What Are Spider Veins, How Do They Appear and What Is the Best Spider Vein Treatment?
Why Do Spider Veins Appear?
If you’ve ever noticed veins becoming visible on your legs, you’re probably wondering how they even got there in the first place. What you’re experiencing is called varicose veins–or the more mild version, spider veins–which take the form of blue or red squiggly cords just beneath the surface of your skin. Though they most commonly appear on your legs, they can also show up on other parts of the body like your face or your feet. Don’t worry, though. These visible veins are usually harmless and attended to for aesthetic reasons. However, they can also cause some discomfort due to a blood clot or open sores on your legs. If this is the case, you should pay a visit to your dermatologist to figure out the best course of action.
So what even are spider veins? Why are they showing up? In short, they show up when your veins aren’t functioning properly. The veins in your body have valves that will prevent blood from flowing backward. When these valves stop working as intended, blood can collect in the veins instead of flowing to your heart. This causes the veins to become enlarged, dilated, and overfilled with blood, and in turn, makes them visible on the surface of your skin. Spider veins are most common in your legs because they are the farthest away from the heart (besides the feet, of course), and gravity makes it harder for the blood to flow upward.
Who Can Get These Spider Veins?
The quick answer is men and women of all ages develop spider veins. More technically, though, there are several reasons they may be appearing:
- Genetics: If you have a family member who’s experienced spider veins, you may be more likely to develop them.
- Pregnancy: The fluctuation of hormones that pregnant women experience can certainly lead to dilated blood vessels, which would result in spider veins appearing. These usually disappear after pregnancy, though.
- Constant Standing: If you have a job that requires you to stand for a long time, it may cause these spider veins to appear. Why? Because if you’re standing, your blood will have to flow against gravity in an “uphill” manner, which may cause blood to collect in particular spots in your leg veins.
- Age: Men and women over the age of 50 tend to develop spider veins more often than younger men and women.
- Alcohol consumption: A normal amount of alcohol consumption is fine, so continue to have your nightly glass of whiskey or wine without any worry. Overconsuming, though, can cause these veins to appear because too much alcohol can dilate your blood vessels.
- Exposure to the sun: Too much exposure to the sun can lead to a higher risk of skin damage, and that includes developing spider veins.
- Pressure: This one may be out of your control, but it’s important to note. The pressure that comes from high altitude or even a strong sneeze can cause blood vessels to burst, and in turn, will cause spider veins to appear.
This is not a comprehensive list but includes a majority of the reasons why varicose veins, or spider veins, will appear on your legs. Being mindful of what you can control, and what is a natural cause, will maximize your likelihood of preventing veins from visibly appearing on your legs or treating them when they do appear.
So How Do You Get Rid of Spider Veins?
Some patients who’ve come to us are seeking to remove the appearance of spider veins for cosmetic improvements, and others are looking to relieve some of their discomforts. The good news is, spider veins are rather treatable either through self-care or minimally invasive procedures.
For self-care, it’s important to do different things that can improve your circulation. Keep in mind, the following list of actions you can take will not get rid of spider veins that already exist on your legs but will help to prevent new ones from surfacing. Some of these things may include:
- Not sitting or standing for too long. If you stand for too long, make sure to take breaks every half hour. If you usually sit for too long, take breaks to walk around for a few minutes.
- Avoiding hot baths for long periods
- Elevating your legs
- Putting on compression socks. While quick, more sporadic pressure is not ideal as mentioned above, constant and uniform compression will place the right amount of pressure on your legs for blood to flow more easily to the heart.
People may also consider the procedure route. Traditionally, the gold standard for treating spider veins or small varicose veins is sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy involves injecting a chemical solution into the veins which will irritate the wall of the veins. Doing this will cause them to scar, which forces blood to reroute through healthier veins. The collapsed veins will absorb into local tissue and then fade.
The new gold standard: laser treatment
The new gold standard, however, is laser treatment. Laser treatment will commonly involve a noninvasive, heat-based treatment that will destroy the spider veins with little if any, damage to the surrounding skin. The laser directs a thin beam of radiation in the form of light onto the veins, which closes and shrinks them, and causes scar tissue within the vessel that seals off the affected veins. Over the next month and a half, these sealed-off veins will be reabsorbed by the body and will disappear, and blood is rerouted to healthier veins, similar to the outcome of sclerotherapy.
The best part about receiving laser treatment on spider veins is that for the most part, it’s a one-time, permanent solution. Of course, new spider veins can appear, but the ones that you had removed will surely be removed. Whether or not you should choose sclerotherapy or laser treatment is entirely up to you, but if you prefer the less invasive procedure, laser therapy is the better option.
LifeGaines Medical Spa and Aesthetics Center in Boca Raton Can Help You
LifeGaines utilizes state-of-the-art laser technology in our Boca Raton office to treat the widest range of today’s most common nonsurgical aesthetic concerns, such as veins, pigment, wrinkles, skin revitalization, and hair removal with the robust Xeo Cutera laser system. If you have concerns about the way your legs look because of spider veins, we would be happy to help you relieve these concerns and help you feel confident and happy with your body.
These varicose veins, or the more mild spider veins, may appear on your legs as you age, so knowing what caused them and how you can treat them is important for not only your well-being but for your confidence, too.
Read More: Our approach to spider vein removal