This month, Dr. Wright and Laser Lipo & Vein want to encourage everyone to learn about the importance of vein care, and to evaluate the current state and appearance of your veins. And this month, one lucky winner will win a free sclerotherapy vein treatment! Read up on the importance of vein care and 8 interesting facts about or veins below, and enter for your chance to win a free treatment here! Make sure you also check out our galleries of before and after vein treatment, and treatment videos of what to expect.
There is an extensive network of veins and arteries found throughout the human body, all of which make up an essential part of our body’s health. When things “go wrong” with our veins, it’s likely the result of an underlying condition or recent change we’ve experienced. Veins affect so many primary systems within our body, so taking notice of these changes and giving them serious attention is extremely important. While it’s often little more than a cosmetic issue when dealing with our veins, it’s always worth it to double-check with your doctor.
Varicose veins, also referred to as chronic venous insufficiency, are larger than spider veins, and are more likely to cause serious pain, discomfort, and medical issues for those who have them. They bulge out from the surface of the skin and appear swollen, lumpy, or tangled. This chronic form of venous insufficiency may be accompanied by a range of painful side effects, such as aching, burning, rashes, restlessness, muscle cramping, and fatigue. They require prompt treatment, otherwise, they may lead to ulcers, blood clots, or other dangerous conditions.
On the other hand, Spider veins are extremely thin veins right at the surface of the skin, and they get their namesake from the spider appearance they make, circular in shape with long, thin legs running outward from the center. Unlike varicose veins, they rarely cause discomfort to those who have them but do cause frustration over their cosmetic appearance. Often referred to as spider veins, “capillary veins”, or “broken veins”, facial veins are vessels near the surface of the skin that commonly show up on the nose, cheeks, chin, and underneath the eyes. Broken blood vessels occur when they’re dilated –or enlarged– just beneath your skin’s surface. These veins are usually bright blue or red and appear in clusters, and may cause you to appear “flushed” in the affected areas.
Now that you can start looking at your own veins and try to determine if they are spider veins or varicose veins, check out our list of 8 other things you probably didn’t know about your veins!
Varicose veins are part of our evolution as humans. The combination of standing on two legs, which creates pressure on the veins in our ankles, plus the loosening of our skin over time leads to varicose veins. While many animals may also have high pressure on their joints (think Great Danes or Giraffes), their tight skin keeps their veins in place and allows the blood flow to move efficiently without pooling.
While the bulging nature of varicose veins and the red, blue, or purple coloring of spider veins may look painful, both conditions are typically painless, which is why many patients wait until the appearance is too much of a nuisance before they get treatment. Some people report feeling small aches or itchiness from time to time, but it’s usually cosmetic concerns that bring them into our office.
Around 20% of men worldwide and 30% of women reportedly have varicose and/or spide veins in one or more areas of their body, most commonly the legs, arms, or hands. These instances increase with age as skin becomes less elastic and collagen production decreases, so nearly 50% of both men and women reportedly experience varicose or spider veins by the time they are 60 years old.
Genetics influence the likelihood of having varicose veins. If your parents have them, you might, too! When in doubt, blame your mom, right?
Some women develop spider veins in their face as well as other areas of their body during and after pregnancy when their estrogen hormone levels increase, leading to broken blood vessels. Since the body produces more estrogen during pregnancy, women may suffer vein weakness, blood flow is also increased, and the veins may become enlarged.
Many people prefer to first find natural remedies for their spider veins before seeking additional cosmetic treatments. Make sure you aren’t allergic or sensitive to anything on this list before trying it, and as always, consult your doctor if you aren’t sure! Additionally, if you have spider veins in sensitive areas, such as close to your eyes, be extremely careful not to get any of the ingredients in your eyes or nose! These remedies may be worth a try but they are usually only modestly effective and most patients seek cosmetic treatments afterwards.
-Apple cider vinegar for spider veins may help diminish the appearance and redness in the affected areas. Simply substitute the vinegar for your normal facial toner, and apply it gently using a cotton ball. This is an easy remedy to find in any grocery store, and we always recommend purchasing the version with “The Mother”.
-Horse chestnut for spider veins has also been successful for some people. This is a native tree to parts of southeastern Europe and has seeds that look similar to chestnuts (hence the name). The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health recommends using the seed extract to help address and alleviate poor blood flow, which we know can lead to broken blood vessels. Look for this herbal remedy in topical form (rather than a supplement you take orally), and apply this to the affected area.
-Retinoids for spider veins may also be helpful in topical cream form as well. While primarily used for acne or rosacea, they naturally remove the outermost layer of your skin, which can lessen the appearance of the spider veins.
-Diosmin is a type of plant flavanoid which is an extract of citrus fruits. Diosmin supplements and prescription diosmin has been shown to help with pain and inflammation caused by varicose is used for treating various disorders of blood vessels including hemorrhoids, varicose veins, poor vein circulation in the legs and its skin changes or chronic venous stasis.
Our veins work to move blood through our body and then return it back to our heart. And throughout our body, we actually have more than enough veins for them to work efficiently. In fact, we have so many that we can treat and remove any unsightly veins without disrupting the process of returning blood to our heart. By the time treatment is complete and the ineffective veins are closed, their function has already been taken over by our body’s health veins!
Broken veins in the skin, in the absence of ultrasound evidence of major varicose veins or venous insufficiency, can be treated on an outpatient basis using treatments like sclerotherapy, endovenous laser treatment, or radiofrequency ablation.
Sclerotherapy vein treatment is a cosmetic vein treatment that is frequently requested by our patients. This treatment option is a quick and permanent way to address the culprit of your spider veins: the veins that had previously dilated and led to the burst. Dr. Wright injects your spider veins with a substance called a sclerosant. This chemical works by causing the dilation of your vein to diminish, and the vein will permanently shut and be naturally absorbed back into the body. Typically, our patients will receive multiple injections during their treatment for maximum results. Occasionally we will use a saline solution in place of the sclerosant with the same results and effectiveness.
Sclerotherapy is the most recommended treatment for veins due to its precise nature. Other forms of vein disease, such as varicose veins, involve the bodies of larger veins. It is much easier to find these veins and treat them effectively, but spider veins are significantly smaller! Because of their tiny and thin size (sometimes these veins are as small as a needle tip!) it can be difficult for other forms of treatment. Sclerotherapy is also a minimally invasive procedure that is safe on the body and does not require any significant recovery time. In fact, most patients are able to get up and leave right after their procedure is over. Some patients may experience mild side effects such as an allergic reaction or inflammation after the procedure is completed, but these side effects typically fade within a day or two.
One of our most popular and common vein treatments is endovenous laser treatment. This type of procedure maps out your veins with ultrasound mapping to find the root of the problem. The problem vein (known as the saphenous vein) is then removed. Older treatments required vein stripping that physically removed the vein from the body. However, endovenous laser treatment uses state of the art technology to safely shut down these problem veins. Specifically, Dr. Wright uses a small fiber that’s inserted into the damaged vein and directs laser energy at it. This causes the vein to permanently collapse and then be reabsorbed back into the body.
Endovenous laser treatment is a minimally invasive treatment meaning you will not have to go through lengthy recovery times. Local anesthesia makes sure you remain comfortable. Only a small incision is needed for the procedure and will heal quickly, and we use compression stockings to help accelerate the healing process.
Another option that works similar to endovenous laser treatment is called radiofrequency ablation. This procedure also uses a tiny probe and is inserted into the problem vein. Instead of laser energy, this procedure will direct radiofrequency energy to heat up the vein and cause it to collapse. This collapsed vein will also be safely absorbed into your body and blood flow will be naturally redirected. After the treatment is complete your treatment area will start to regain its previous appearance. Most individuals can head home right after the treatment is complete. The usual side effects include some swelling around the treated area but will heal quickly especially when compression stockings are worn. Most people return to full activities 48 hours later and the cosmetic results are excellent.
Have more questions about your veins or possible treatment options? Contact Laser Lipo & Vein today to speak with Dr. Wright and his team of experts. He’s here to help answer your questions and concerns, and help you decide on what plan might work best for you!