Okay, we have all seen them, some of us even have them. I’m talking about those unsightly spider and varicose veins. The very ones that make you wish swimsuit season was shorter and that pants were mandatory all year long. Instead of hibernating in your air-conditioned house this spring and summer, let’s talk about treatments and prevention for varicose and spider veins.
Spider Veins Vs. Varicose
Varicose veins are ghastly-looking red, dark blue, and flesh-colored veins that appear enlarged, ropy, twisted and bulging beneath the skin (typically on the legs). These can actually lead to aching pain, itching, and swelling in the feet and ankles.
More often than not people refer to unsightly veins in their legs as “varicose veins,” it is more likely that they have spider veins however. Spider veins are much smaller and milder than varicose veins , appearing as very thin red or blue lines or squiggles, often forming a web-like pattern along the surface of the skin.
What causes spider and varicose veins?
Varicose veins are a result of weakened valves in your legs, these weakened valves cause blood to collect and back up in your veins, opposed to flowing properly to your heart. This hitch in the process is what causes the veins to become enlarged and twisted.
We know that genetics and aging play a roll in the development of varicose and spider veins, however there are lifestyle factors that can put you at risk of developing them. Pregnancy, obesity, and standing for long periods of time are all examples of factors that can increase your risk.
During your pregnancy, it’s possible that you may notice veins popping up on your legs and also near your lady part and buttock regions. These are most commonly mild and do typically improve post pregnancy.
Spider veins are also caused by the backup of blood, so the risk factors for developing them are similar to the risk factors for varicose veins. Spider veins can also form as a result of sun exposure, injuries or hormonal changes.
Due to the hormonal components, menopause, hormone replacement therapy and taking birth control pills can all increase your risk of developing spider veins and varicose veins.
Sclerotherapy is a procedure done in a doctor’s office, where a liquid chemical is injected into the vein to close it off. The vein then fades after a few weeks. Depending on the severity of the veins being treated this procedure may need to be repeated for optimal results, typically about 4-6 weeks after the initial treatment. Due to the fact that this treatment is considered a cosmetic procedure, this will not be covered by insurance.
Remember, this is a cosmetic procedure so insurance will not cover it and treatments can be up to $1000 per session.
The goal for laser treatment of the vein is to deliver enough light/thermal energy to the vein to ultimately break up and disappear the vein all together. This will typically take several treatments to actually disappear the vein.
Lasers may be an option for those not so fond of needles, but know that lasers do not work as well for all skin types and colors.
Let’s be honest, surgery is never usually the first choice in treatment, but a great option for more severe cases of varicose veins. The procedure consists of either tying shut or entirely removing the effected veins. This procedure is typically low risk in regards to the fact that the larger veins that keep most the circulation going to the heart, are deeper in the leg, not on the surface.
Seems like a silly suggestion, I know, it won’t remove the veins but you can try hide the appearance. We know that sunless tanner is our friend when trying to mask other beauty flaws. And remember the key wording here, SPRAY TANS, don’t go out and bake your skin in the sun. We are talking about preventative measures, not putting yourself at risk for other things like sun damage, or worse skin cancer!
Find yourself in a pinch and are desperate to hide those unsightly veins? A little concealer never hurt anyone, simply apply to area and blend with a brush or makeup sponged. For best results use a yellow based concealer, the same one you would use to cover dark circles under your eye. To set the concealer be sure to dab a little powder on top and blend!
There is another option similar to this, which is a spray make up specifically formulated for legs or large body parts to give you an airbrushed look. This being a fabulous idea, it however doesn’t provide the same coverage as concealer will.
We know that genetics and hormones contribute to varicose and spider veins, however small lifestyle changes can play a huge role in the prevention of future unsightly veins and management of existing ones!
Spider veins can be caused by sun exposure, which is often the reason why some fair skinned ladies may experience tiny spider veins that appear as broken capillaries on their faces, particularly around the nose. The solution: sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen.
Go on get out there! Get that blood pumping! By exercising daily you are not only helping to promote circulation and reduce your chances of developing varicose veins, the common side effects of exercise are often weight management!
Because varicose veins and spider veins are often caused by being sedentary for long periods, your best prevention is to get up and groove! If exercise isn’t your thing, the least you can do is get up and walk to your friend’s cubicle for a little daily gossip.
Don’t Cross Your Legs
Take being lady like and throw that out the window, keep your legs uncrossed, this is not a beauty myth! Speeding long periods of time with your legs crossed can promote the formation of spider and varicose veins, by constricting blood from flowing to and from your legs and feet. So take a breath, sit up straight and plant your feet flat on the floor. If you are desperate to cross your legs, settle for crossing your ankles, now that’s lady like!
Give Your Feet a Break!
I know I just told you not to sit all day, but there is a happy medium. If you have to be on your feet all day make sure to wear shoes that give you good support, and take a few breaks to put your feet up. Yes, up, it’s important to get help keep that circulation going strong. Not only will this help your feet but the rest of your body will thank you for this moment of rest!
These fashion forward gems may not already be in your wardrobe yet, but if you find your self standing on your feet for long periods you may want to invest in these puppies! Compression socks help to prevent the blood from pooling in your legs and feet. I know you are scared of committing to these fashion forward items, there are lots of ways to conceal them, maybe under a cute pair of boots?