Known medically as telangiectasia, you most likely know these annoying and unpleasant-looking marks at the surface of the skin as spider veins. The name comes from their weblike structure, although some may also refer to them as thread veins. Spider veins can be blue, purple, or red in appearance and are most frequently seen in the legs of females.
Fortunately for most people, spider veins don’t cause any discomfort. However, that doesn’t mean we have to like or even tolerate them. Particularly for women, the appearance of spider veins can take a toll on self-confidence. When we are self-conscious, we can’t live our best lives.
You’ve heard things like “look good, feel good” and “you are what you eat.” As cliché as those statements may sound, clichés exist for a reason. The way we feel about ourselves plays a major role in our overall mental health. One way to proactively promote our own self-confidence is to form habits that can prevent unwanted outcomes.
A common unwanted outcome of aging for women is the onset appearance of spider veins. If we understand the what, why, and how behind spider veins, we can learn the best ways to prevent them from spreading or showing up in the first place.
The What: What’s Happening in the Body?
Arteries and veins are the blood vessels that circulate blood throughout our bodies. Arteries pump blood from the heart throughout the body. Consequently, veins circulate or pull blood back to the heart. Veins depend on one-way valves to keep the blood flowing in the right directions throughout our bodies.
Spider veins form when this circulatory process isn’t working properly. For example, our veins and valves can weaken. This can lead to blood that is on its way to the heart potentially leaking backward in the wrong direction. With nowhere else to go, this backflow of blood can collect and pool, making the vein congested.
When a congested vein enlarges it can become a spider vein. It’s true that most people don’t experience any discomfort and seek cosmetic treatment. There are some scenarios in which spider veins need to be removed for the health of the patient.
The Why: What Causes Spider Veins?
Now that we know what is going on internally, let’s determine why our veins and valves may not be functioning properly. Doctors may not be able to pinpoint the exact cause of every spider vein, but we know that they can be caused by one or a combination of the following:
- Being overweight. This characteristic can put additional pressure on the veins potentially contributing to weaker vessels and circulation.
- Existing skin or medical conditions. Conditions such as rosacea commonly produce visible blood vessels and inflammation putting you at higher risk for facial spider veins.
- Genetics. There is not a study to explain why, but spider veins are known to affect members of the same family. For this reason, we professionally assume that spider veins can be hereditary. Individuals may be born with weak valves and blood vessels.
- Getting weaker with age. As we get older, blood vessels and valves of the circulatory system may weaken as a natural effect of the aging process.
- Hormonal changes. Spider veins may be a result of hormonal changes that occur throughout women’s lives during pregnancies and menopause.
- Hormonal supplementation. Pills or vitamins such as birth control, estrogen, and progesterone supplements also impact the balance of hormones in your body.
- Injury or trauma to the area. An injury such as a broken bone in the leg has the definite potential to affect the veins surrounding the area of trauma.
- Prolonged exposure to the sun. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can harm our skin, and our veins are superficial as well. Broken blood vessels from sun damage may result in the formation of spider veins.
- Poor circulation. Gravity works against our veins when we stand for prolonged periods. Those who habitually stand on their feet or remain in a sedentary position for the majority of their days might have veins and valves that can’t keep up with gravity.
The How: How Can You Prevent Spider Veins From Spreading?
Knowing the different causes of spider veins will help you prevent them from developing, but there are also some simple and proactive steps you can take. As you’re learning how to prevent spider veins from forming and to keep existing spider veins from further spreading, follow the tips below:
- Avoid tight clothing. This could cut off circulation and restrict proper blood flow.
- Balance your hormones as best you can. If you feel that your hormonal changes are putting you at risk for spider veins, ask your doctor to help determine if your balance is off and make any necessary adjustments.
- Elevate your legs when resting. Do this to combat the effects of gravity.
- Keep your legs moving. Activity promotes a healthy heart and circulatory system.
- Maintain a healthy weight. This aids in not putting extra pressure on your veins.
- Stay hydrated. Consume enough water each day to keep your heart healthy.
- Use sunscreen. Protect yourself from sun damage, especially around your face.
- Visit your dermatologist annually. Always keep medical treatments an option.
- Wear compression stockings. This helps if you stand for prolonged periods at your job.
Beyond Prevention: How Do You Treat Spider Veins?
Prevention is important, but the best way to address existing spider veins is through trusted medical intervention therapy. We offer individualized treatment plans with multiple methods to achieve your desired results.
Once spider veins are treated and removed, the prevention methods above are great practices to help keep spider veins from returning. Contact us at 561-624-0123 or click to schedule your free consultation with the vein specialists at Medicus Vein Care.