As we get older, some people begin to notice web-like veins appear on the surface of their skin, particularly on the legs and face. Especially during the summer months, these “spider veins” can be the source of a lot of self-consciousness, especially if they’re large and run along the leg. But what are they, what causes them and how can you prevent them from appearing in the first place? Before getting them treated at your local cosmetic clinic, let’s break down all the details below.
What Are Spider Veins?
Before we dive into what causes spider veins, let’s unpack what they are. Spider veins are essentially damaged veins that appear on the surface of your legs and face in a spider web appearance, hence the name. This typically occurs when the valves in the veins fail to function properly. For example, if the blood can’t flow through the body effectively, it will begin to pool within the damaged vein and a spider vein will begin to form, and sometimes bulge. They tend to appear in a variety of different colours ranging from red, purple and blue, and given their visible appearance, they’re often a source of a lot of self consciousness to those who have them.
On a medical standpoint, spider veins are no source for concern and are typically not painful or harmful to the people who have them, however there are ways to treat them for those who are interested in getting them removed.
Many people tend to use spider veins and varicose veins interchangeably, and while they have a lot of similarities they’re slightly different. When it comes to appearance, spider veins appear flat on the surface of the skin, sometimes with a slight bulge but they’re typically smaller in appearance.
Varicose veins on the other hand, tend to bulge and appear lumpy over the surface of the skin. However, unlike spider veins they typically appear in flesh tone colours and run much deeper than spider veins do, hence it’s large appearance.
In addition to just the physical symptoms, varicose veins can cause pain, discomfort, swelling, and achy legs or feet. Those who have them also typically suffer from circulation problems.
Spider veins are a result of multiple things, and their cause will vary from person to person. With that said, the most common causes include:
According to statistics, a majority of people who experience spider veins are a result of genetics. It’s typically inherited and passed along through generation to generation.
As people get older, they become more prone to spider veins. As people age, their valves and veins get weaker over time which increases their chances of getting these veiny webs on their legs. The calf muscle which holds a lot of these valves together, also begins to lose its strength over time which makes older people more prone to them.
Those who sit or stand for long periods of time tend to be prone to spider veins as the body has to work extra hard to make sure the blood circulates to the heart and throughout the body effectively.
Those who are overweight tend to put more pressure on their legs which makes them more prone to this skin condition than those who are at a healthy weight.
While the cause of spider veins is primarily genetic, there are still things you can do in your everyday life that can help it from appearing in the first place. Here are the top things you can do to help prevent these pesky veins from creeping up to the surface:
One of the most effective ways to prevent spider veins is through daily exercise as this ensures that there’s constant blood flow going throughout your body. The muscles in your legs push the blood back to the heart effectively, especially if your body is used to the constant movement. Even if you currently have spider veins in your legs, the exercise will help prevent new ones from forming down the road.
Want to know the real culprit to spider veins? Whether it’s our fast paced lifestyle that always has us on our toes, or stagnant office jobs that have us glued to our seats — having too much of either is not good. Whether you sit down for too long or standing for long periods of time, it makes it hard for blood to effectively flow throughout the body. If you find yourself in this position, take breaks every 30 minutes to walk around and stretch to get the blood flowing through your veins again.
If you’re carrying a bit of extra weight, this can make it more difficult for blood to circulate through the body and reach your heart effectively. Keeping your weight in check or losing some if you’re carrying a bit extra can help keep everything in check and reduce your chance of getting spider veins.
Now, what if you have spider veins? Thankfully you have solutions! There are two common ways to eliminate spider veins for good:
This is one of the most popular methods to treat spider veins, which works by using a hypertonic saline injectable which helps shrink blood vessels until they vanish completely. This method helps the vein unclog its passageway which will eventually result in a bruise but later heal into clear and smooth skin. It’s not the quickest process, taking on average 3-6 weeks to heal itself — but sclerotherapy will definitely deliver results that are worth it!
Much like its name, this method is a laser that treats the spider vein by using strong laser light to deeply penetrate the vein walls and activate the proteins to help them thicken. The spider vein will then take about 2-6 weeks to repair before completely disappearing. Oftentimes the pulse dye laser works in conjunction with sclerotherapy to get the best results.
Pro tip: Smaller spider veins are easier to treat than larger ones, so if you see a couple popping up, treat them as soon as possible! Not only will results be more effective, but you’ll require less treatment sessions to get to disappear entirely.
If you’re looking to completely eliminate your spider veins, contact Fairview Laser Clinic for a consultation today. Dr. Padma Jain has over 25 years of cosmetic dermatology experience and using the latest spider vein treatments, will be able to guide you towards the best course of action and eliminate your spider veins for good. Book your consultation today!
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