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Spider Veins Blog

What Causes Spider Veins

November 9, 2020

Broken capillaries, also known as spider veins, show up in clusters of purple, red or blue little lines on the face, legs or other areas of the body. Before you get caught up in their appearance, it helps to understand what causes spider veins and what you can do about them.

We spoke to our Clinician Kristen who has expertise from past experience in a vascular clinic and from dealing with spider veins herself.

Why do spider veins occur?

Essentially, spider veins are caused by broken capillaries.

Hormonal fluctuations, inflammation and repeated minor trauma to the skin loosen the capillary walls. Eventually, the capillaries can break, causing small amounts of blood to pool, which causes the appearance of purple, vein-like lines.

“Spider veins are common in pregnancy because there are more hormones going around the body and extra pressure on the legs,” Kristen says, “people with hay fever also tend to be more prone to spider veins on the face and around the nose from constantly blowing their noses and causing regular friction with tissue paper. Then there are some people who just have more vascularity than others. I’m quite prone to spider veins, myself. It’s just the way we are.”

People who are prone to redness and rosacea are also more likely to get spider veins because they tend to be more vascular and have more blood circulating near the surface of their skin.

Will spider veins go away?

Unfortunately, spider veins won’t go away on their own, but they’re fairly easy to treat.

Kristen’s preferred equipment for spider vein removal is the Cutera Excel V. “It’s made specifically to target and treat vascularity without affecting the skin.” For blue veins, you can also use the Fotona laser. “Because we’re all different, it’s best to come in for a consultation so that a Clinician can recommend the best treatment for the nature of your skin,” Kristen recommends.

The laser treatment targets haemoglobin with carefully controlled heat. The heat coagulates the broken capillaries to stop the blood from pooling, and then the capillaries shrink out of sight.

Kristen says that she “can often see the capillaries shrink down right after treating them, but sometimes they require a few treatments, depending on the person and the nature of their veins.”

Is the treatment permanent?

Once treated, there is a chance that spider veins can come back, but not always.

If you have a recurring condition like rosacea or hay fever, the veins may come back eventually as you experience flare ups. Speaking to a Clinician can help you understand your triggers so you can manage them in the future.

A number of rosacea treatments help strengthen the capillaries and reduce inflammation, so if you’re managing your rosacea, your spider veins will be less likely to return.

Do you have veins on your face and body that you'd like to treat?

Come in for a complimentary, obligation-free assessment with one of our experienced Clinicians.

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