For anyone who suffers from them, spider veins can cause some serious stress when it comes to how your legs look, even if they are toned, tanned and otherwise terrific. But, don’t despair, there are things you can do if you are desperate to get rid of them, and some of them may come as a surprise. We spoke to Montclair, NJ, dermatologist Jeanine Downie, MD, to get the inside track.
They Don’t Just Happen on Your Legs
Spider veins (which are the same as varicose veins, just smaller in size) are nothing more than enlarged veins that have become strained due to increased pressure on the lower body from prolonged standing and walking. Even though they tend to occur in the legs and feet, any vein in the body can be affected. In most cases, varicose and spider veins don’t cause any pain, but the look of them alone can be reason enough to do something about them.
You Can’t Control One of the Causes
According to Dr. Downie, there are three things here that are to blame: Genetics (that old standby source you just can’t do anything about), standing constantly and crossing your legs (yes, this one is true!). Luckily, the solutions for the two you can control are rather simple: “I recommend people exercise and don’t cross their legs,” she says.
Winter Is the Best Time to Treat Them
Sure, this supercold season gets a lot of slack, but, according to Dr. Downie, now is the time to take control of your spider veins. Why? “I recommend that they should be treated as I treat mine, and winter is the best time, as they can bruise for a week or more.” One of the most surefire ways to get rid of them: sclerotherapy, an in-office procedure where your doctor injects a solution (it usually takes more than one treatment) to collapse the veins. For smaller veins, lasers may be your best bet.