What Are Spider Veins?
Spider veins on the legs are the small, annoying squiggly ones on your legs (the ones that make you think twice when ditching the hosiery in summer). They form when excess blood backs up in the blood stream; the body releases this pressure by developing new veins. Sadly, they are tough to prevent since they are mostly related to our genetics and hormones.
What Causes Spider Veins?
People with family history of spider veins are more likely to develop the same condition themselves. For this reason, if you suffer yourself, we recommend you pass this advice onto your daughters!
Women are more prone to spider veins than men, possibly because the superficial veins are closer to the surface of the skin and therefore more noticeable, but this also due to female oestrogen levels. Many women notice more spider veins occurring after starting a birth control or oestrogen replacement and certainly after child birth. Occupations that require you to stand still for long periods of time, i.e. hairdressers, teachers or shop staff can also be a factor.
How to Prevent Spider Veins
Treatments are available to remove spider veins, but as with everything, prevention is always better than cure! Here are our top tips:
- There may be a link to sun exposure, so applying a high SPF sun screen can help.
- Avoid standing for long periods of time. Move! Jog on the spot, practicing discreet heel lifts or go for it with star jumps! This will increase blood flow.
- Take regular exercise; your calf muscles pump blood out of your legs so use them more! Try walking, swimming or cycling regularly.
- If you have a desk job, move your ankles (flex and extend) 15 times every 30 minutes to pump blood out of your legs.
- Watch your weight! Being over-weight causes your circulatory system to work over time. This increases the inside pressure of the leg veins.
- Make a habit of not crossing your legs. Squeezing the legs in this way slows the upward flow of blood back to the heart and increases the pressure on the insides of the leg veins.
- Avoid high heels; they place excess stress on your lower legs can which can cause a constriction in blood flow from the leg back to the heart.
- Relaxing? Raise your legs up 6 to 12" above your heart when you are lying down. This allows the blood in the lower legs to flow easily back to the heart, and lessens the work of the valves.
- Reduce or remove salt in your diet; it can cause water retention and put pressure on veins.
- Ditch the non-stretch jeans and any clothing that restricts venous blood flow in your legs.
- If used regularly, horse chestnut, horsetail and witch hazel can help. Vitamin C will also be beneficial in your daily diet. These supplements will help strengthen the integrity of the capillaries, reduce inflammation and aid in healing.
- Instead of opaque tights, try compression stockings which offer graduated compression (tighter in the feet area, and looser up on the leg). These are stocked by most fashion hosiery suppliers.
- Get a leg massage. When you're next watching TV next to your loved one, get them working your calf muscles (tell them they are helping keep your legs beautiful!)
Laser Treatment for Spider Veins
Conventionally, veins are usually treated with surgery or sclerotherapy, which in itself can cause scaring, hyper pigmentation and brown staining and in some cases skin necrosis, the breaking down of the skin.
Spider veins can be successfully treated with the newest technology available today; the Fotona XP Max Nd:Yag, which doesn't have these risks.
This is also ideal for treating reticular veins and thread veins because it provides minimal down time. This procedure is effective and efficient in between 1-3 treatments, depending on the depth of the veins and the overall skin condition. We also have the option of using IPL (Intense Pulsed Light ). IPL works much more effectively on finer veins associated with Rosacea.
This mixture of lasers and IPL s means that a wide variety of vascular concerns from:
- Deep blue veins
- Smaller surface thread veins
- Spider veins
All these very common complaints can all be treated in an extremely efficient way here at the Clinic. There is no need for incision and it leaves no scarring. To achieve the best results however, most patients need a treatment that combines both IPL and Nd Yag.
At your complimentary consultation, one of our experienced and fully trained practitioners will assess your suitability for laser treatment, and will commence with a patch test as a further safety measure. They will then guide you through the treatment to ensure you are happy and informed, managing your expectations every step of the way to a beautiful clear complexion or vein free legs!