Varicose veins are one of those under-talked-about beauty ailments that most of us don’t really think about. That is until it happens to us. Unfortunately, spider and varicose veins are a very real beauty concern and, while they are often associated with ageing, being under 30 years old doesn’t make you immune to the little purple clusters developing.
Although you may not (yet) experience symptoms like pain from them, they can be a nuisance and can cause some feelings of self-consciousness. In order to dispel some myths and get the truth about these pesky pop-ups, we’ve put together 5 things you should know about spider and varicose veins.
First and foremost, yes. While the two phrases are often used interchangeably, it’s important to know that they are different. Spider or thread veins are thin, red or purple veins often in superficial patches (that is, on the surface of the skin). Varicose veins are larger, blue veins that are don’t work. They can be visible and bulging or they can be hidden and you may only be alerted because they cause symptoms like skin discolouration and restless legs.
The problem is called Venous Insufficiency. Basically, the elasticity to the vein wall or valves begins to fail. These veins are meant to pump blood to the heart, but when the valves don’t work properly the blood pools and the vein is stretched or blocked and they can become prominent. Both spider and varicose veins can be hereditary, however they can appear because of pregnancy or lifestyle.
You know those old-school compression socks your nan wears or that you see people unrolling on the airplane? It’s not just for the fashion statement – they are actually recommended as a way to prevent spider and varicose veins! They work by keeping veins compressed so that the blood can’t pool. If you’re going on a flight or plan to be standing for long periods of time (for example, if you are a nurse or a teacher) wearing compression socks can help prevent spider and varicose veins from developing or even minimise their appearance.
Alternatively, it is easier than ever to treat spider and varicose veins with a whole variety of treatment options available including the latest, venous glue! Even the most severe varicose veins can now be treated by a walk-in/walk-out procedure. Sclerotherapy injections, which are used to treat spider veins, often need multiple treatments but improvement can be very significant. With spider veins you will need to maintain them. Treatment may be needed every 3-6 years. Of course, the phlebologist (fancy word for vein specialist) can help determine the most appropriate treatment plan for you and your legs.
As with most issues in life, the earlier you can get on top of it the better the results will be. Speaking with your doctor will give you an idea of the best course of treatment as well as a realistic expectation of the results you can expect. Before you know it, you’ll be one step closer to rocking that mini-skirt when summer returns!
Feature image: Søren Jepsen
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