Have you ever noticed small red, blue, or purple veins near the surface of your skin? These are called spider veins, and they are a common cosmetic concern. Though they are usually harmless, many people are self-conscious and feel they are unsightly. Here's what you need to know about this condition, including its causes and how to treat it.
What Are Spider Veins?
Spider veins are small, thin veins underneath the skin. Most spider veins are typically very thin and red, blue, or purple in color. They most commonly occur on the legs and face. It is important to remember that spider veins are typically harmless and do not cause any pain or discomfort.
What Causes Spider Veins?
Spider veins are caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy or menopause
- Use of birth control pills
- Excessive exposure to the sun and frequent sunburns
Spider veins can also be caused by injuries or trauma to the affected area. For example, if you fall and injure your ankle, you may develop spider veins in that area of the leg that last far longer than any bruise.
How Are Spider Veins Treated?
If you want to eliminate spider veins for good, there are a number of treatments you can try, including:
- Creams. Doctors often recommend topical creams and ointments as the first line of treatment. These products can be applied directly to the affected area to reduce the appearance of spider veins.
- Laser therapy. This minimally invasive in-office treatment uses concentrated light to break up and eliminate spider veins. There is no downtime for this type of procedure.
- Sclerotherapy. This is a minimally invasive in-office procedure that involves injecting a salt solution into the vein. This solution helps close the vein, causing the blood to reroute. The old vein is later absorbed by the body.
- Surgery. Surgery is only used in severe cases where other treatments have not been successful. Surgery is not entirely necessary as spider veins pose no threat.
Do Spider Veins Come Back?
Unfortunately, spider veins can recur after treatment, especially if you have a family history of the condition. However, you can reduce your risk of recurrence by adopting healthy habits, such as getting regular exercise and eating a balanced diet.
Spider veins are usually harmless but are often removed for aesthetic reasons. Talk to your doctor about your options if you decide you would like to eliminate spider veins.