If you’ve ever looked at your skin and noticed a web of red or blue veins, you are not alone. About 50 to 55 percent of women and 40 to 45 percent of men in the United Stated suffer from some type of vein problem in their lifetime. Dr. Stephen Bajo explains more.
Have you noticed a change in appearance and coloration of your skin? You may have spider veins (sounds scarier than it is), which can develop over time depending on your lifestyle and overall health. To learn more, we reached out to Stephen Bajo, MD, of Renown Dermatology, Laser & Skin Care.
What are spider veins?
Spider veins are dilated veins that are usually red or blue. They appear close to your skin’s surface, usually on the face or legs, and look like branches or webs. They are smaller than varicose veins, which are enlarged, dilated and overfilled with blood, but spider veins are sometimes located together with varicose veins.
What causes spider veins?
While spider veins seem to be more prominent in certain people, the root cause is not known. People who are most likely to develop them are individuals who are obese, females, those who stand/walk for long periods of time, those who have experienced minor trauma and women who are pregnant. Certain forms of liver disease can lead to the development of unique spider veins.
Can spider veins be treated and is there a health benefit to treating them?
Yes, there are treatment options for spider veins, which include laser therapy or sclerotherapy, where veins are injected with a solution that shrinks and closes them. Though they are typically a cosmetic issue, treating spider veins on the face will usually reduce the “flushing” response from heat, emotions, exertion or alcohol. Most people do not experience any pain or discomfort from spider veins, but if you have veins that are enlarged and swollen, you may have varicose veins. If the vein is painful, tender to the touch, bleeding or accompanied by a rash, it’s time to get it checked out by a care provider.
Are there ways to prevent spider veins?
Previously treated spider veins should not come back. New spider veins may develop, but following a preventative skin care practice may help reduce them:
- Wear sunscreen
- Exercise regularly to improve circulation and vein strength
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Don’t cross your legs for long periods of time while sitting
- Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time