Spider veins (also called telangiectasias) are clusters of small, dilated blood vessels near the surface of the skin or mucous membranes, measuring between 0.5 and 1 millimeter in diameter. They are commonly referred to as spider veins because of their spiderweb-like appearance. Spider veins are typically red, blue, or purple. They can develop anywhere on the body but commonly occur on the face around the nose, cheeks, and chin. They can also develop on the legs – mainly on the upper thigh, below the knee joint, and around the ankles.
Causes of Spider Veins
Spider veins develop from structural abnormalities of blood vessels. Veins carry blood to the heart from other parts of the body. They utilize a series of one-way valves to avoid backflow of blood. When a vein’s valve becomes defective, a backflow of blood occurs within the vein. The subsequent pooling of blood and pressure increases within the vein, which weakens the blood vessel wall. Spider veins then develop from the engorgement and dilation of the affected blood vessels.
There are a variety of factors that contribute to spider veins:
- Occupations involving long periods of standing
- Hormonal influences including pregnancy, puberty, and menopause
- Use of birth control pills
- Postmenopausal hormone replacement
- History of blood clots
Other Risk Factors
Spider veins occur more often in women than men. They also increase in frequency with age. It is estimated that approximately 50 to 55 percent of women and 40 to 45 percent of men in the United States suffer from some type of vein problem.
Spider Vein Treatment
Spider veins are typically harmless and cause no other symptoms or signs other than undesirable cosmetic appearance. Because spider veins are vascular lesions, they blanch or turn white when the area is pushed on, and you can see the blood or color return when pressure is released.
At DermaHealth, we treat spider veins with laser therapy, which can be very effective. Our laser treatment works by applying heat to the veins, which damages the veins and causes scar tissue to form. The scar tissue then closes the vein; a closed vein loses its source of blood and dies, eventually causing the vein to disappear. Our laser treatment may be done in one or multiple sessions, depending on the size of the area and if the vessels are stacked, as we don’t want to put too much heat in an area at once. If the vessels are on the legs, a compression hose may be recommended. Clients who are prone to spider veins may notice recurrence as they age.
For more information and to see if you’re a candidate for our spider vein laser treatment, schedule a complimentary consultation with DermaHealth today.