Are you hesitant to go to the beach due to the presence of obvious clusters of veins that are forming an unsightly pattern on your legs? Or maybe you are embarrassed by a fine, reddish sunburst mark on your nose or cheek that ages you that much more?
Frequently seen in the general population, these vascular blemishes, or spider veins do not cause physical discomfort and pose no medical threat. However, for those of us who have them, they can be a significant source of dissatisfaction, leading insecurity and a reluctance to show the legs. Fortunately, there are cosmetic treatments that can diminish and reduce these unattractive, discolored threads.
What Causes Spider Veins?
Spider veins, medically known as telangiectasias, are small dilated blood vessels located near the surface of the skin. These characteristically small, purple and/or red filaments can develop anywhere on the body, but are most commonly seen on the face and on the legs, particularly on the upper thigh, below the knee joint, and around the ankles.
There is no single cause of spider veins, but certain risk factors can predispose an individual to the development of them. In the legs, the presence of underlying varicose veins–large bulging, knotted veins that arise due to poor circulation and pooled blood in the vein–may contribute to the appearance of spider veins. However, spider veins are not always associated with visible varicose veins and may exist independently of swollen blood vessels. Some factors that may increase the occurrence of spider veins include:
- Genetics. Recognized as one of the most influential factors, heredity plays a key role in the formation of spider veins. If you have a family history of spider veins, you are more likely to develop them.
- Age. Spider veins are frequently an age-related issue, commonly appearing in individuals over 50. However, individuals may see them as early as their twenties.
- Hormonal fluctuations. In general, women tend to have spider veins more often than men. Often seen as the result of pregnancy, hormone fluctuations are considered to be linked to the emergence of spider veins.
- Lifestyle. Occupation, consistently long periods of standing, physical inactivity and sun damage may cause spider veins to take shape.
Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank discusses Treatments for Spider Veins
Spider Vein Treatment with Dr. Frank
Although there is no sure-fire way to prevent new spider veins from appearing, there are treatments available to minimize and reduce existing spider veins. In his practice, Dr. Frank uses the most advanced sclerotherapy and laser techniques to treat spider veins.
- Sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy is the "gold standard" and is preferred over laser for reducing telangiectasia and smaller varicose leg veins. During sclerotherapy, Dr. Frank will inject the vein with a saline solution, which causes the veins to collapse. The injections are relatively painless, with most patients reporting a mild stinging sensation*. Most patients are responsive to sclerotherapy.
- Laser treatment. Less frequently, Dr. Frank may use the VBEAM laser to treat broken capillaries on the face or complement sclerotherapy. In this non-invasive treatment, Dr. Frank will zap the vein with the high energy laser pulse, which causes it to fade.
Multiple treatments may be needed to improve spider veins, particularly in areas of dense spider veins. A treated vein fades gradually as it is reabsorbed, therefore, Dr. Frank will space successive treatments approximately one month apart. In this way, he can be precise and achieve maximum coverage in the treatments.
Spider Vein Consultation with Dr. Frank
During your consultation, Dr. Frank will evaluate your spider veins, and based on the extent and location of the broken capillaries, he will recommend the most effective treatment. If you would like to reduce the appearance of spider veins, contact Dr. Frank’s office to schedule an appointment. With his expert treatment, he can help you feel more confident about your skin and legs.