Why do spider veins appear on my legs?

The skin on the legs is prone to various changes. Over the years, especially, the veins begin to become more marked than usual, becoming rough or lumpy. However, the famous spider veins can appear at any age if we lead a certain lifestyle.

If you are really concerned about the appearance of leg veins, find out what bluish veins are and how they differ from varicose veins.

What are spider veins?

Spider veins are small, damaged veins that can appear on the surface of the legs or face. They are not normally painful or harmful, but some people may prefer to treat them for cosmetic reasons. In most cases they can be blue, purple or red and can appear in the form of fine lines, cobwebs or branches. People also refer to them as spider veins.

The condition is very common, especially in women. About 25 percent of all adults have spider veins, and in most cases, they appear on the lower legs. Factors that can increase a person’s risk of developing spider veins include:

  • Genetics. Up to 90 percent of people with spider veins have a family history.
  • Pregnancy. The increased blood circulating through the body, in addition to the additional weight of the fetus, puts more pressure on the veins in the legs during pregnancy. Some women notice that spider veins disappear after pregnancy, but they can be permanent.
  • To be a woman. Spider veins tend to affect women more often than men.
  • Be older Vein valves tend to weaken over time. The calf muscles, which help support the veins in the legs and allow them to pump blood upward, can also lose some of their strength as a person ages.
  • Being overweight. The extra body weight can put extra pressure on the veins in the legs.
  • Hormones Hormonal contraceptives and hormonal treatments for menopause can increase the risk of spider veins because estrogen can weaken the valves of the veins.
  • Sitting or standing for long periods. The veins in the legs have to work harder to pump blood to the heart when a person remains in the same position for several hours at a time.
  • Excess pressure on the face. This may be due to forceful coughing, sneezing, or vomiting. Some women can even get spider veins on their faces after pushing during childbirth.

Causes of its appearance

In the legs, spider veins can occur when the valves within the veins stop working properly. Veins carry blood back to the heart. To prevent blood from flowing backward, they contain a one-way valve that closes once blood passes through it.
If this valve is weakened or damaged, blood may have a hard time flowing in the right direction and can pool within the vein. Over time, this can cause a bulge in the vein to branch out, resulting in spider veins.

If they appear on the face they are often the result of the rupture of small blood vessels. Increased pressure or sun damage can cause this to occur. Also, it occurs in the veins farthest from the heart, and gravity makes it difficult for blood to flow upward. Typically, the causes are:

  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Age over 50
  • Standing for long periods of time
  • Obesity
  • Family history of varicose veins

venas de araña en las piernas

Differences between spider veins and varicose veins

Spider veins and varicose veins are different forms of a medical condition called venous insufficiency. In the legs, both conditions result from weakened or damaged valves in the veins. However, the two cases have different symptoms.

Spider veins are usually small, thin lines that can be flat or only slightly raised. They are usually blue, red, or purple in color. Although they may cause some discomfort, most of the time they are painless. Varicose veins are larger and deeper than spider veins. They can also appear lumpy or twisted and are usually flesh-colored or red.

Depending on the severity, varicose veins can cause a variety of symptoms. The most common are pain, itching, bleeding,
swelling of the legs or ankles and a feeling of pain or heaviness in the legs. Varicose veins can also increase a person’s risk of blood clots and circulation problems. Pain in these veins is usually relieved by elevating the legs or wearing compression stockings.

In women, symptoms may be worse during certain parts of the menstrual cycle or during pregnancy. Occasionally, varicose veins can form a painful blood clot with inflammation of the vein, a condition called thrombophlebitis .

Treatments to improve the skin

Although normally harmless, spider veins can cause discomfort and some people may want to treat or remove them for cosmetic reasons.

Compression stockings or socks

Compression stockings improve blood flow in the legs. Wearing compression stockings or socks puts pressure on the veins in the lower legs. This pressure can help improve blood flow and prevent more spider or varicose veins. Compression stockings can also help relieve leg swelling and reduce the risk of blood clots in the legs.

The best known types are:

  • Support pantyhose . They provide only slight pressure, but are available in many stores. It is also possible to buy them online.
  • Gradient compression stockings and socks . They provide medium pressure around the feet, ankles and calves. They are usually available in specialty stores and pharmacies.
  • Prescription compression stockings . They provide the most pressure to the feet and legs. They are only available by prescription and come in various sizes and strengths, as well as footless varieties. Prescription compression stockings are not suitable for some people, including those who have heart failure or other heart problems.

Laser treatment for spider veins

A healthcare professional can use a laser to treat spider veins that are smaller than 3 millimeters and close to the surface of the skin. The laser is a strong, focused beam of light that causes the vein to clot and dry out. Laser treatments are less invasive than sclerotherapy or the closure system because there is no injection.

There is also endovenous laser therapy (EVLT), which is a newer procedure for treating spider veins and small varicose veins. A healthcare professional makes a small incision in the affected vein and then inserts a laser fiber. The laser applies heat directly to the vein and causes it to collapse. It can take several months or up to a year for the vein to disappear.

Sclerotherapy and closure system

Sclerotherapy involves injecting an irritant directly into the affected vein. When the vein walls become irritated, they stick together and prevent blood from flowing to the area. This procedure can reduce swelling and cause the vein to shrink. Over time, spider veins fade or disappear. Several treatments may be necessary to obtain the desired results.

The closure system is similar to sclerotherapy, although it involves injecting a substance into the affected veins. This substance is sticky and closes the vein from blood flow, causing the spider vein to fade or disappear over time. After undergoing sclerotherapy or closure, compression stockings usually have to be worn for several days or weeks. Spider veins will gradually begin to disappear after these procedures, but the process can take up to 6 weeks.

venas de araña en la cara

Can spider veins appear?

There are certain lifestyle changes and self-care tips that can help prevent spider veins from developing or keep them from getting worse. Regular use of sunscreen can help prevent the formation of spider veins, although there are also other tricks such as:

  • Use sunscreen . Applying sunscreen every day can help prevent some spider veins, especially on the face. Wear sun protective clothing and hats when you are outdoors for long periods of time.
  • Maintain a healthy weight . This helps reduce pressure in the veins and keeps the blood flowing well.
  • Wear compression stockings . If spider or varicose veins are a concern or are inherited, consider wearing compression stockings or socks.
  • Keep moving . Avoid sitting or standing for long periods without taking a break. Get up and walk every 30 minutes. Physical activity can also help improve circulation and prevent blood from pooling in the legs.
  • Avoid tight clothing. Clothing that is too tight around the waist, legs, or pelvis can restrict blood flow and increase the risk of spider veins.
  • Avoid overuse of hot tubs and saunas. Excessive heat can cause the veins to swell, increasing the risk of enlarged and bulging veins in the legs.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. Drinking alcohol can cause flushing of the face and breakage of blood vessels in some people.
  • Elevate your legs. Raising your legs when you are sitting or lying down can help prevent blood from pooling down your legs.
  • Go to a dermatologist . People with skin conditions that can increase the risk of spider veins, such as rosacea, may consider seeing a doctor or dermatologist to discuss treatment options.