so you can feel confident in your legs.
What Are Spider Veins?
Both men and women get spider veins, but it’s slightly more common in women. They’re caused by dilated blood vessels, which can lead to the backup of blood and the noticeable weblike formations on the skin’s surface, according to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.
Luckily, there’s usually nothing to worry about since they typically aren’t a health hazard. If you have them, you might, however, feel some itching or burning. Whether you experience any uncomfortable feelings with these veins or not, they’re certainly unattractive and undesirable to have.
It’s common for people over age 50 to get spider veins. Other causes are hormonal changes from pregnancy or menopause, sun damage, and injury. Genetics also plays a role. If you have family members with them, you’re more likely to get them too—noticeable veins are also a sign of weak veins, which can run in the family.
Are They Preventable?
You can’t always prevent these veins from occurring under your skin, but you can try to reduce your chances of getting them or from getting more. Be sure to wear sunscreen whenever you’re in the sun, even in the winter. This decreases your chances of getting them on your face. Regular exercise that works your legs can help limit the appearance of noticeable veins on your legs. Keeping your weight down also helps reduce these veins on your legs by relieving pressure the extra weight causes.
Treating Spider Veins
There are several ways to treat this condition, depending on how severe it is. The first way is compression, which involves wearing compression stockings or other garments to put more pressure on the weakened veins. This is a good solution for those who don’t have many visible veins or those who would like to prevent worsening the condition. When compression stockings are used in conjunction with regular exercise and elevation (propping up your legs), it’s quite effective at preventing new visible veins, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).
Another option is a procedure called sclerotherapy, which involves injecting a solution into the affected veins. The solution irritates and then seals together the vein walls, eliminating blood flow and, over time, diminishing the appearance of the veins. This treatment should also be used with compression stockings, for at least a few weeks, says the AAD.
Laser treatment is a way to diminish the appearance of visible veins. Elite+™ treats spider veins by sending light bursts into your veins. This procedure doesn’t use any needles and is well-tolerated. Your veins should begin fading after treatment. Although they may not completely disappear, the appearance should improve.
These veins, however, can reappear in the same or in different areas. Try the preventive tips of using sunscreen and keeping your circulation going with regular exercise to help keep noticeable veins from returning.