30 Jun How to Treat Spider Veins
What are spider veins?
Spider veins (or telangiectases) are clusters of small enlarged superficial blood vessels which develop close to the surface of the skin making them easily visible. They tend to affect women more than men, and most commonly occur on the legs, but can also occur on the face. They are sometimes referred to as broken veins, thread veins or surface veins. The exact cause of spider veins is not known but is likely to be hereditary in many cases. They can develop in pregnancy and with hormonal changes like menopause. Sun damage also plays a role, especially for veins appearing on the face. Spider veins increase in number with age and they very rarely disappear without treatment.
Spider veins are generally red, blue or purple in colour and are often grouped together to look like spider webs. They range from small, barely noticeable marks to larger and more obviously visible veins. Although spider veins are generally harmless and don’t cause any symptoms, many people are very pleased to be offered a solution to improve their appearance. It is recommended to have them checked out by a specialist skin care clinic for correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment. When spider veins appear on the leg, an ultrasound scan will often be organised by the treating doctor to assess involvement of any deeper vessels.
How do spider veins develop?
Spider veins develop when the valves and walls of the small veins are weakened. This can be due to weakening and reduction in collagen and elastin, hereditary factors, hormones and increased pressure in deeper vessels. Blood pooling in the superficial vessels increases the pressure in the veins which causes them to become permanently enlarged and visible.
Are spider veins and thread veins the same?
Yes. Thread veins is just another term for small superficial veins which have grown much bigger than their usual size.
Are spider veins and varicose veins the same?
No. Varicose veins are large, raised and swollen blood vessels with a ropey appearance whereas spider veins are much smaller, flat and are seen just below the skin. Varicose veins are more likely to cause symptoms, like a feeling of heaviness and discomfort due to swelling in the legs. Treatment may be necessary for varicose veins to prevent them worsening and leading to more serious risks like inflammation and blood clots. Dr Hugo offers non-surgical treatments for Varicose veins at Elysium Skin Centre.
How can I prevent spider veins developing?
Since the cause of spider veins is not well understood, there is no guaranteed way of preventing them. However, to lower the risk of them developing, the following is recommended:
- Avoid standing still for long periods of time
- Avoid crossing your legs for long periods of time
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Stay physically fit
- Wear support stockings
- Avoid sun damage on the face and legs
Can I just apply some cream to my skin to make the veins disappear?
As much as we would love to have an easy home remedy for this problem, to date there is no scientific evidence to suggest that any of the over the counter remedies for spider veins help with this problem. However, if you don’t want your veins treated, Dr Csilla recommends a spray tan on the legs and concealing makeup on the face to help camouflage the red/blue/purple colour of the veins.
How are spider veins treated?
Spider vein treatments are relatively easy and effective, although it is very common for new veins to appear at a later stage which will require additional treatments.
- Excel V Laser: This is a specialised vascular laser that specifically targets haemoglobin pigment in red blood cells, using heat to destroy the abnormal veins. It is a simple and quick solution, and is particularly effective in treating spider veins on the face. For more information visit our Excel V Laser page.
- Microsclerotherapy: This treatment is the gold standard for treating spider veins, especially those on the legs. Different solutions can be used to destroy the veins. While traditionally this was commonly a strong concentration of salt solution, Dr Hugo prefers to use more advanced and effective foam solutions. Tiny needles are used to inject the solution along the length of any visible spider veins. The treatment is not painless but only feels like minor stings. Pressure is applied after the injections to assist the solution to sclerose the veins. Visit our Microsclerotherapy page to find out more.
Where can I get treatments for spider veins in Brisbane?
Elysium Skin Centre offers simple and effective treatments for spider veins. Dr Csilla, Dr Hugo and our experienced team are committed to helping you look your very best. Elysium Skin Centre is located opposite the Royal Brisbane and Womens Hospital, just a short drive from the Brisbane CBD. Book a consultation today to discuss the best course of action for treating spider veins.