What Causes Spider Veins? Prevention and Treatment Options
Do you notice small veins appearing under the surface of your skin? Perhaps, you might be manifesting early signs of varicose veins, also known as spider veins. According to experts, the formation of these veins commonly happens due to blood flow constriction. However, in some cases, spider veins in the body might indicate an underlying disease. This article will discuss what causes spider veins and the different ways to help prevent and resolve their progression.
What Are Spider Veins?
A group of tiny, damaged veins that occur on the surface of the legs or your face are known as spider veins. As its name suggests, spider veins appear as networks of tiny threads, branches, or lines that closely resemble spider webs. Sometimes, they come in different colors, such as purple, blue, or red.
Since they are rarely uncomfortable or dangerous, some people may prefer to have them treated for cosmetic purposes. However, spider veins can progress as varicose veins and become very painful in time. It can lead to complications such as open sores or blood clots on your legs.
Spider veins may be removed or faded through minimal invasive care. Treatment can also help to alleviate problems such as pain and nausea, as well as avoid complications.
What Causes Spider Veins?
Spider veins are known to occur when the valves inside the veins fail to work. It is common knowledge that blood travels to the heart via the veins. Every vein has a one-way valve that closes after blood passes through to help keep blood from flowing backward. When a person’s blood vessels are weak, a backflow of blood may happen, which causes blood clots and blockage. The excess pool of blood adds extra pressure to our blood vessels. In time, the vein walls bulge, resulting in the formation of varicose veins.
On the other hand, spider veins in the face are often due to a sudden burst of small blood vessels. It can come from sun damage, hormonal changes, or an injury.
Who Can Have Spider Veins?
Generally, anyone can develop spider veins, especially when there is weakening within their blood vessels. However, some individuals are more prone to forming these veins than others. According to some studies, you are more likely to develop spider veins through heredity. So, if vein issues run in your family, there is a higher chance that you might have them as well.
In most cases, many people develop spider veins as a result of spending most of their time sitting or standing for long periods. Moreover, these veins become more prominent with age and pregnancy.
What Are the Different Treatment Options?
Spider veins, while usually harmless, maybe bothersome and cause aesthetic disturbances. Luckily, there are several treatment options for spider veins ranging from home remedies to surgical treatments. Depending on the severity of your condition, you may choose one or more from the following:
For minor cases, your dermatologist might suggest at-home remedies to improve your blood flow. Simple exercises and activities such as walking and elevating your legs can offer more benefits than you might expect. If you happen to sit or stand for long hours, consider taking a break every thirty minutes to stimulate blood circulation. Additionally, it is essential to refrain from soaking in hot baths for a significant amount of time.
Although, according to experts, while self-caring can help you stay clear from getting spider and varicose veins, it would not help you get rid of the ones you currently have.
Compression socks or stockings apply steady pressure on the veins of the lower legs. This pressure will help increase blood supply and help move blood back to your heart, preventing spider or varicose veins. Compression stockings can also reduce the risk of blood clots in the legs by reducing leg swelling.
Your dermatologist will check you if you need compression stockings. He or she will examine your condition to get the right fit and level of strain necessary. The different types of compression socks include the following:
This type of stockings is widely available in shopping stores, particularly in the ladies’ section. You can also purchase it online if you’d like. However, support pantyhose is only advisable for minor spider veins as it only provides light pressure.
Gradient Compression Socks
Like support pantyhose, gradient compression stockings apply a minimum amount of pressure to support your ankles, knees, and calves. Specialty shops, pharmacies, and medical stores usually offer this type of socks.
Prescription Compression Stockings
Prescription stockings help improve your blood flow, especially in severe cases of varicose veins. Compared with other compression stockings, prescription socks exert the most force on the legs and feet, making it a standard recommendation by medical professionals. They are available in a variety of strengths and sizes, as well as footless versions. However, this type of socks is only suitable for some people. Those with heart disease or other cardiovascular issues are requested to refrain from using these stockings to avoid the possibility of heart problems or heart failure. Therefore, this is commonly regulated and will only be allowed with a prescription from medical experts.
Many people have been using sclerotherapy to remove their spider veins. Sclerotherapy is a procedure that involves the administration of an irritant directly into the veins. It follows the concept that when the vein walls become irritated, it tends to stick together, preventing blood from flowing. Sclerotherapy allows the vein’s walls to attach, which restricts blood flow. This process increases circulation and decreases swelling in the affected limbs.
Dermatologists have further developed sclerotherapy to make it safer and allow better patient outcomes. Today, it continues to be one of the most chosen treatment options to eliminate spider veins. However, this method may require several therapy sessions to achieve the desired results. Often, spider veins treated with sclerotherapy should fade after two to three treatments.
The closure system follows a similar technique as that of sclerotherapy, which involves injecting a substance into the affected vein. This binding agent closes the vein from blood flow, improving the appearance of spider veins. Depending on the severity of your condition, a single session using this method can help alleviate swelling and shrink the veins.
Usually, the treatment is carried out in dermatology clinics as it does not require anesthetics. Following your sessions, your dermatologist might ask you to wear compression stockings for several weeks to help with the circulation process.
Dermatologists suggest laser therapy to treat spider veins that appear less than 3 millimeters in diameter and near the skin’s surface. The treatment involves using a powerful and concentrated beam of light that clots and dries up the spider vein.
For patients who prefer a non-invasive method, laser therapy is your perfect choice. It does not involve any injection of a substance, unlike that of sclerotherapy or closure system. During the session, the dermatologist directs the laser to the target areas. The light destroys the vein without causing damages to your skin. After the treatment, you will be able to see immediate results.
Endovenous Laser Therapy
Endovenous laser therapy is an advanced procedure for spider veins and other minor types of varicose veins. During this treatment, the healthcare provider creates a small incision in the target area where laser fiber insertion occurs. By applying heat directly to the veins, the laser causes the vein to collapse. However, it may take several months or even a year for the vein to dissolve.
While specific surgical therapies for more prominent varicose veins may be successful, doctors rarely use them on spider veins. Since spider veins are thin, they often react well to the less invasive treatments mentioned above.
How Can I Prevent Spider Veins?
If you want to prevent new spider veins or stop the worsening of existing ones, specific lifestyle changes are essential. These include the following:
It would be best to practice applying sunscreen, particularly in the face, to avoid spider veins. Additionally, it is essential to use clothing and protective gear to shield you from the sun when outdoors, especially for extended periods.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Aside from its overall health benefits, maintaining a healthy weight can help lower the pressure on your veins. A perfectly balanced diet can improve your blood flow and minimize the chances of developing spider veins.
Staying mobile is one of the best ways to prevent spider veins. Standing or sitting for long periods without taking a rest leads to pressure build-up on your blood vessels. According to experts, getting up and taking a stroll more frequently will help improve your circulation. Physical activity is an essential practice that could get rid of blood from pooling in your legs.
Wear Comfortable Clothing
Wearing clothes that are too close around your knees, waist, or pelvis will limit blood flow, leading to the formation of spider veins. As much as possible, please wear comfortable clothing to reduce the risk of getting them.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
For some people, drinking alcohol can encourage flushing in the face. This effect could lead to a sudden burst of blood vessels, which causes spider veins. Moreover, limiting alcohol intake will prevent varicose development and provide numerous health benefits to an individual.
Consult with A Specialist
Spider veins pose a higher risk for those who have skin conditions, such as rosacea. To protect yourself from varicose formation, you may want to consult with your dermatologist or healthcare provider and discuss the necessary treatment options.
Wrapping It Up
Broken veins or bursting of blood vessels are the leading causes of spider vein formation. While spider veins are usually painless and pose no health risks, many people still prefer to undergo treatments because of cosmetic reasons.
Several treatment options are available to either reduce the appearance of spider veins or to eliminate them. If you happen to develop spider veins or want to prevent having them, you should seek the advice of a certified healthcare provider before undergoing any surgical procedures. For best results, be sure to consult with the one specializing in dermatology, vein management, or cosmetic or plastic surgery.