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Spider Veins: How to Prevent & Treat Them Before Summer Arrives

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Summer is here, and some of our patients are discovering little spider veins on their legs that, during the winter season, they didn’t notice. Now that your body is being exposed to the warm air and popped into swimwear, you might be stressing about those little tiny veins that suddenly have appeared during the winter!

What are spider veins:
Spider veins are little spindly lines that can begin to appear as early as your late 20’s in about 25% of women.

What causes spider veins?
The veins in your calf and foot push oxygen-depleted blood back up to the heart and lungs once it’s circulated through the legs. One-way valves in the veins actually prevent blood from becoming “stuck” and remaining in the area. However, as we grow older, these valves become weaker and the pooled blood enlarges the veins. Some of them become varicose veins, but many become broken capillaries. Broken capillaries just below your skin’s surface can appear due to aging, lack of exercise, prolonged standing, particularly on concrete flooring, and hormonal changes of aging and/or pregnancy.

Can you prevent spider veins?
Since some spider veins are caused by hormones, you cannot always prevent them. However, doing leg strengthening exercises during your gym sessions can help, as can elevating your legs for 20 minutes each evening if you stand a great deal during the work day. Enjoy that leg massage when your nail tech offers one during a pedicure. Avoid skin-tight clothing that restricts circulation—yes, those tight jeans might look good, but they might be squeezing your gams just a bit too tightly!

What treatments are available for spider veins?
Spider veins are unattractive, but not dangerous. They are often treated with the injection of a chemical into the area to cause the vein to collapse. This procedure is called sclerotherapy.

Another effective treatment for spider veins is laser therapy. This can be done alone or following sclerotherapy treatment to treat any veins that remain after the sclerotherapy series is completed. The laser delivers intense pulses of laser light into the veins, causing them to disappear over time. There are no needles used as in sclerotherapy and it requires only about 20 minutes per treatment.  In our practice, we favor the GentleYag Nd and Vbeam Pulsed dye lasers as the most advanced lasers for leg veins. It generally requires 3-4 treatments, and the discomfort is short-lived and mild.
With summer just around the corner, swimsuit season beckons. Don’t hide behind your towel—come in and see us about those pesky little spider veins so we can get them off your legs and out of your thoughts to help you feel confident and beautiful all summer long!