You probably don’t need to look in the mirror to know all about those thin, dark lines showing up around the edges of your nose or on your calf muscles. Maybe they branch out or just show up in small patches of dark veins. It might not be painful, but it’s not a look you’re going for.
Spider veins, also known as thread veins, are an inevitable part of aging for many people — but luckily, treatments are available to get rid of them.
Spider vein removal and treatment isn’t well-known, simply because the symptoms are not as severe as with varicose veins. But it’s possible to improve your skin tone and, with prevention techniques, keep spider veins away forever.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- What causes spider veins
- How to get rid of them
- Ways to prevent new spider veins
- How to find a specialist near you
What Are Spider Veins, Anyway?
Appearing in colors that range from red to purple, spider veins typically occur on the legs, face and ankles. It is unknown exactly why they occur.
On the face, spider veins are often a result of tiny, burst blood vessels from pressure or sun damage.
Causes and risk factors of spider veins include:
- Genetics. If your parents have them, you’re likely to see them too.
- Being a woman “of a certain age.” Spider veins are more likely seen in older women.
- Pregnancy or weight gain. Extra body weight can add pressure to the lower extremities, causing either temporary or permanent spider veins on the legs.
- Sedentary lifestyle. If you sit or stand in the same position for an extended time, the veins in your legs must work harder.
- Hormones. Estrogen can weaken vein valves, so birth control and treatments for menopause can be problematic.
- Pressure to the face. Severe coughing, vomiting, or even pushing for childbirth can damage veins.
- Sun damage. Ultraviolet light can result in spider veins on the face, too.
Spider veins are different from varicose veins, which are larger, often flesh-colored, and sometimes lumpy. Varicose veins can also be painful or itchy and cause swelling in your legs or ankles.
Spider Vein Treatment Options
Even though spider veins are not as troublesome as varicose veins, many people are ready to get rid of them. Treatments include:
- What it is: Sclerotherapy is the act of injecting a medication directly into the affected vein to reduce swelling and cause the vein to fade.
- Who does it: Any medical professional, including specialists and trained nurses.
- Aftercare considerations: You may need to wear compression stockings for several days or weeks after treatment.
- Does it last? It can take several treatments in some cases, but the spider veins can disappear in about six weeks.
- Is it painful? Some patients report minor cramping, stinging, burning, itching, and bruising.
- What it is: This non-invasive treatment is best for spider veins less than 3 millimeters and close to the surface of the skin. A strong beam of light causes the vein to clot and dry up.
- Who does it: Healthcare professionals and vein specialists.
- Aftercare considerations: It’s important to avoid prolonged standing and sitting, as well as strenuous activities, for two weeks. Compression stockings will help the healing process, too.
- Does it last? Your spider veins may darken for a couple of months before disappearing completely.
- Is it painful? No. It is similar to the sensation of a rubber band snap on the skin. There may be a slight tingling sensation during the treatment, which can be alleviated with a local anesthetic if necessary.
This treatment type uses micro-bursts of high energy through a needle, which is similar to an electrolysis needle, to remove the spider veins. Typically in 1-2 treatments, the spider vein begins to fade away.
You may have heard of VeinGogh, which is a popular machine that uses ohmic thermolysis to remove spider veins.
Tips for Preventing New Spider Veins
If you’re at risk, you can develop new spider veins even in the same area where you’ve had previous treatment. Vein specialists recommend these preventive measures:
- Wear compression stockings if sitting for a long period — when you travel, for example.
- Wear sunscreen on your face daily, as well as protective hats and clothing.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Stay active, getting up to walk every 30 minutes and committing to regular exercise.
- Avoid tight clothing, which can restrict blood flow to the legs.
- Limit alcohol consumption, which can flush the face and cause broken blood vessels.
- Elevate your legs when lying down.
- Visit a vein specialist annually, especially if you have other skin conditions like rosacea.
How to Find a Vein Specialist Near You
People who have spider veins are often excited to learn that minimally invasive procedures can make those dark lines disappear. This cosmetic treatment helps to improve self-esteem and reduce the need for makeup or other coverings.
To find a healthcare professional with experience and knowledge about which treatment is best for you, check out My Vein Treatment’s vein specialist locator tool. You’ll be able to find a specialist in your area who can assess your situation.