The summer is fast approaching, and that means swimsuits and shorts for several months. Don’t let unsightly spider veins stop you from enjoying time by the water to its fullest potential.
Spider veins are a frustrating, often misunderstood skin condition that can crop up for a variety of reasons. Spider veins are often conflated with or mistaken for varicose veins, a different condition in which the veins are inflamed and become visible. While the cause for both of these conditions is quite similar, how and where they manifest is different. Spider veins can happen to anyone at any time, but there are certain circumstances that make a person far more likely to develop them.
Spider veins appear on the face, and the legs, and chances are you’ve seen or experienced them before. Unlike varicose veins, spider veins rarely elevate the skin above them, but it is possible that the skin may be slightly raised. Spider veins most commonly are red in color, but they can be darker purple or almost blue. They are named for their resemblance to spider webs, with the visible veins branching off and connecting in thin lines.
Spider veins occur when the veins in your legs stop functioning properly. Veins are meant to move in one direction, but the valves that facilitate this constant motion can break down. When this happens, the blood can flow backward and accumulate, making the veins visible through the skin. Common causes or conditions that exacerbate spider veins include pregnancy, obesity, age, genetics, and sun damage, to name a few of the most likely suspects. Spider veins are very rarely a cause for any real concern. They don’t pose a health risk, but most people find them to be unsightly. In many cases, the underlying condition that contributed to spider veins should be treated alongside the cosmetic spider veins treatment. Losing weight or better protecting your skin from sun damage will decrease the appearance of new spider veins.
So onto the important question: how do I get rid of these before it’s time to hit the beach? Thankfully, since spider veins are so common, there are a number of cosmetic solutions that are proven to work on spider veins. The easiest treatment that can help you lessen the appearance of spider veins is compression stockings. These specialized socks or stockings apply pressure to the veins in your legs and can help improve circulation, thereby reducing their visibility. While compression stockings can be purchased over the counter, it’s always best to consult a dermatologist for the best solution and advice on when to wear them and for how long.
Laser therapy has come a long way in treating cosmetic skin conditions. Spider veins are no exception. Lasers target these small veins with pinpoint accuracy and expose them to high temperatures that cause the veins to clot and dry up. After some time, the treated veins fade as they are absorbed by your body.
There are other methods for getting your legs ready for the summer, but the most tried and true treatment is sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy can be used to treat practically all spider veins and some types of varicose veins. The process is simple: a solution is injected into the spider veins that causes the walls of the vein to collapse and stick together. This prevents any blood flow through the veins and means that your spider veins will fade with time.
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