Unravelling the Web: The Causes & Treatments for Spider Veins

by | Sep 15, 2019

When you’re ready to show off your new 2019 bikini or boardies, the last thing you want to worry about are spider veins and varicose veins. Visible veins on your legs and face can cramp your style…not to mention your good health. With prime beach season coming up soon, you may be wondering where those gnarly veins came from and what you can do to get rid of them.

Austin Clinic is the perfect place to find answers. Whatever concerns you may have about aesthetic enhancement, our skin experts are uniquely qualified to guide you to the right treatments. Take spider veins, for example…

Why You & Dannii Minogue Have Spider Veins

If you have unsightly veins on your body, you’re in very, very good company with A-listers including:

  • Dannii Minogue
  • Khloe Kardashian
  • Britney Spears
  • Emma Thompson

“But what’s causing all those visible veins?” you may ask. Great question! A 2018 study found that height may be a risk factor for developing spider veins and varicose veins. Other contributing influences include:

  • Family DNA
  • Being a mum (Changes in blood flow and extra weight put pressure on leg veins)
  • Gender (Women are more likely to develop spider veins)
  • Age
  • Weight
  • Hormones (Oestrogen causes veins to degrade)
  • Sun damage

Next we’ll look at how these factors work to create visible veins on women and men.

How Spider Veins are Formed

The body mechanism that leads to visible veins is surprisingly easy to understand:

  • Arteries carry blood from the heart and veins carry it back.
  • Veins have one-way valves that close once blood passes through them. This keeps things moving in the right direction.
  • When a valve is damaged or weakened by age, excess blood pools inside the vein.

The result is a bulge beneath the skin that branches out to create spider veins and the more problematic varicose veins.

Differences Matter: Spider Veins vs. Varicose Veins

Varicose veins and spider veins belong to the same family of problems, but with some meaningful differences

  • Spider veins – Small, thin blue, red and purple lines you see on legs, feet, and face. They may be slightly raised or completely flat beneath the skin. Although they can cause some discomfort and may be considered aesthetically unappealing, they are generally painless and do not require intervention.
  • Varicose veins – Varicose veins are a more advanced problem. They appear lumpy or twisted, but unlike spider veins are usually flesh-coloured or red. Depending on their severity, varicose veins can cause a variety of symptoms and may also contribute to the risk of blood clots and circulatory problems.

The skin specialists at Austin Clinic are experienced at diagnosing spider veins and varicose veins, alike, and can create an effective treatment plan for you.

Sclerotherapy: Popular Treatment for Spider Veins

Are spider veins getting under your skin, figuratively as well as literally? If so, there is something you can do that doesn’t involve surgery, anaesthesia, or an extended period of downtime. Does that appeal to you? If so, you’ll love what comes next.

“The most common spider vein treatment involves the injection of a solution into each affected vein,” says the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. “(It causes) the vein to collapse and fade over time.” It’s also extremely effective for treating varicose veins. Austin Clinic has achieved great success with sclerotherapy and so have our patients.

Inside a Sclerotherapy Treatment for Spider Veins

Here’s what to expect when you choose to remove your spider veins with sclerotherapy:

  • The treatment area is cleansed
  • A topical anaesthetic is applied
  • The solution is injected into the damaged vein
  • A very fine needle is used to reduce discomfort
  • A little stinging or cramping may be experienced
  • The injection area is massaged to disperse the solution
  • A compression pad is taped onto the injection site
  • The next vein is treated

The number of veins in need of repair will determine how many treatment sessions are required. “Most people see us once or twice to achieve their goals,” says Dr Austin. If additional treatments are needed, she recommends waiting a month before continuing.

Post-Sclerotherapy: What Happens to Me & My Spider Veins?

“You can and should get up and walk around shortly after your treatment ends,” advises Dr Austin. “Moving about increases circulation and that can reduce the risk of blood clots.” Beyond that, the key instructions to follow in the two weeks following sclerotherapy are:

  • Wear compression garments as instructed
  • Avoid strenuous exercise
  • Avoid sun exposure

The benefits of your treatment become visible in three to six weeks, after the after-effects of sclerotherapy have subsided. (Varicose veins may not disappear for three to four months.) What patients find truly exciting about this non-invasive solution to spider veins is that results are considered permanent. “Veins usually don’t rebuild,” explains Dr Austin. “However new veins may appear and require treatment.”

Is Sclerotherapy Your Best Choice for Spider Veins?

We believe health and beauty are interwoven, and not everyone is a good candidate for sclerotherapy. Some patients’ vein problems may be better addressed by:

  • BBL (Broadband Light) Therapy – A treatment that uses pulsed light to destroy blood vessels. Three to five treatments may be necessary, scheduled four to eight weeks apart. “BBL is not an effective treatment for leg veins,” says Dr Austin. “It is best used on veins around the nose.”
  • Endovenous Laser Varicose Vein Surgery – This approach couples a laser with the surgical insertion of a catheter to destroy damaged veins. Though it is surgery, stitches may not be required as the incision is very small. This surgery is recommended primarily for varicose veins.

Whatever your goals, you can rely on us to assess you from a medical standpoint before making an aesthetic suggestion.

Help for Spider Veins in Sydney

You’re not vain if you’re worried about spider veins. Unsightly visible veins and the aches, pains, heaviness, and other symptoms associated with them can affect your social life, your self-esteem, and even your mobility. Contact the Austin Clinic and let our knowledgeable, compassionate team help you.