Summer is on its way and the temperatures are starting to climb. Across the US, people are breaking out their shorts and skirts and tucking their opaque tights away for the season.
But maybe not you. You might have been bothered by the appearance of veins on your legs for a while now and usually spend the summer sweltering in long pants and jeans. There's good news, though. Problem veins, such as spider veins, are often pretty easy to treat. If you'd like to get rid of your spider veins before summer rolls in, here’s what you can do.
Spider veins are small, damaged veins that often develop in the legs. They can also appear on the face. They get their name because they resemble blue/red spider webs just under the surface of the skin.
For the most part, spider veins don't cause any physical symptoms and aren't considered a medical problem. If they occur along with varicose veins, which are larger and usually bulge underneath the skin, there is a chance that they can contribute to issues such as discomfort and feelings of fatigue.
If your spider veins aren't causing your physical discomfort and are purely a cosmetic concern, you do have the option of removing them with a simple treatment.
There are a few self-care measures you can take at home to cope with spider veins. It's important to understand that at-home treatments won't get rid of visible veins. Instead, self-care treatments are meant to keep the veins from spreading or getting worse.
One thing to try is to improve the blood flow to your legs. Spider veins often develop because blood pools in the veins and isn't able to flow as it should. Elevating your legs, such as by sitting with your feet propped up, can help to keep the veins from getting worse. You can also try wearing compression stockings, which put pressure on the legs and push the blood upward toward your heart.
Sun exposure can make spider veins worse, so it's always a good idea to use sunscreen on your legs when they are exposed, as well as on your face.
If you're interested in getting rid of your existing spider veins, you'll have to see a doctor for treatment. Generally, two treatment options are available for spider veins. The treatments work by destroying the veins so that they collapse and ultimately disappear.
One of the most common treatments for spider veins is sclerotherapy. During sclerotherapy, a plastic surgeon will inject the problem veins with a chemical solution. The solution causes the veins to close and seal off. After a few weeks, they fade away.
Sclerotherapy is usually recommended for spider veins and smaller varicose veins. It's often not particularly effective on bigger veins, which usually require surgery to remove.
Laser treatments can also help to eliminate spider veins and smaller varicose veins. During treatment, a plastic surgeon directs a laser beam at the area with the problem veins. The energy from the laser causes the vein to heat up and collapse so that it eventually disappears.
Depending on how many visible veins you have and your preferences, you might decide to combine laser and sclerotherapy treatments to get the best results.
Both treatments have limited, if any downtime, and are non-invasive, so you can jump back into your daily life immediately. Some people find that they need a series of treatments to completely get rid of their spider veins. Your plastic surgeon is also likely to recommend that you wear compression stockings after each type of treatment to speed up the healing process and improve results.
Treating your spider veins with either sclerotherapy or a laser (or both treatments) will permanently destroy the treated veins. But there is a chance that new spider veins will develop in time.
If that happens, you can always choose to treat the new veins with the same options. You can also work with your plastic surgeon to develop a self-care plan that's intended to keep new veins from developing. For example, your surgeon might recommend exercising or strength training to develop the muscles in the legs and improve blood flow. If you are overweight, your surgeon might recommend losing weight to prevent the development of additional problem veins.
Dr. Haitham Masri and Dr. Fatina Masri each have more than two decades of experience performing plastic surgery and non-surgical procedures. They offer both laser treatments and sclerotherapy and can help you decide which one is the best option for you. To schedule your free patient consultation at Masri Clinic for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery in Dearborn or Birmingham, MI, call (866) 487-3223 today.