Spider veins affect nearly 60 percent of adults as they age. They appear as tiny red, blue, or purple blood vessels on the skin surface of your feet.

The causes of spider veins are not very clear, though they are often associated with genetics, oral contraceptives, and hormonal imbalance.

For instance, sitting or standing for prolonged periods can affect circulation. Weight gain can also strain the veins in your feet and legs, since they have to work harder to push blood to the heart. The increased strain can interfere with the ability of deeper veins to transmit blood, pushing it to the surface veins. Exposure to sunlight can also cause the veins on your feet to weaken and become noticeable, especially if you have fair skin.

Prevent Spider Veins

Keep Spider Veins from Appearing

With the exception of spider veins associated with genetics, other causes can be managed to keep spider veins from appearing. You can prevent spider veins by:

  • Using sunscreen – Always apply a high SPF sunscreen when stepping out for more than a few minutes to protect the fragile skin from harmful UV radiation. It will also help to prevent the appearance of spider veins on your feet, ankles, calves, and legs as you age.
  • Watching your weight – A healthy body weight will relieve your feet and legs from carrying excess load, reducing the stress on your blood vessels in those areas. Ask your doctor to help you reach an appropriate weight for your body type.
  • Exercising – Besides maintaining a healthy diet and managing the portions, you should also exercise every day to develop strong muscles in your foot, lower leg, and thighs to aid in blood flow through the veins.

In addition to these tactics, you should consider wearing compression hose to stimulate blood flow and maintain proper body position when sitting or lying down. This includes avoiding crossing your legs, and elevating your feet 6-8 inches above the heart level when resting.

Spider veins are caused by a number of things including pregnancy. During this time, your hormones are extremely high. You also have a higher volume of blood than usual, which increases pressure on your blood vessels and causes them to swell. If you’re genetically predisposed to get spider veins, you can also notice signs of varicose veins as well.

Spider Veins During Pregnancy

Dealing with Spider Veins During Pregnancy

Spider veins are not harmful to you or your baby. But they can be uncomfortable and unsightly, hence the need for treatment.

Following an examination to diagnose the spider veins, your doctor may recommend that you wear a compression hose to promote circulation in your legs.

Some expectant mothers successfully get rid of spider veins by getting plenty of antioxidants, especially vitamin C and resisting the need to cross their legs. Vitamin C helps in the manufacture of elastin and collagen, which are two vital connective tissues that aid in the maintenance and repair of veins.

Foods rich in fiber also help to prevent straining during bowel movement, which can constrict the deeper veins and cause blood to be rerouted to the superficial veins.

You can also prevent them by regular exercising, alternating between sitting and standing positions, and elevating the legs while sitting or lying down. All these measures help to promote blood circulation and prevent circulation.

Keep in mind that spider veins may disappear after the pregnancy. So you may choose to camouflage the most visible areas with flesh-toned concealer designed for that specific purpose. If the spider veins persist, you should visit a vein specialist.

Cosmetic procedures such as sclerotherapy and laser treatments can help to treat spider veins, but should be avoided until after delivery.

Those small superficial veins that appear as red, blue, or purple discolorations on your legs, chest, or face do not simply disappear without treatment. That said, not all spider veins are permanent. Some of them, such as those caused by medications or pregnancy may vanish on their own after several weeks.

While spider veins are harmless, they can cause you to feel embarrassed and self-conscious, affecting your social life. Fortunately, an experienced vein specialist can recommend several good options for resolving spider veins, perhaps using laser or VeinGogh.

Do Spider Veins Go Away?

Are there spider veins or other type of problematic veins?

Spider veins mostly appear on the thighs, calves, and ankles. They are hereditary, but can also be related to weight gain, pregnancy, and birth control pills.

That said, there are many problematic veins that look similar to spider veins, such as:

  • Telangiectasias – These dilated capillaries on the surface of the skin mostly appear on the face. Spider veins, on the other hand, mostly affect the feet and legs.
  • Angiomas and hemangiomas – These comprise venules (tiny veins) or arterioles (tiny arteries)

Treating Spider Veins

When seeking treatment for spider veins, you may notice the doctor using the terms telangiectasias and spider veins interchangeably. The specialist will diagnose the veins by examining them.

Spider veins generally don’t require treatment. You may consider the use of support stockings to reduce the size of any visible spider veins and prevent new ones from appearing. For cosmetic reasons, your vein specialist may recommend sclerotherapy or laser treatment.

Learn More About Spider Vein Treatment »

Blood returning to the heart from the feet and legs has to flow upwards against gravity. The calf and thigh muscles help to pump blood up and valves in the veins prevent the backward flow towards the feet.

Venous insufficiency, the root of most vein issues, occurs when your veins dilate (widen and stretch) and the valves are unable to close properly. This reduces the ability of the affected veins to return blood to the heart, causing them to bulge.

Spider Veins vs Varicose Veins

Spider Veins

When the small blood vessels near the surface of your skin dilate, they become visible as tiny red or blue veins on the surface of the skin called spider veins. Some clusters of spider veins can appear like a bruise.

Spider veins are not harmful, and typically form due to hormonal changes, pregnancy, heredity, or injury. However, their appearance can make you self-conscious.

Varicose Veins

When a vein dilates, and the valves cannot effectively close to prevent the backflow of blood, varicose veins start appearing on the skin surface. Pressure from blood backing up in your veins can cause the veins to bulge and appear twisted or ropy. Your leg may also swell and ache, and feel full, heavy, and fatigued.

Any problems that affect the saphenous veins can interfere with the side veins that drain into them, causing the smaller veins to dilate and become varicose. Varicose veins are larger than spider veins, and are usually associated with changes in skin color, bleeding, and ulcers. In some cases, blood in the varicose vein can clot, causing the wall to become inflamed and result in swelling, redness, or sudden pain in the affected area.

What to Do

If varicose veins or spider veins are causing you to feel self-conscious, you should see your doctor for a proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plan.