People often get spider veins on their legs and arms. While they are not harmful, they can be unsightly and make people self-conscious about their appearance. In this blog post, we will discuss how to get rid of spider veins. We will also provide some tips for preventing them from coming back. So, if you are interested in learning more about spider veins, keep reading!
What are Spider Veins and What Causes Them?
Did you know that as many as 70% of women and 40% of men suffer from spider veins? I’m sure at one point or another most people didn’t realize they had spider veins, especially if it is their first occurrence. It can be very embarrassing to have them come up on your legs or face. It is disheartening when someone asks “what happened to your leg/face?”
So what exactly are spider veins? Spider veins, which are also known as telangiectasias, are small dilated blood vessels that have a spiderweb-like appearance under the skin. They appear on the legs as red, blue, or purple spider lines. These spider lines can range from really visible to hardly noticeable. They most commonly appear on the inner part of the thighs, fronts of the knees, and calves but can also be found down towards the ankles.
Spider veins are about one millimeter in size at most, they do not usually cause pain unless they are pressed up against during movement which can be painful for some people depending on where they’re located and how many there are.
And What Causes Them?
There are many reasons why spider veins may form. One possible reason spider veins occur is due to sun damage from over-exposure. Since spider veins mostly appear on people who have been out in the sun excessively, it’s very likely they could be a result of skin damage caused by prolonged sun exposure.
Another common reason for spider veins is genetics or family history. If your mother or grandmother has spider veins it does not mean you will too because studies have shown that only certain families carry a genetic mutation that causes spiders to manifest in their legs and faces when exposed to sunlight or heat.
Some other causes of spider veins are caused by hormonal changes, being overweight or obese, smoking tobacco, and wearing improperly fitted shoes.
How Do You Know If You Have Spider Veins?
People with spider veins may not experience any symptoms at all. However, some people may experience certain symptoms like:
- Aching or fatigue in the legs (especially during activities like walking, exercising, or standing for long periods of time)
- Tingling, burning, and/or swelling of the affected area
- Skin discoloration over the veins that appear blue, red, purple, or dark brown
Sometimes they disappear into the skin instead of protruding outwards. Because it’s difficult to tell where exactly spider veins originate from under your skin, medical professionals identify them by where they show up on the surface of your skin.
What are the Treatment Options Available to Get Rid of Spider Veins?
Spider veins, also known as spider nevi or broken blood vessels, can be treated with a variety of treatments. The best spider vein treatment will depend on the size and location of spider veins and whether there is any pain associated with them.
There are several spider vein removal procedures available:
Sclerotherapy – This spider vein treatment involves injecting tiny amounts of an irritant into the spider veins. These injections cause the spider veins to collapse over time and disappear completely. This procedure must be repeated every 12-18 months for maximum effectiveness.
Laser ablation – Laser ablation is another option for removing spider veins on the legs which uses laser technology to destroy spider veins selectively without damaging surrounding tissue or skin pigmentation.
Endovenous Radiofrequency Ablation or Laser – Oftentimes the spider veins are the result of larger axial or long veins which are incompetent due to leaking valves. Treatment of the underlying venous insufficiency will help to prevent more spider veins from developing.
Varithena – which is a chemical called polydochenol compounded with carbon dioxide and oxygen gas to create a foam is used to seal varicose veins which often connect with spider veins, thereby treating the cause and the spider vein in one procedure.
What Can I Expect After Treatment for Spider Veins?
At first, after spider vein treatment, the veins may look worse, darker with bruising or reddened. Avoid direct sun exposure until the bruising resolves. As time goes on over 4-6 weeks your legs will appear more normal without the veins. Walking several times a day while wearing compression stockings will aid healing and reduce the risk of blood clots.
How Can You Prevent Spider Veins From Forming in The First Place?
If you’re someone who is prone to developing spider veins, following these tips may help you keep them at bay.
- Keep your skin hydrated by drinking lots of water every day. The more fluids you take in, the better it is for your skin to perform its functions well.
- You must also avoid tanning beds and tanning outdoors because this will only speed up the appearance of spider veins on your legs.
- Avoid smoking
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Reduce stress levels
- Eat plenty of natural foods that are good for your veins
- Do lots of cardio exercises
- If you can stick with organic make-up products
- Wear sunscreen
- Use vitamin C cream on your face and body
- Exercise early in the morning or late at night
Spider veins are a common cosmetic concern for women. The good news is that there are many treatment options available to help get rid of these unsightly veins and restore the skin’s appearance.
Dr. Lawrence Schmetterer is a vascular surgeon and his wife, Dr. Susan Woods is a Board Certified Dermatologist. The Doctors collaborate with many patients, combining their areas of expertise to offer comprehensive treatments from lasers to sclerotherapy injections which can be used alone or in combination with other therapies depending on your specific needs. To learn more about how you can target spider veins at their source, book your consultation today!