Spider veins appear when the veins in your legs become damaged. Normally, small valves direct blood towards the heart. Blood can begin to flow backward when these valves weaken, building up until the venous walls weaken. Veins can twist, bulge, and appear as web-like blue, red, or flesh-colored lines across the skin. Fortunately, there are different forms of spider vein treatment to help improve your appearance and symptoms such as pain and fatigue.
To address spider veins on your own, some tips to improving circulation include elevating your legs and getting some exercise. Walking a bit every 30 minutes can help if you sit for long periods of time. If you stand for long periods, sit down every 30 minutes. Long hot baths can cause problems if you have circulation issues, so avoid these if you have spider veins.
If you’re looking for professional treatment, a spider vein dermatologist can provide the following:
A dermatologist can perform a thorough examination to determine the size of compression stockings you need, and the right amount of pressure to apply. The pressure is what helps move blood along. Although the stockings don’t eliminate visible veins, they can reduce lower leg swelling and the risk of blood clots.
Sclerotherapy is essentially a chemical injection. Injecting chemicals irritates the wall of the vein and causes scarring, which closes the affected vessel. Blood must then reroute to healthier veins. It can take a few weeks for treated veins to fade.
During treatment, the chemical is injected into different parts of the vein and the dermatologist may massage the area as well. No anesthesia is required; the procedure is often done in a doctor’s office. The dermatologist then places a compression stocking on the treated leg and observes your condition, while you can usually resume work and other activities a day later. Compression stockings are usually worn for about two to three weeks.
Sclerotherapy may result in side effects such as swelling, itching, and changes in skin color near the injection site.
Directing focused laser light on a spider vein can cause it to immediately darken. Treatment requires no needles or incisions. It may take anywhere from one to three months for the vein to disappear. Complete clearing may require multiple treatments, but most people can resume a normal schedule the next day.
After treatment, you may need to wear compression stockings. Sun protection is a must; your dermatologist may suggest keeping the area covered for three to four weeks. Otherwise, dark spots can form, while year-round sun protection can prevent new spider veins from appearing.
Some of the latest treatment options include endovenous laser therapy, for spider veins, and radiofrequency ablation for treating larger varicose veins. These treatments destroy a vein by working inside it, avoiding surgical removal. This kind of laser therapy involves local anesthesia, a small incision, and insertion of a laser fiber or catheter into the vein. Once the device is activated, the vein heats up, collapses, and seals shut without damage to surrounding tissues.
The Laser & Dermatology Institute of California specializes in various types of spider vein treatment, including a 1064 nm Nd:YAG non-ablative laser and intense pulsed light. We offer a range of skin treatment services to clients in Southern California at LDI of Covina. To speak to our spider vein dermatologist and schedule a consultation, call 866-478-7837.