Pesky leg veins can hang around for years, and you might have trouble figuring out why. Varicose veins are the enlarged veins that twist together and bulge from the surface of the skin, especially in the legs. Spider veins are clusters of tiny, thin veins made up of dilated blood vessels, while reticular veins are small blue or green veins roughly 1 mm to 3 mm in diameter. Read on for some lifestyle tips and dermatology treatments to nip these unsightly veins in the bud once and for all!
It’s been shown that dry brushing can really make a difference in the appearance of leg veins. Poor circulation can prevent oxygen and nutrients from being distributed throughout the body, and is one of the primary causes of visible veins. Dry brushing can help stimulate the circulatory system and bring fresh blood flow to the arteries. Brush lightly though, so you don’t damage the skin.
Getting regular exercise can also stimulate the circulatory and lymphatic systems in the body, which can alleviate the appearance of leg veins. Many times, these veins are caused by standing for lengthy periods of time, so elevate your legs after a long time on your feet. In your day-to-day routine, avoid wearing heels if you can, since the added pressure on the network of veins in your feet can cause varicose veins to form. And as far as your diet, opt for high-fiber and low-salt foods, which will prevent swelling and constipation, two contributors to bulging veins in the legs.
Those lifestyle tips are all well and good, but if you’re struggling with stubborn veins long-term, it might be time to hand things over to the experts. And if your veins are causing discomfort, itching, pain, or cramping, it’s definitely time to see a doctor. Dermatology specialists can treat your veins through one of several proven methods.
When it comes to spider veins and reticular veins, your best options are in-office treatments like sclerotherapy or laser treatments. If you’re concerned about varicose veins, a dermatologist can help assess the issue, but may need to refer you to a vascular surgeon if the veins are prominent enough.
A popular option for spider veins, reticular veins, and smaller varicose veins is a treatment called sclerotherapy. This minimally invasive, in-office treatment involves injecting a sclerotherapy solution containing some combination of sodium tetradecyl sulfate, polidocanol, and/or hypertonic saline.
This solution, either liquid or foam, causes the vein walls to seal so that blood flow is redirected to other veins. Eventually, the problematic veins shrink and collapse, no longer visible on the leg. The procedure can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, depending on the severity of the veins, and most of the time, at least one to two follow-up treatments will be necessary.
Laser treatments utilize heat from a focused beam of light to shrink veins. By sealing the vein, it naturally decays over time and becomes less visible. This is another minimally invasive, in-office option with excellent results and extremely minimal risk -- other than some possible irritation to the skin right after the treatment.
Laser therapy requires no downtime, and the long-lasting results are noticeable within weeks. But keep in mind, if varicose veins are severe the patient usually needs to see a vascular surgeon who can provide other treatment options.
If you’re in the greater New York City area and need some professional help with painful or unsightly leg veins, contact Vanguard Dermatology today. Our board-certified specialists can find a treatment option that meets your needs.