But what exactly are they? What causes them? And, more importantly, how do you make them disappear? Read on to find out.
What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are blood vessels that have become swollen and twisted. Blue in colour, they bulge out from under the skin. They can occur anywhere on the body but are most often found on the legs.
What are spider veins?
Spider veins are much smaller blood vessels that are visible through the skin. They are red in colour and are most common on the face and legs.
Why do we get spider and varicose veins?
Blood normally flows in one direction, with valves and muscles preventing backflow. A problem with the valves or surrounding muscles can cause blood to flow backwards and pool inside the vein. When this happens, pressure builds and the wall of the blood vessel weakens, causing veins to twist and bulge. Spider veins or varicose veins are then formed, depending on the size of the blood vessel and the amount of blood that pools.
What causes this weakening in the valves?
Why some people get varicose and spider veins and others don’t is not entirely clear. However, there are various risk factors –
- Genetics – if other members of your family suffer the problem, it is more likely that you will, too
- Hormones, puberty, pregnancy and menopause can all weaken the valves, as can hormones from birth control pills and HRT
- Standing – people who stand for long periods of time are more at risk of developing varicose veins
- Obesity – being overweight can make it more likely that you will develop varicose veins
- Age – you are more likely to develop varicose and spider veins as you get older
Symptoms and complications
It is not only the appearance of varicose and spider veins that makes them a problem for some people. The condition can be uncomfortable, and many sufferers experience throbbing, burning, tingling or a heavy feeling. Circulation can be affected, leading to itching and swelling. Skin can become discoloured or even ulcerated.
How do we get rid of them?
There are a number of treatments for eliminating spider and varicose veins, but the one we recommend, and the most successful is sclerotherapy.
Sclerotherapy is a highly skilled procedure that involves the injection of a solution directly into the affected vein. This destroys the blood vessel, which eventually disappears.
Our doctor, Pedro Lloret Luna, uses ultrasound sclerotherapy, which allows for even more accurate and successful results. Ultrasound technology is used to precisely guide the tiny injections. It is so accurate that even hidden varicose and spider veins that could become a problem in the future are treated. Treatment is quick and almost painless.
How long does it take for veins to disappear?
Spider veins disappear three to six weeks after ultrasound sclerotherapy, while varicose veins take three to four months.
Varicose vein treatment can completely eliminate unsightly and often uncomfortable varicose veins.
Here we see spider veins have almost vanished after treatment.
Ultrasound is used to guide the needle and to accurately target hidden varicose and spider veins.
Spider, or thread, veins on the face respond well to treatment.
Spider veins commonly appear on and around the nose. Ultrasound sclerotherapy can eliminate most of these veins.
If you have varicose or spider veins and would like to know more about treatment, book a free consultation with us today. Call 966 860 258 or fill in the form on the right.
What are Spider Veins
Spider veins are small clusters of veins close to the skin that resemble a spider web. They are caused by a back up of blood in the veins and they come in red, blue and purple.
I’ve included the illustration above because it’s important not to confuse them with varicose veins that can be indicative of greater health issues, such as heart problems or blood clots.
Spider veins are largely aesthetic.
Ways to Prevent Spider Veins
The truth is there is no sure way to prevent spider veins, but there are certainly things you can do to help.
Support or Compression Stockings
Support stockings are the lesser of two evils, since they’re a little thinner than compression stockings, and can be found as lace thigh highs. Both can increase the pressure in your legs and improve the blood circulation, hindering the chance of backed up blood in the veins.
If I had a job that required a lot of standing or I were pregnant, I would totally be rocking those compression stockings whenever possible! Or at least in the privacy of my own home.
Stop Smoking Pretty Girls!
If you are a smoker, then spider veins are the least of your concerns (yellow teeth, wrinkles, and, oh yeah, lung cancer), but if these ugly squigglies can give you an incentive to quit, then I’m happy to tell you that smokers have a larger chance of getting spider veins.
If you sit behind a desk all day, or anywhere for that matter, there’s no better way to get that blood circulating than by making time to walk around a bit.
Elevate Your Legs
If you can’t always find the time to get up and walk around, elevating your legs can help with the circulation as well (plus, if you’re in a cubicle, your cube mate is going to really appreciate this).
If you’re reading this article though your probably more interested in how to get rid of them so lets get to the heart of the matter.
Top 3 Treatments for Spider Veins
There are several options to try. I’m going to talk about the most popular first, sclerotherapy.
Sclerotherapy is a procedure that involves the injection of a chemical, directly into the vein, to cause it to collapse and go away.
How it Goes Down
The practitioner will use a needle to inject a liquid cocktail of sodium chloride and lidocaine into the vein. The sodium chloride causes the vein to swell then collapse and no longer show up under the skin. It’s not painful because the lidocaine numbs your skin as it goes in.
After the treatment you may have to wear compression stockings for a bit to keep the veins closed.
Risks of Sclerotherapy
The main risk of sclerotherapy is residual pigmentation. This means that veins go away but they leave a nice little brown line in it’s place like this:
If you end up with residual pigmentation, the only way to get rid of it is with an IPL laser. Kind of defeats the purpose. This is not common, but it did happen to a girlfriend of mine, so I know for certain that it can.
Being that there is a chance, albeit slim but still a chance, that you may end up using the IPL anyhow, I’m going to talk about the IPL treatment for spider veins next.
Cost of Sclerotherapy
It could take a few treatments to remove them all and you can expect the initial result to take 6 to 8 weeks. The cost varies depending on where you live and the area being treated, but you can count on it ranging from $300 to $500 per treatment.
Intense Pulse Light Therapy (IPL) for Spider Veins
IPL for spider veins is the delivery of intense pulsed light into the skin, which uses heat to damage the walls of the vein causing them to collapse.
How it Goes Down
The practitioner will first apply a topical anesthetic to the area being treated. If not, then I’d ask for it because even numb you’re going to feel it! The IPL device is then placed over the effected area sending light pulses into your skin.
It will feel like a rubberband snap. Not super comfortable but not terrible – unless of course you don’t have the area numbed first. But remember, you are getting rid of a spider vein (so suck it up!).
In the next 2 to 4 weeks the veins will turn a dark red then fade away. This could take several treatments depending how your skin reacts.
Risk of IPL
The only risk is that you don’t get the result that you want after just one treatment.
Cost of IPL
The cost of IPL ranges from $200 to $400.
ND:Yag Laser for Spider Veins
The ND:Yag laser coagulates and destroys spider veins.
How it Goes Down
The laser point is placed immediately over the skin being treated and you can watch the veins disappear. Others get darker then disappear within a couple of weeks. Mr. BeautyBlackBook used this on a patch of spider veins on his ankles and it worked, but he said it hurt too much and won’t go back to get the rest done!
Plus he won’t let me get a photo of them. I would anyway but he’s a pretty light sleeper so you’re going to have to take my word for it, chicas!
Risk of ND:Yag Laser
If the practitioner has the unit on too high you may blister, but that remedies itself in a few days.
Cost of ND: Yag Laser
Practitioners usually charge for this procedure in 15 minute time increments which range from $150 to $200. Mr. BeautyBlackBook did his nose and the main veins in his ankles in about 10 minutes.
I’ve never done sclerotherapy and I’ve only used IPL for hyperpygmentation or dark spots and the ND:Yag for capillaries on my nose (which I will be posting soon), so it’s hard for me to tell you which route to go.
However, I KNOW, based on my hubby’s results, I would first go with the ND:Yag, see how it worked, then I would bite the bullet and go for the sclerotherapy.
I say this because, in my particular case, IPL doesn’t have a giant effect on my capillaries on my face so I’m thinking they might not be too effective for veins on other areas on my body. However, I have never done an IPL with the main goal being veins…
Hope this eases your mind. You do NOT have to live with spider veins!xoxo