Say good-bye to unattractive spider veins

Woman face

Have you noticed patches of fine red, purple or blue veins around the nose, face, knees or ankles?

These superfine veins – which can have a web-like appearance or look more like a patch when they are grouped together – are in the same family as varicose veins.

Both men and women can be affected by this common venous condition, medically known as telangiectasia. Like varicose veins, spider veins are caused by enlarged blood vessels.

Spider veins are superficial veins that develop in the outer layer of skin between the dermis and epidermis. For this reason, the veins are visible. Varicose veins develop more deeply in the body. As the veins stretch out, they become visible as they bulge near the surface of the body.

Sun exposure, genetics and hormones (estrogen and progesterone) play a role in the development of spider veins. Because of this, it is no surprise that women experience spider veins more frequently than men. Spider veins are more common in pregnant women and those women who take oral contraceptives or hormone-replacement therapy.

Many people find spider veins to be an unsightly nuisance, but when does the condition require medical attention?

Although spider veins are unattractive, their presence does not necessarily mean that you have venous insufficiency. However, spider veins generally worsen with time, so if you are bothered by their appearance, it might be time to discuss treatment options with a vein specialist.

Symptoms from venous insufficiency is a reason to seek treatment. The symptoms might include:

· Heaviness in the legs

· Aches or pain in the legs

· Leg cramps

· Swelling in the legs

· Restless legs

· A feeling that the skin where the spider veins appear is itchy

If you experience these symptoms in addition to visible spider veins, the likelihood of venous insufficiency is higher. Venous insufficiency can present health complications, including blood clots, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and the development of venous ulcers due to chronic venous insufficiency.

The good news is that spider veins are highly treatable, and the results are excellent.

Various treatment options are available so you can look and feel your best. Discuss your concerns and symptoms openly with your doctor so the appropriate treatment plan can be created.

Harvard University educated Dr. Van Cheng at the San Diego Vein Institute specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of varicose veins, spider veins and venous disease. San Diego Vein Institute is located at 336 Encinitas Boulevard, Suite 130, Encinitas, CA 92024. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (760) 944-9263 or visit