Doesn’t it seem like there is always something new to deal with as you get older? Just as you get excited to put on that pair of running shorts and hit the gym, you notice yet another varicose or spider vein–enough to ruin your desire to bare your legs. What are they, and how can they be treated? Let’s talk about treating spider and varicose veins and the many common myths that can steer people in the wrong direction.
- Spider veins, also known as roadmap veins, are very tiny superficial blood vessels that increase in size over time and commonly occur on the legs.
- Women, people who have a blood relative with the condition and workers who stand regularly in their jobs are more susceptible to spider veins.
- Heredity accounts for 80 percent of people who develop spider veins. Yes, blame your mother — this one really is her fault.
- Tanning does not hide the appearance of spider veins. In fact, excessive sun exposure can cause spider veins since harmful ultraviolet light breaks down collagen, which composes the walls of spider veins, and can cause thinning and spreading of the veins.
- Crossing your legs does not cause spider veins.
- Gaining a lot of weight does not cause spider veins. In fact, weight loss can make a person more prone to spider veins, as it causes the skin to collapse and reveal what is underneath.
- Vitamin supplements do not prevent spider veins.
- Sclerotherapy is considered the gold standard in treating people with spider veins. This procedure allows large areas of the veins to be treated efficiently with hair-thin needles containing a sclerosing solution, which irritates the lining of the vessel causing it to swell, stick together and the blood to clot. In a matter of weeks, the vessel turns into scar tissue that eventually fades and becomes barely noticeable.
- Varicose veins are larger, dilated blood vessels that can be raised above the skin’s surface and have a rope-like appearance.
- Most varicose veins stem from a hidden vein trunk beneath the skin’s surface that must be treated for any procedure to be successful.
- Laser therapy is one of the latest treatments for varicose veins, in which tiny laser fibers are delivered to the vein through a needle puncture that is thread up to the main vein trunk responsible for these veins.
- Another new therapy for treating varicose veins is radiofrequency. During this procedure, radiofrequency energy converted to heat is used to collapse the vein – which is then reabsorbed by the body.
American Academy of Dermatology
If you are wanting to treat your leg veins, this is the time of year to do it. I don’t offer these treatments but If you need referrals give me a call!