How to Get Rid of Spider Veins
Spider veins affect up to 50% of the population, and if you happen to be one of the unlucky, you've likely considered undergoing spider vein treatment to remove them. But just how effective are the various treatments and what kind of outcome can you expect? In this guide, we explain how to get rid of spider veins and answer your questions about the types of treatments available, so you can make an informed decision.
What are spider veins?
Spider veins are small clusters of blue, red, or purple veins that appear on the legs or face. They are caused by a variety of factors, from heredity to obesity to occupations that involve a lot of standing.
How to prevent spider veins
As noted above, some spider veins are caused by heredity and other factors that are hard to escape. However, there are a few things you can do to decrease your chances of developing them in the first place:
- Exercise regularly to promote good circulation
- Avoid crossing your legs when sitting for long periods of time
- If you have a job that requires sitting for long periods of time, try to get up and walk around for a few minutes every half hour
- Avoid wearing tight, restrictive clothing and high heels
- Compression stockings are also sometimes recommended for people at high risk for developing spider veins since they help encourage better circulation
Why would you opt for spider vein treatment?
Most people remove spider veins for aesthetic reasons. For some, spider veins can be painful or itchy.
How to get rid of spider veins: Sclerotherapy vs laser treatment
There are two ways that spider veins are commonly treated.
During sclerotherapy, a licensed professional injects a sclerosing solution into the spider veins to irritate the interior of the vein. This causes the vein to eventually collapse and fade from view.
During a laser treatment, an intense beam of light penetrates the spider veins to destroy them. The veins eventually collapse and fade from view. No incisions or needles are used. According to the Mayo Clinic, laser treatments are often less effective than sclerotherapy, particularly for larger veins.
How much does spider vein treatment cost?
That largely depends on how many veins you're treating and what treatment plan you choose. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average spider vein treatment costs around $326. Because spider veins don't often pose a health risk, treatment isn't covered under most insurance plans. That's where a deal on spider vein treatment can really come in handy.
Is there any downtime?
There is no downtime, but some people may experience brownish discoloration (hyperpigmentation) in the area during the healing process. This should fade, too, but it may take several months. Other side effects may include bruising, redness, itching, swelling, scarring, and permanent skin-tone changes.
Are results instant?
No. A month after the first treatment, spider veins are typically lighter yet still a bit visible. Over the course of several months, the blood vessels typically begin to fade.
Is this a permanent solution?
Though the spider veins will fade, they may not disappear completely. Plus, new spider veins can develop in the same area.
How many treatments do I need to see results?
Multiple spider veins require multiple treatments, but how many depends on the person.
Spider veins vs varicose veins: what's the difference?
Many people think spider veins and varicose veins are the same, but varicose veins tend to be much larger and have a raised, bulging appearance. They're also much more likely to cause pain and other complications than spider veins, although treatment for both conditions is more or less the same. Read our guide to varicose veins (including an account from one of our own writers) for more information.