What are Spider Veins?
Spider veins are a common condition faced by women and men in the United States. You can develop dark purple, red, or blue spider veins on your thighs, legs, ankles, and even your face. Although spider veins are smaller and less visible than varicose veins, many people don’t like how they look and seek prevention and treatment.
Fortunately, there are several treatments that can help address this condition and get you back to feeling confident in those shorts!
First, let’s talk about the basics.
Spider veins are small, damaged veins that can appear close to the skin’s surface. They are typically small purple, red, or blue veins that appear on various parts of the body. Most commonly, spider veins appear on the legs, thighs, or face.
How do Spider Veins Form?
Our skin has a dense network of small veins called capillaries that run throughout it. These veins are very tiny, and the unaided eye cannot spot them.
Usually, the valves in your veins direct blood to flow toward the heart and shut tightly between heartbeats. However, when valve walls are weak, blood can flow backward and pool. As blood pools, spider veins and varicose veins develop.
So, spider veins generally start as small, tiny, invisible veins that run through (and just beneath) the skin that dilates and enlarge until they become visible.
Once they become visible, you can see the blood flow through the vein, resulting in a web-like pattern of spider veins that become noticeable on our thighs and lower legs.
Typically, people do not experience pain or swelling. Spider veins are harmless from a health standpoint and are easily treatable.
What Causes Spider Veins?
Spider veins are common, affecting over 50% of adults. Several risk factors contribute to a higher chance of one developing spider veins.
Spider Vein Risk Factors
- Genetics – If you have a family history of spider veins, you will have a higher chance of developing spider veins.
- Reproductive Hormones – Due to fluctuations in the reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone, prepregnant women and menopausal women have a higher risk of developing spider veins.
- Age – We are more likely to develop spider veins as we age.
- Trauma, Wear, and Tear – Local trauma to an area may result in subsequent spider vein formation. Long-term use of topical steroids (cortisol, etc.) applied to the same place over the years will increase spider vein formation. Suntanning or excessive sun exposure over the years can increase the development of spider veins.
- Poor Circulation – A sedentary lifestyle where you sit or stand for long periods restricts blood flow. This lifestyle results in poor circulation and can lead to blood pooling.
Spider Veins Location
- Legs – Spider veins are common, primarily affecting the legs. You may see clusters of tiny red veins, or they may appear spread out here and there.
- Ankles – If you have a cluster of spider veins around your ankle, it could be an indication that there is serious chronic venous insufficiency. This condition occurs when large groups of blood vessels start to grow in the bottom part or” Corona” region near our feet, which can lead to more severe problems.
- Thighs – One of the most common locations to develop spider veins is on the thighs. Some studies suggest that crossing the leg increases spider vein formation on the inside of the lower thighs (just above the knee). However, there is no firm scientific evidence to support this theory.
- Face and other area – Less common are spider veins on the face and rarely on the abdomen & chest. Facial spider veins are most commonly found on the cheeks, nose, and chin, and they are typically harmless.
Spider Vein Treatments
How To Get Rid Of Spider Veins on Thighs and Legs Naturally
Although there is no home remedy or medicine available that will eliminate the spider veins you already have, there are measures you can take to improve their appearance.
Here are a few ways to prevent and improve the appearance of your spider veins without medical intervention:
- Make-up and sunless self-tanning lotions will cover the spider veins and reduce their appearance.
- Some studies have shown taking Horse chestnut seed extract may reduce symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency, but it will likely have no effect on spider veins that are already present.
- Compression stockings and socks may be helpful in addressing spider veins in some cases. When you wear compression stockings, the extra compression provides more support for your veins and encourages healthy blood circulation by decreasing vein pressure in your legs – this may slow down the formation of spider veins.
- Apple cider vinegar may not get rid of veins that have already formed, but it is a great measure to take to stop new ones from forming.
- Massage by a licensed professional can help get your blood moving and reduce visible swelling in the veins.
Now that we know why we get spider veins, let’s talk about how to treat them.
As we mentioned earlier, home remedies can only do so much and typically do not provide a permanent solution. If you want to get rid of your spider veins once and for all, the best option is medical intervention.
The best ways to get rid of spider veins are sclerotherapy and laser removal.
Related: Spider Vein Treatment at Vein Solutions Flint
Spider Vein Treatment and Removal
During a sclerotherapy procedure, your doctor will inject a saline solution into the spider veins. This damages the vein wall causing the veins to seal up over time.
Blood can no longer flow through the sealed vein, and over time the veins will fade away, improving the appearance of the treated area.
Since our body has so many veins, blood will simply redirect to healthier veins that are not visible to the unaided eye.
Sclerotherapy is a simple and straightforward treatment, typically taking less than 30 minutes to complete in-office. You walk in and walk out, and there is no downtime after the treatment.
Whereas sclerotherapy uses a chemical to ablate the spider veins, laser treatment uses heat/thermal energy to ablate spider veins.
In general, sclerotherapy is more effective than laser ablation.
Given that laser may be more painful and more expensive for most patients- sclerotherapy is the best first-line treatment for spider veins. But laser may be beneficial in some circumstances.
The best way to know which treatment is right for you is by consulting with a board-certified vascular surgeon near you.
Need a recommendation? Our vein experts here at VeinSolutions™ would be more than happy to give you a hand. Call or go online to schedule an appointment with us.
We have offices in both Flint and Lapeer, Michigan. Our Flint office is off I-75 and Hill Road, and our Lapeer office is off Highway 24.
Answers To Common Questions
How are Spider Veins Different from Varicose Veins?
Both spider veins and varicose veins are visible, dilated blood vessels close to the skin’s surface. They are both types of venous disease caused by a weakening blood vessel wall. However, spider veins and varicose veins both look different and have different symptoms.
Spider veins are small, thin dark veins that can be blue, red, purple, or even black. Their shape resembles tree branches. Most of the time, spider veins are not painful. People can develop spider veins on their thighs, legs, ankles, and face.
Varicose veins bulge, twist and appear larger than spider veins. They are often dark blue and develop on legs and feet. Unlike spider veins, varicose veins can burn, itch, and feel warm near the veins. Sometimes people experience leg or foot pain and tenderness.
Severe, untreated varicose veins can lead to other medical conditions such as blood clots and poor circulation.
Are Spider Veins Dangerous?
Fortunately, spider veins are not a threat to your physical health. They are often considered a cosmetic nuisance, so many people choose to treat spider veins for cosmetic concerns.
How to Prevent Spider Veins in Thighs?
Compression stockings may be helpful in slowing down the progression of spider vein formation. The extra compression provides more support for your veins and encourages healthy blood circulation. This support decreases vein pressure in your legs, possibly preventing the dilation of veins that cause spider veins. You can also reduce risk factors by adjusting your lifestyle to improve blood flow.
Do Spider Veins Go Away?
Spider veins will not go away on their own. The best way to permanently eliminate spider or varicose veins is to seek treatment from a vein specialist. Sclerotherapy is an excellent option for spider vein treatment.
Can You Tattoo Over Spider Veins?
Tattooing over spider or varicose veins is not a good idea. It may (but not always) make future vein treatments more challenging to perform.
If you are looking to hide spider veins, the best option is to use make-up or sunless self-tanning lotions. Or, simply schedule an appointment with VeinSolutions™ for an evaluation on better ways to improve the appearance of your legs.
How to Get Rid of Spider Veins On Your Legs
If preventative measures like compression leggings don’t reduce your small purple veins, schedule a treatment with vein specialists at Vein Solutions.
Our specialists will provide a thorough examination and screening process to determine which procedure will be best for you. At Vein Solutions in Flint and Lapeer, MI, we use sclerotherapy and minimally invasive vein procedures to make your spider veins disappear.
VeinSolutions™ at Michigan Vascular Center
Looking for a vein expert in the Michigan region? Then look no further! Here at VeinSolutions™, we have an excellent team of board-certified Vascular Surgeons that can diagnose and treat numerous vein conditions.
We offer Sclerotherapy, Venous Ablation, Microphlebectomy, as well as other great treatments that can address those pesky vein problems.
Not sure if your vein condition is simply spider veins or a different condition? No worries. Here at VeinSolutions™, we offer FREE vein screenings.
In addition, our office is equipped to provide venous ultrasounds, which can give more insight into your condition and help us form a diagnosis.
Best of all, we care about our clients. That’s why we strive to make each one of your office visits as comfortable and easy as possible. Call or send us a message to schedule your appointment with us. We look forward to seeing you!
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