Spider veins are a common condition faced by women and men in the United States. Although spider veins are smaller and less visible than varicose veins, they are still often considered cosmetically displeasing. Fortunately, however, there are a number of treatments that can help address this condition and get you back to feeling confident in those shorts!
First, let’s talk about the basics.
What Are Spider Veins?
Spider veins are small, damaged veins that can appear close to the surface of the skin. They are typically red, purple, or blue and can be found on various parts of the body. These veins most commonly appear on the legs, thighs, or facial area.
What Causes Spider Veins?
Spider veins generally occur when small, tiny, invisible veins that run through (and just beneath) the skin dilate. As these tiny veins enlarge, they become visible because you literally see the blood flow through the vein. This results in a web-like pattern of spider veins that become noticeable on our thighs and lower legs.
In some instances, an underlying vein problem – caused by abnormal pooling in veins with valve malfunctions. Since these valves are responsible for keeping blood moving in the right direction, damage to the valve results in blood simply stagnating in place. This results in increased vein pressure that can exacerbate spider veins.
Spider veins are common, affecting over 50% of adults. Fortunately, spider veins are harmless from a health standpoint. There are several risk factors that contribute to a higher chance of one developing spider veins.
Spider vein risk factors are:
- Genetics – If you have a family history of spider veins, you will have a higher chance of developing spider veins.
- Reproductive Hormones – The reason spider veins are more prevalent in women is that pregnancy and reproductive hormones (estrogen & progesterone) can cause spider veins.
- Age – We are more likely to develop spider veins as we get older.
- 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 area over the years will increase spider vein formation. Suntanning or excessive sun exposure over the years can increase the development of spider veins.
Spider Veins Location
Spider veins are common primarily affecting the legs. Less common, are spider veins on the face, and rarely on the abdomen & chest. One of the most common locations to develop spider veins are on the thighs. It has been suggested 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.
Spider Vein Treatment
Now that we know what causes spider veins, let’s talk about how to treat them.
How To Get Rid Of Spider Veins Naturally
Although there is no home remedy or medicine available that will eliminate spider veins you already have, there are measures you can take to improve their appearance.
Here are a few ways to improve the appearance of your spider veins:
- 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 from chronic venous insufficiency, 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. 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.
Need a recommendation? Our vein experts here at VeinSolutions™ would be more than happy to give you a hand. Simply call or go online to schedule an appointment with us. We have offices in both Flint and Lapeer, Michigan. Our Flint office is just off of I-75 and Hill Road, and our Lapeer office is off of Highway 24.
Spider Vein Treatment
As we mentioned earlier, home remedies can only do so much and typically do not provide a permanent solution. In the case that you want to address your spider veins once and for all, the best option is medical intervention.
Here are some common treatment options for spider vein elimination:
- Sclerotherapy – During this 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 numerous 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.
- Laser – 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. 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 one of the board-certified Vascular Surgeons at VeinSolutions™.
Answers To Common Questions
Here are a few answers to other common questions that may be helpful:
What Causes Spider Veins?
Our skin has a dense network of small veins called capillaries that run throughout it. These veins are very tiny, and cannot be seen by the unaided eye. Some of these veins dilate over time and enlarge to the point where blood can be seen flowing through the vein. This is why spider veins appear red, purplish, and blue. Spider veins are common, affecting more than 50% of adults. There are several risk factors increasing one’s chance of developing spider veins including family history, reproductive hormones and pregnancy (women have a higher prevalence of spider veins compared to men), trauma, age, wear & tear.
Are Spider Veins Dangerous?
Fortunately, spider veins are not a threat to your physical health. They are often considered a cosmetic nuisance however, 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 decreases vein pressure in your legs, possibly preventing dilation of veins that cause spider veins.
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 difficult to perform. If you are looking to hide spider veins, the best option to use make-up or sunless self-tanning lotions. Or, simply schedule an appointment with VeinSolutions™ for an evaluation/advice on better ways to improve the appearance of your legs.
Do Spider Veins Go Away?
Spider veins will not go away on their own. The best way to eliminate spider or varicose veins permanently is to seek treatment from a vein specialist. Sclerotherapy is an excellent option for spider vein treatment.
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 if there is a different condition affecting your veins? No worries, here at VeinSolutions™, we offer FREE vein screenings. In addition to this, 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. Simply call or send us a message to schedule your appointment with us. We look forward to seeing you!