What Are Spider Veins?
Have you ever noticed these tiny red, blue, or purple lines on the backs of your legs or on your face? Those little broken capillaries (thin blood vessels) are called spider veins. They tend to spread out and look like a web, which is why they are called spider veins. Spider veins are pretty common, especially in women, but men and children are prone to have them due to the fact that the causes of spider veins are so numerous. Causes include hormone changes with pregnancy or the use of birth control pills, sun exposure, minor injuries, obesity, long periods of standing or sitting, heredity and poor circulation. Spider veins themselves are not very dangerous, but they can signal underlying health conditions that should not be overlooked.
Spider Veins vs. Varicose Veins
Spider veins are very similar to varicose veins. Varicose veins are much larger and are usually more painful than spider veins. You most likely will not see varicose veins on the face, as they are the most common on the legs and feet. Most of the time, varicose veins are surrounded by spider veins and your treatment for varicose veins may be similar to your spider vein treatment.
How Do You Treat Spider Veins?
There a several options for treating spider veins. The most popular is a procedure called Sclerotherapy. During the procedure, a solution is injected into the vein. The chemicals found in the solution will shrink the vein, causing scar tissue to form. The appearance of the vein will eventually disappear. You will need to wear compression stocking for a time after the procedure to keep pressure on the legs and veins while they heal. Sclerotherapy is a very effective treatment, but it may take a few treatments to get full results.
The second option is laser vein treatment. During this procedure, a laser sends pulses of light through the skin. These pulses of light are absorbed by the blood in the capillaries. The blood clots, which causes the body to absorb the clot and the vessel, making it disappear. Laser vein treatments are used to treat small vessels and can treat more sensitive areas like the face and ankles. Just like Sclerotherapy, it may take multiple treatments to reach maximum results, but you will be able to see some improvement after the first treatment.
The third option is intense pulse light therapy, also known as IPL. It is a special light that produces multiple light waves that reach into the deeper layers of the skin without causing damage to the outer layer. The light heats the vein, causing it to collapse and form scar tissue. The vein will then disappear. IPL is very similar to laser vein treatment, with the main difference being that lasers only use one light wave, where IPL uses many light waves to heat the vein. IPL is best used to treat small veins near the surface of the skin on the face. As with the previous two options, you may need more than one treatment spaced 4 to 6 weeks apart.
There Is A Chance Your Spider Veins Will Return
All spider vein treatments work well when performed by a professional. The veins that have been treated will not come back, but that does not mean that new spider veins will not form. You should talk to your doctor about preventative measures so that your spider veins do not return. For example, if your spider veins are appearing due to obesity or prolonged sitting or standing, then you will want to take preventative measures to decrease your chance of getting new spider veins. Exercising and eating a healthy diet will help you lose weight, eliminating the excess pressure on the legs which can cause spider veins. If you have a job that has you sitting behind a desk for the biggest part of your day, take a moment to stand up and walk around every 30 minutes or as often as possible. The same applies if you stand a lot during your job. Try to take a break and sit whenever you can.
Spider veins are not necessarily a danger to your body, but they can be annoying, especially if they are on your face. Our board-certified plastic surgeons can help you eliminate those unsightly veins with IPL or laser skin treatments offered in our office. During your consultation, we will be able to further discuss your desired goals and make a treatment plan that is right for you. Contact our office today for more details!