December 06, 2020

Are spider veins dangerous or anything to worry about? If you have small reddish-blue jagged lines on your calves, legs, face, or hand, you probably have spider veins. 

Spider veins are usually harmless - unless they’re accompanied by other symptoms like fatigue, bleeding, leg heaviness, you shouldn’t be worried. 

Some people, however, still feel the need to have them treated for cosmetic reasons. This article will explain spider veins treatment methods, prevention tips, and what causes spider veins.

What are Spider Veins?

Spider veins are small, thin, thread-like lines or webs that appear twisted and turning and can be seen on the skin surface. They usually form on the legs, face, or hands. They vary in color and can either be red, blue, or purple. Spider veins derive their name from their shape - as they look like spider webs or marble.

Causes of Spider Veins

Spider veins form when the veins congregate due to blood pooling(stasis) below the skin’s surface. This happens when the valves inside the feeder veins malfunction.

When these valves are damaged or weakened, the blood struggles to flow in the proper direction (the blood flows backward instead of flowing upward to the heart), and thus, it begins to pool inside the veins. Over time, the veins may start to bulge or branch out, resulting in spider veins.

Facial spider veins occur when tiny blood vessels burst due to an increase in pressure or sun damage.

Spider Veins vs. Varicose Veins

There is a difference between spider veins and varicose veins.  While both are forms of venous insufficiency and occur due to damaged or weakened valves, the two have different symptoms.

Spider veins are tiny lines that may be raised or flat, and they often appear red, blue, or purple.

Symptoms of spider veins include:

  • An unpleasant appearance,
  • Some discomfort, but most often, they’re painless.

On the other hand, varicose veins are more prominent, deeper, and larger than spider veins. They may appear twisted or lumpy and are usually red or flesh-colored.

Varicose veins have different symptoms depending on the severity. They include:

  • Itching
  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Bruising
  • Dyschromia (color alteration)
  • Telangiectasia (clustered patterns)
  • Legs or ankles are swelling.
  • A heavy or achy feeling in the legs
  • The varicose veins also escalate the risk of circulation issues or blood clots for a person.

Who can get spider veins?

Both men and women of all ages can develop spider veins. Here are the key risk factors for developing spider veins.

Risk factors for Spider Veins

Numerous factors can increase the risk of developing spider veins. They include:

  • Genetics: Spider veins are hereditary. Up to 90 percent of people that have spider veins come from a family with a history.
  • Being female: Spider veins are more common in women than in men.
  • Being pregnant: Pregnancy increases the risks of getting spider veins.
  • Age: Veins and valves grow weaker as you age. The calf muscles that support the legs’ veins and help pump the blood towards the heart also weaken as a person grows older.
  • Being obese: Overweight people are more likely to develop spider veins because their weight adds pressure to veins.
  • Hormones: Hormonal imbalance due to birth control methods and menopausal treatments can increase the chances of getting spider veins’ because estrogen makes vein valves weaker.
  • Previous vein damage or blood clot – If your veins have ever been damaged or had a blood clot before, the veins may malfunction, leading to spider veins.
  • Standing or sitting for long periods – Legs veins have to work extra harder to pump blood upwards towards the heart when they remain sitting or standing for long periods.
  • Excessive facial pressure- This can occur due to forceful sneezing, vomiting, or coughing. Some women develop facial spider veins from pushing during child delivery.
  • Sun damage: Getting too much sun exposure can destroy the skin. The ultraviolet rays cause the blood vessels to burst; thus, it results in spider veins, most especially on the face.

Prevention of Spider Veins

You can prevent spider veins formation through a change of lifestyle and self-care. Here are a few tips that can help prevent the formation of spider veins. They include:

  • Maintain a healthy weight – Watching your weight can reduce the veins’ pressure and keep the blood flow in check.
  • Wearing sunscreen- Sunscreen protects the skin from ultraviolet rays and thus prevents spider veins formation. Apply sunscreen daily when working outdoors or if doing outdoor leisure activities for extended periods.
  • Wear compression stockings – If you are from a family with a history of spider veins, wearing compression socks can help reduce the risk of getting them.
  • Stay mobile – Avoid sitting or standing in one place for too long. Take a break or walk around for 30 minutes.
  • Avoid overusing saunas and hot tubs – Excessive heating also causes the veins to swell, increasing the risk of dilation or bulging out of veins.
  • Avoid wearing tight clothes – Wearing tight clothing around the legs, waist, or pelvis can restrict blood flow and increase spider veins’ risk.
  • Limit alcohol intake – Consuming too much alcohol is also a risk factor. That’s because alcohol causes flushing in the face and broken vessels for some people.
  • Exercise regularly- Physical activities help in blood circulation, which prevents the blood from pooling in the veins.
  • Elevate the legs- Placing your legs on a raised place when lying down or sitting can help blood flow.
  • Visit a dermatologist- If you have certain skin conditions like rosacea that increases the risk of getting spider veins, seeing a doctor is recommended.


Spider Veins Treatment Methods

Do spider Veins go away? Although spider veins are harmless, they can cause some discomfort, and thus some people may want to remove them for cosmetic purposes.

The truth is spider veins rarely disappear on their own and can even get worse over time unless treated. Fortunately, there are proven ways to treat spider veins that include.

1. Wearing Compression Stockings or Socks

Wearing compression stockings is not only ideal for prevention but also the treatment of spider veins.  The pressure from the socks improves blood circulation and helps relieve the legs’ swelling, reducing the blood clots in your legs.

There are different types of compression stocking, which include:

  • Gradient compression stockings and socks: These are types of compression socks that provide medium pressure around the ankles, feet, and calves. You can get them from pharmacies and specialist stores and online.
  • Support pantyhose: These types of stockings provide very light pressure. You can get them online.
  • Prescription compression stockings: These are the types of socks that pressure the legs and feet. These are only available to people with prescriptions. They vary in terms of strength and size. They are not suitable for everyone, especially those with heart problems.

2. Sclerotherapy and Closure System

Sclerotherapy is a technique that involves the injection of irritants into the affected veins. When the vein walls get irritated, they stick together and keep blood from flowing into that area.

The procedure reduces swelling and causes the veins to shrink. Veins gradually vanish or fade away. To obtain excellent results, you may need several treatments.

Closure System treatment is similar to sclerotherapy as it also involves the injection of a substance to the affected veins. The substance in this treatment is sticky, and it closes the veins preventing blood flow, which causes the spider veins to fade or disappear over time. You may also require to undergo the procedure several times for the best outcome.

You need to ensure that the procedures are done by qualified dermatologists, cosmetic surgeons, vein specialists, plastic surgeons, or trained nurses.

The procedure doesn’t require anesthesia. After undergoing the procedure, the patient has to wear compression socks for a few days or weeks. This can take up to 6 weeks.

3.    Laser treatment

Laser therapy is also an effective treatment for spider veins. It involves using a focused beam of light. Lasers treat spider veins that are smaller than 3 mm and very close to the skin surface. The laser causes the spider veins to clot and eventually dry up. Laser treatments may cause scarring. Doctors recommend silicone scar gel and silicone strips to help reduce the appearance of the scars.

4. Endovenous laser therapy (EVLT)

EVLT is a procedure that involves making a small incision in the affected veins and inserting a laser fiber. The laser directs heat to the vein causing it to collapse. The vein then starts to fade and may eventually disappear in a year or so. The patient has to be numbed using local anesthesia when undergoing this procedure.

5. UGFS (Ultrasound-Guided Gas Sclerotherapy) and VGS (Visually-Guided Sclerotherapy) Procedures

These are procedures that are quick to perform and are done with minimal invasion. The patients don’t need to be hospitalized. The method involves sealing off the veins so that the blood flow can return to the veins that have proper working valves. The dead-end spiders’ veins fade as the body gradually absorbs them.

6. Use Cover-up or Make-up

If your spider veins are a cause of concern aesthetically, consider using leg, face, or body make-up to conceal their appearance. Self-tanning is also an ideal option.

How to Treat Spider Veins Naturally

Some great natural remedies for spider veins include:

  • Exercising
  • Massage
  • Essential oils
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Dietary changes
  • Herbal supplements
  • Keeping legs elevated
  • Eat more flavonoids

Key Takeaway

Spider veins occur due to malfunctioned or damaged blood vessels. They are harmless, but some people wish to get rid of them for cosmetic purposes. These spider veins treatment can come in handy and can help reduce the appearance of spider veins.  For medical procedures, ensure that you get the services of a trained skincare professional or vein care personnel.


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