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Visible veins can cause a great deal of emotional upset, especially during the summer months. People who notice squiggly lines of red, blue, and purple webs on the skin sometimes worry that they have or will get varicose veins. These webs are spider veins, and they may develop due to a variety of factors. Here, we discuss why you may have spider veins and what you can do about them.

What Causes Spider Veins?

The underlying problem that leads to both spider veins and varicose veins is venous insufficiency. Having venous insufficiency simply means that the valves in some of your veins are weak or damaged. These valves aid in circulation by opening to let blood pass through and then closing to prevent reflux or pooling. Spider veins are the result of a little bit of blood failing to move forward in surface veins.

There are several factors that can influence the development of spider veins. These include:

  • Age. The natural decline in collagen and elastin may contribute to weakened valves in veins.
  • Genetics. A person’s genetic makeup may make them more susceptible to weak valves.
  • Excess weight. Obesity and even an extra 20 pounds puts extra pressure on the veins, which increases the risk of weak valves.
  • Pregnancy. Estrogen and progesterone levels change during pregnancy to prepare for childbirth. These changes cause bodily tissues to become more lax and stretchy. This laxity could weaken veins. The veins may be temporary and may go away when hormones stabilize.
  • Sedentary lifestyle. Good circulation requires movement. Standing or sitting for too long without intermittent movement can cause blood to pool in the lower extremities.

Treating Spider Veins

Spider veins are not dangerous. They do not worsen to become varicose veins. However, when spider veins are present, you know that there is a common underlying condition that could eventually lead to the development of varicose veins in the legs. While genetic makeup may create susceptibility to this condition, there are several lifestyle habits that can decrease the chances of the venous insufficiency that causes valve weakness in the first place. These include:

  • Exercise regularly to move the lower extremities
  • Eat a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet
  • Take 5-minute breaks every hour or two to avoid sitting or standing for too long
  • Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes
  • Elevate the legs when possible

Sclerotherapy for Spider Veins

Sclerotherapy is a proven and satisfying treatment to eliminate spider veins quickly. At Westport Dermatology, this procedure is performed using a tiny needle. To close the visible veins, the doctor injects an FDA-approved sclerosing agent into the webbing of veins just beneath the skin. The sclerosing agent causes minor inflammation inside the tiny veins, causing the lining to stick together. The veins collapse and blood reroutes elsewhere.

We can help you see clearer, healthier skin. Contact Westport Dermatology at (203) 226-3600 to schedule your consultation for spider or varicose vein treatment.

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