If you look at your legs, you might see what looks like networks, branches, or webs of purple or red veins just beneath the surface of the skin. Unlike varicose veins, which bulge and look ropey, spider veins are typically flat and lie beneath the surface of the skin. They are also much smaller than their cousins, varicose veins.
While spider veins aren’t as prominent as varicose veins, they can still make you feel self-conscious about your appearance. Although the veins often develop on the legs, they do sometimes form on the face, which can be an additional cause of self-consciousness. Understanding what causes the veins and what you can do to treat or eliminate them will help you build up your self-esteem and confidence.
Common Causes of Spider Veins
When the blood in your veins doesn’t flow as it should, it’s likely to back up and cause venous problems. Spider veins often form when there’s too much pressure in the veins and the blood backs up.
In many cases, the veins are hereditary. That means if your mom, dad or someone else in your family had them, there’s an increased chance that you’ll develop them as well.
The veins can also develop due to external forces. For example, sun exposure can lead to the development on exposed areas of the skin, such as the face. Smoking might also put you at an increased risk for vein issues, as nicotine and tobacco interfere with your blood circulation.
Hormone levels also have some influence on the development of the veins. Pregnancy, taking hormonal birth control or going through menopause can all have an effect on the appearance of spider veins.
Can You Prevent Spider Veins?
If your spider veins develop because of your genes, there’s not really any way to prevent them. But you can reduce your risk for veins that form as a result of external factors or prevent existing spider veins from getting worse by taking some preventative measures.
First, it’s a good idea to avoid direct sun exposure. Wear a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every day, especially on your face. If you have spider veins on your legs, keep your legs covered or apply sunscreen before you go outside.
Reducing pressure on your legs might help to minimize or keep spider veins down. You can try exercising regularly, which can be as simple as taking a walk every day or going to an active job. Building up the muscle and strength in your legs can help to improve blood flow, preventing the blood from backing up and pooling in your veins.
Quitting smoking is also a good idea, not only to reduce the risk of spider veins, but for the sake of your overall health.
Finally, you might consider wearing compression stockings to help control your vein problems. Compression stockings put slight pressure on the legs, helping to push the blood up through the veins. You can find some varieties over the counter but are most likely to get the best results if you have a doctor fit you for the stockings and get a prescription for several pairs.
How to Treat Existing Spider Veins
It’s possible to treat existing spider veins and eliminate or minimize their appearance. A few treatment options exist, including laser vein treatment. Laser treatments can usually effectively treat veins up to 4 mm in size. The veins absorb the energy from the lasers, which causes the veins to seal shut. Any tissue near the veins is left untouched, which helps to reduce discomfort and speed up recovery.
The fused veins ultimately fade from view. Any blood that previously flowed through them is rerouted to other veins and blood vessels in the body.
Another treatment option for spider veins is sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy involves injecting the veins with a chemical solution. The solution causes the veins to collapse and be reabsorbed by the body.
Often, both treatments require a couple of sessions to get the best results. It usually takes a few weeks for results to appear after each treatment session.
About Dr. Ran Rubinstein
Dr. Ran Y. Rubinstein is a board-certified plastic surgeon. He offers patients a variety of surgical and non-surgical treatment options, including laser vein treatment, at his practice in Manhattan. Whatever your specific concern is, he can work with you and help you choose the cosmetic treatment that will help you fight or minimize the signs of aging. Dr. Rubinstein offers patients a variety of procedures, from fillers to rhinoplasty, at Laser & Cosmetic Surgery Specialists, PC in Newburgh, New York. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Rubinstein, call 845-863-1772 today.