A normal, but unsightly effect of aging is the development of a fine web of visible veins just beneath the skin’s surface. Because of their web-like appearance, these veins have earned the name “spider veins.” Although they aren’t attractive, it is important to understand that they pose minimal health risk, unlike varicose veins. Spider veins are, thankfully, quite easy to treat and can be avoidable by making a few changes to your lifestyle habits.
What’s the difference between varicose veins and spider veins?
The primary difference between varicose veins and spider veins is their appearance, location, and severity. Both are usually the result of a backflow of blood due to abnormally functioning valves in the veins. Varicose veins are much larger than spider veins, and often feel like cords beneath the skin. They also typically occur deeper under the skin than spider veins. Spider veins are much finer, appearing as a web of very thin lines, and occur just beneath the surface of the skin. Spider veins can either be caused by excess sun exposure, hormonal fluctuations, or injuries. While varicose veins are typically found in the thighs, inner legs, and calves, spider veins can occur anywhere on the body, but are most often found on the face, legs, and feet.
Although some people will develop spider veins no matter what they do, here are simple steps you can take that can help reduce your risk:
Regular exercise helps to regulate your cardiovascular system and promotes healthy blood flow. In particular, cardiovascular exercise that involves your legs such as walking or running may help ward off spider veins.
Because spider veins occur in the very thin, small vessels just below the skin’s surface, wearing sunscreen is essential. Be sure to apply sunscreen to all areas of your body that are exposed to the sun, and pay particular attention to your face.
Don’t cross your legs
Crossing your legs when you sit restricts the flow of blood and may also cause small injuries to your blood vessels -- resulting in spider veins. If you find yourself crossing your legs often, be sure to periodically switch which leg is on top and also spend time without your legs crossed.
Change position regularly
Sitting or standing for prolonged periods can place excess pressure on some veins. Be sure to change position regularly, and shift from one leg to the other when standing or getting up. Move every 30 minutes if you sit for extended periods.
Control your weight
Weight gain causes excess pressure on your legs, placing increased pressure on the circulatory system in the legs as well. Controlling your weight will help ease this pressure and can help support your overall health.
Reevaluate your fashion choices
High heels and skinny jeans may be fashionable, but both restrict your circulation. Wear looser pants or skirts and lower heels. Wearing support stockings rather than regular nylons or pantyhose may also help support circulatory health.
Treating spider veins
When spider veins occur despite your efforts to prevent them, there is treatment available. IPL (Intense Pulse Light) technology is the treatment of choice for spider veins. IPL uses concentrated pulses of light to safely break up or shrink the spider veins so that they disappear. The treatment is safe for all skin types, although those with fair skin often see the best results. IPL technology is similar to laser treatments, but can be fully customized by your aesthetician to meet your spider vein treatment needs. Spider veins may require a series of treatments in order to go away completely. Each treatment lasts between 15 and 45 minutes depending on the size of the treatment area.
To learn more about spider veins and IPL technology, please call Monarch SKin Rejuvenation Center today at (913) 317-9386 to schedule a consultation with one of our aestheticians.