What Causes Spider Veins and How Can They Be Removed?
Most of us will experience thread veins, also commonly known as spider veins, at some point in our lives. Appearing as thin red lines, thread veins usually show up on the face and tend to congregate around the nose and across the cheeks. Unfairly, they tend to be much more common amongst women than men because hormonal changes can bring them about.
Thread veins are entirely harmless, but if you feel uncomfortable with their appearance, especially if they emerge on a prominent part of your face or body, there are ways to manage them effectively. Plus, they can arise as a sign of another skin condition, so it’s always wise to get to grips with what’s going on beneath the surface.
What causes thread veins?
Experiencing thread veins is partly genetic and partly due to lifestyle. The exact cause of spider veins isn’t fully understood. However, too much exposure to ultraviolet light, extreme temperatures, alcohol or wind all age the skin. And just like skin, thread veins lose their elasticity with age. If your skin flushes easily, the repeated stretching of the veins means they lose elasticity faster; and once veins are enlarged, they become increasingly visible on the face.
Thread veins can also appear during pregnancy because of weight gain or standing for long periods.
Thread veins can occasionally arise because of another skin condition like Rosacea that may benefit from treatment. Since Rosacea causes the skin to flush frequently, the veins are constantly being stretched, and over time, are likely to become etched into the skin. If you’re concerned, it’s vital to seek the advice of a professional for diagnosis.
How can I treat them?
While thread veins aren’t usually a cause for a medical concern, many people wish to get rid of visible veins for cosmetic reasons. Skincare won’t help, but several in-clinic treatments can effectively stop thread veins in their tracks.
ThermaVein is an industry gold standard for treating thread veins, particularly on the face. Using a process known as Thermocoagulation, a microwave current is delivered to the thread vein via a small needle. The current seals off the vein walls, leaving the dead vein to be naturally disposed of by your body.
For the next week or so, you may develop some crusting over the treated areas as it heals, and after a month, you will be able to see the final result. Sometimes, you may require a little touch-up work as some veins are just a bit more persistent than others.
Sclerotherapy is the ‘gold standard’ treatment for removing thread veins anywhere below the neck, but the treatment is mainly used when treating veins on the legs. The process involves injections of a sclerosing agent with a very fine needle. The agent irritates the lining of the veins causing the vein walls to stick together. Blood stops flowing through the thread veins, which are then absorbed by the body over a few weeks, and the blood is redirected back to the deeper veins.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
IPL is another effective option for thread veins because the light energy is attracted to the red haemoglobin pigment in the blood cells, and breaks it up so that the body can disperse it. You’ll likely need more than one treatment, depending on the extent of the veins.
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Disclaimer: Please be aware that results and benefits may vary from patient to patient taking into consideration factors such as age, lifestyle and medical history.