Long, thin, red lines that appear predominantly on the skin of the ankles, calves, thighs, and face are known as spider veins. While they are caused by many of the same factors, they are usually not associated with the physical pain and discomfort of larger, more pronounced varicose veins.

Instead, spider veins are mostly a cosmetic problem that most women would prefer to avoid, or if afflicted, seek an effective removal method. If you either hoping to avoid developing spider veins or have already discovered some that you would like to minimize, this information can help. 

Why do spider veins form? 

Technically, spider veins appear when small blood vessels that lie close to the skin become dilated and enlarged. Whether or not someone will develop them depends on many factors, only some of which are controllable. These factors include: 

  • genetic predisposition 
  • trauma to that area of the body
  • the aging process
  • damage from sun exposure 
  • weight gain 
  • pregnancy

While both varicose and spider veins can afflict both males and females, women are most often afflicted. According to information published by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS), approximately 4 of 10 adult women develop spider veins and/or varicose veins, with that number rising to 8 of 10 by the eight decade of life.

What can someone do to try and prevent spider veins from forming or worsening? 

Activities and circumstances that increase the amount of blood in the body or place additional pressure on the circulation system contribute to the formation of both spider veins and varicose veins. Gaining weight and pregnancy are known causes, as well as a sedentary lifestyle, so taking steps to maintain a healthy weight and engage in regular exercise are important preventatives. 

If you are already noticing the formation of small spider veins, making positive changes, such as losing weight and becoming more active, should be priorities. You may also want to start wearing compression stockings and find ways to elevate your feet every few hours when sitting or standing for long periods of time. 

Can spider veins be medically treated? 

If the spider veins are noticeable and you want to explore removing them, you may want to explore sclerotherapy or laser treatment. Both options cause a scarring action within the vein that renders it useless. Because it no longer fills with blood, it will eventually fade as the body redirects blood flow and clears away the non-working vein. 

To learn more about spider veins and your best options for preventing their development or removing them, take time to discuss your concerns and goals with a professional spider vein treatment service in your area.