Do visible veins or red spots on your skin make you embarrassed to show your legs? Many women and men are bothered by red skin and unsightly veins that appear on their thighs, calves, and ankles. Those bright red spots are often cherry angiomas, and visible veins are often called either varicose veins or spider veins.
Often caused by heredity, prolonged standing and sitting, hormonal changes, or other factors, most people don’t develop them until after age 30, and many people find that these symptoms become more noticeable over time.
At Reflections, we have the most advanced laser therapies available to make you want to show off your legs again!
- Can you fix varicose veins on your own?
No. You can do your best to avoid them but once they are there, they need medical treatment by a vein specialist to safely and effectively remove them.
- What is the main cause of varicose veins?
Increased blood pressure in the legs causes veins there to bulge, creating varicose veins. This is typically due to poor circulation and lack of exterior support to these veins (that's why compression socks and stockings can help prevent them). Poor circulation can be impacted by infrequently moving, standing all day, poor health, and general aging.
- How can I stop varicose veins from progressing?
Get to and maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle. Avoid a high salt or cholesterol-elevating diet. Avoid smoking - that both raises your blood pressure and reduces the flexibility of veins, so this one is big for vein health. Avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time. Elevate your feet regularly to help fluids move throughout the body. Avoid Spanx and overly tight clothing that's tight in one particular area vs. compression garments like stockings and compression socks that can help support good circulation. Consider improving the collagen in the skin of your legs with a collagen-induction treatment like Sofwave, Ultherapy, Microneedling, or a laser. Increasing the collagen support in the skin will provide superficial veins with some additional resistance to help prevent them from becoming varicosed.
- Can skin cancer look like a cherry angioma?
Yes - there is a potential that the spot you think is a cherry angioma is not. Certain skin cancers can appear as red dots on the skin. This is why it's important to see a dermatologist for regular skin cancer screenings. We are not dermatologists and often send our patients to see one in case there is any question of whether a spot is skin cancer or some other skin disease.
However, when it comes to varicose veins, we often refer to a vein specialist, as they can be very complex to treat and require special care to ensure safe treatment.
With the advent of laser therapy for unsightly veins and skin redness, treatment options are better than ever before. At Reflections, we offer the most advanced vascular lasers in the world. With laser treatment, there is no downtime and the use of compression stockings following your procedure is not necessary.
Understanding the Causes of Varicose Veins, Broken Capillaries, Spider Veins, & Red Spots on the Legs
There are two main types of veins that bother people on their legs: spider veins (also called broken capillaries or thread veins) and varicose veins.
Varicose veins, which are larger, darker in color, and usually bulging, are distended veins beneath the skin. They often cause discomfort and may require surgery.
Spider veins (also called “thread veins”) or telangiectasias, are tiny visible blood vessels just beneath the surface of the skin that may appear red, purple, or blue.
Cherry angiomas are essentially abnormal arteries (red blood vessels) that grow so close to the skin’s surface where the red blood cells are visible through the skin. They can feel textured differently from the surrounding skin, or not. They are not medically dangerous (benign), but some people do find them unappealing and choose to remove them. They are often caused by small traumas and most often don’t change much over time.
Lasers offer the best treatment for these small abnormal blood vessel growths because lasers allow us to superheat the red blood cells in that vessel, essentially vaporizing and closing off the abnormal part that is visible. The treatment is incredibly quick (fractions of a second), safe for all skin types and tones, and doesn’t even require numbing.
The best treatments for spider veins are lasers, and we offer some of the most state-of-the-art platforms available for visible vein treatment.
The Vbeam laser delivers an intense but gentle burst of light, which is absorbed by undesirable blood vessels on the surface of the skin, causing spider veins and broken capillaries to fade away. Introduced in the 1980s, the Vbeam is one of the safest and most widely used lasers in aesthetic medicine today. We have both the Perfecta and newer Prima at our offices. The Prima upgrade to the VBeam laser allows for us to more aggressively treat a wider variety of symptoms on a wider variety of skin types.
Another advanced laser treatment for leg veins is the GentleYAG, a revolutionary high energy laser. The GentleYAG emits a controlled beam of light that harmlessly passes through the skin where it is absorbed by hemoglobin in the blood vessels. The laser energy is transformed into heat, affecting the unwanted blood vessels while leaving the surrounding skin unaffected.
Cherry angiomas are small red spots on the skin and can easily be removed with certain types of lasers.
The VBeam laser has been the world’s best vascular laser for over 20 years. This laser has a setting that allows it to selectively target only red – and that allows us to vaporize cherry angiomas and other redness within the skin. Since cherry angiomas are small abnormalities, we can safely remove these quickly and with very little discomfort, without the need for numbing or downtime.
Sometimes, an area is more stubborn and needs more than one session. Your doctor will help you understand what to expect in terms of the number of sessions and timing of treatments during your free consultation.
The physicians at Reflections work with well known vascular surgeons who are experts in sclerotherapy, and we’re always happy to offer a referral to a physician in your area. However, we have stopped offering this treatment and most treatments for varicose veins at our offices.
Sclerotherapy involves injections of a specialized agent to collapse the veins so that they fade away. It normally takes multiple treatments spaced four to six weeks apart to achieve the goal. A typical sclerotherapy session takes about 30 minutes and involves a series of 20 to 40 injections into the unwanted veins. Additional treatments may be required in the future, as new veins commonly appear.
One of the potential drawbacks to sclerotherapy is the development of long-lasting brown discoloration on the skin after the injections. Another possible complication is “matting” in which a group of tiny red blood vessels develops around the treatment area.
We do not provide this treatment at this time.
- What are the risk factors for varicose or spider veins?
- Increasing age
- Having family members with vein problems
- Hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, or from birth control pills
- Increased amount of blood and pressure of the expanding uterus during pregnancy
- Obesity, leg injury, prolonged standing, and other things that weaken vein valves
- Why do varicose veins and spider veins appear?
The force of gravity, the pressure of body weight, and the tough task of carrying blood from the legs to the heart are all responsible.
- What are the signs of varicose veins?
The symptoms of varicose veins can include:
- Aching pain
- Easily tired legs
- Leg heaviness
- Swelling in the legs
- Darkening of the skin (in severe cases)
- Numbness in the legs
- Itching or irritated rash in the legs
- How can I prevent varicose and spider veins?
You can take these steps to help prevent visible veins and circulation problems:
- Exercise regularly to improve your leg strength and circulation
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Do not cross your legs when sitting
- Elevate your legs when resting as much as possible
- Do not stand or sit for long periods of time
- Wear elastic support stockings and avoid tight clothing around the waist or legs
- Eat a low-salt, high-fiber diet
- What is the difference between spider and varicose veins?
Spider veins, also called telangiectasias, are tiny visible vessels just underneath the skin. They develop most commonly on the face and legs. Varicose veins are distended veins beneath the skin. They may appear as bluish bumps and often cause discomfort. Those with unsightly varicose veins and aching pain often choose to visit a vascular specialist for surgery or endovenus therapy to remove them. If you have both varicose and spider veins, your varicose veins must be treated first. Treating spider veins first is not recommended because, in the presence of varicose veins, they are bound to return.
With Reflections’ approach to treating unsightly leg veins, you will get a boost in confidence when it’s time to show your legs! Broken capillaries and visible veins can be caused by a variety of factors, so we offer a variety of treatments to effectively target the root causes. Our team of cosmetic physicians and laser specialists has researched the newest and best treatment plans to offer you efficient and effective care. Our many treatment options will also help us find the best treatment for you, based on your symptoms and treatment goals.
At Reflections Center, you will also be treated by a certified physician who has an in-depth understanding of human anatomy and the technologies used to treat redness and spider veins. You can be certain that the treatment you receive is safe and performed with the highest level of care and knowledge.
With Reflections’ approach to treating unsightly leg veins, you will get a boost in confidence when it’s time to show your legs! Allow us to customize a treatment plan that’s perfect for your budget, lifestyle, comfort level, and goals. You can develop your treatment plan at your free consultation with one of Reflections’ cosmetic physicians. Schedule your consultation by giving us a call or filling out an online form.
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Dr. Mitchell Chasin founded Reflections Center for skin & body as a place where physicians specializing in cosmetic medicine could focus on helping empower patients to feel their most beautiful. Dr. Chasin believes strongly that the best cosmetic physicians are those who are dedicated to mastering their craft through continuing education and collaboration with the industry’s top doctors.