Getting rid of spider veins

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Print this page Email A Friend!

SPIDER veins, also called telangiectasias, are clusters of tiny blood vessels that develop close to the surface of the skin. They are often red, blue, or purple, and they have the appearance of a spider web. They are commonly found on legs.

Varicose veins are abnormally enlarged veins that appear most often on the legs. They are typically blue, purple, or skin-coloured, and they appear as dilated, twisting and bulging vessels that may be raised above the surface of the skin.

Spider veins and varicose veins are caused by structural abnormalities of blood vessels.

Veins carry blood back to the heart from other parts of the body. They utilise a series of one-way valves to avoid back-flow of blood. For a variety of reasons, these valves can become defective, allowing the back flow of blood within veins. The subsequent pooling of blood and pressure increase within the vein, and weakens the blood vessel wall. Spider veins and varicose veins then develop from the engorgement and dilation of the affected blood vessels.

Spider veins and varicose veins are very common in adults, though women tend to develop them more frequently than men.There are a variety of different risk factors that increase the chances of a person getting spider veins and varicose veins. Risk factors include advanced age, prolonged sitting/standing, obesity, pregnancy, hormone therapy, birth control pills, injury, prior vein surgery, a history of blood clots, and family history.


Support stockings, also called compression stockings, are an easy intervention to use at home to help alleviate symptoms in the legs. Compression stockings improve circulation by increasing the pressure in the legs. These stockings come in a variety of styles and compression strengths. They are typically sold in pharmacies and medical supply facilities.

A regular exercise programme and weight loss can help relieve the symptoms of spider veins and varicose veins. Affected individuals should avoid standing or sitting for prolonged periods of time, and elevate the legs while sitting or sleeping to improve the circulation and decrease swelling in the legs.

Sclerotherapy is another common procedure that can be performed and it is very effective in eliminating the majority of spider veins and some varicose veins.

During this procedure, which requires no anaesthesia, your medical practitioner will inject a liquid solution directly into the affected vein, which causes the vein to collapse and eventually fade away. Results may be noticed immediately or typically over the course of two to four sessions for optimal results. Potential side effects include bruising, swelling, bleeding, and skin discolosration.

Treatment with sclerotherapy for varicose veins can require multiple treatment sessions, and healing time may vary from individual to individual. Generally, spider veins will begin to fade immediately or within three to six weeks after treatment, while varicose veins may require several months to respond.

Laser therapy is another alternative procedure that can also be performed. It is sometimes used as a complement to sclerotherapy in order to maximise results. It is most effective for spider veins and tiny varicose veins. For those individuals who do not like needles, this provides an alternative option, though your medical practitioner will counsel you on which treatment modality is best given your particular situation.

Laser therapy uses a focused beam of light that heats and damages the affected blood vessel, which eventually fades. Potential side effects include minor redness or swelling around the treated area, skin discoloration, blisters, and rarely, scarring.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy is a recently developed treatment for spider veins. IPL delivers pulses of different bands of light to targeted areas.

Although spider veins and varicose veins may not always be entirely preventable, there are various measures you can take to reduce your chances of developing them. Prevention tips include:

1. Exercising regularly;

2. Maintaining a healthy weight;

3. Avoiding prolonged sitting or standing;

4. Avoiding crossing your legs while seated;

5. Elevating your legs when resting; and

6. Avoiding wearing tight-fitting clothes around your waist, groin and legs.

Michelle Vernon is a phlebotomist medical aesthetician who operates the Body Studio Skincare, located at 20 Constant Spring Road, Mall Plaza, Kingston 10, and Fairview Shopping Centre, Montego Bay. She may be reached at telephone 908-0438 or 684-9800; IG @ bodystudioskincare; E-mail:; Website:




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon