5 Ways To Prevent and Treat Spider Veins

In the latest installment of "beauty problems you didn’t even realize you had to deal with," we tackle spider veins — you know, those unsightly squiggly vein marks that can show up on your legs, arms, face and feet.

“Spider veins generally only present a cosmetic concern and are caused by genetics, pregnancy, obesity, advanced age or inactivity,” says NYC dermatologist Jennifer Chwalek. “People who have occupations that involve a lot of standing, like healthcare workers, flight attendants, and hair stylists may be more at risk as well.”

Don't get them confused with varicose veins (those veins that have become enlarged and twisted), though. "Varicose veins can cause swelling, itching, throbbing pain, restless legs, and even rashes," says LA based esthetician, Gina Mari. "It's important to understand that varicose veins pose potential health risks like blood clots and leg ulcers, while spider veins are simply an annoyance."

We’ve all heard that crossing you legs will cause spider veins, but no one knows if that's actually true. “Most experts agree that genetics is the most important factor, but standing for long periods of time or crossing your legs may aggravate the condition,” she says.

Here's what you can do to prevent spider veins, or at least reduce the appearance of them:

Do the Obvious

“A healthy diet, regular walks, and elevating your feet regularly are all good for prevention,” says Mari.

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Try Stockings

“Wearing pantyhose can even help!” says Mari. Chwalek agrees, saying that wearing compression stockings or support stockings when standing for long periods of time can help to prevent veins from worsening.

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Consider Vein Shrinking...

Small spider veins can be treated with sclerotheraphy, that is, “a procedure in which we inject a sclerosing agent or detergent into the vein to cause it to gradually disappear over the course of a few weeks,” Chwalek says.

... Or a Laser

A laser can also be used to improve the cosmetic appearance of your spider veins, Chwalek says. “They sometimes require endovenous laser ablation, which is a procedure in which a laser fibre is guided into the affected vein, heats it up and closes it off.”

And If You Really Can't Stand Them

“In severe cases, surgery can be performed to ligate (tie off) veins and remove them,” says Chwalek.