You look in the mirror and see what looks like a red spiderweb splashed across your face — what’s going on? Most likely, these are spider veins, dilated and broken blood vessels that lie just beneath the skin’s surface. They can appear anywhere on the body, but they’re most common on the face and the hands.
While spider veins are medically harmless, they probably make you self-conscious about your appearance. The good news is that they’re highly treatable, and even preventable in some cases.
At Eterna Vein & Medical Aesthetics in Puyallup, Washington, our expert team is well-versed in vein conditions and their treatment. No matter what’s causing your spider veins, we can treat them quickly and effectively.
What causes spider veins?
Spider veins can appear in any person at any time in their life. Some of the most common causes include:
Genetics: Spider veins tend to run in families, and the risk increases with age
Pregnancy: A rise in estrogen can lead to broken blood vessels
Rosacea: A common skin condition marked by excessive redness, flushing and broken blood vessels
Heat and sun exposure: Heat — and excessive sun exposure — dilates blood vessels
Alcohol consumption: Moderate alcohol consumption causes skin flushing, while heavy consumption can lead to spider veins
Injuries: Injuries lead to bruising, making broken blood vessels more noticeable
How are spider veins treated?
Spider veins can be treated in a number of different ways. Since you might want to start with the most conservative options first, there are a few DIY remedies you can try.
The first is apple cider vinegar — the kind you have in your kitchen. Used in place of your daily astringent, the vinegar reduces the spider veins’ redness, making them less noticeable.
The second is horse chestnut, an herb commonly used for a variety of skin conditions and which, according to The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, may be used to improve vein health. It can be taken as a dietary supplement, but such supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so be warned you may or may not get what the label says is in the bottle. You’re better off sticking with topical versions. Make sure the preparation is made from the bark only, and apply it to your face to reduce the veins’ prominence.
The third is cleaning your face with warm — not hot — water, and taking only warm baths or showers. The greater the heat, the more your blood vessels dilate.
There are also a number of traditional medical treatments. These include:
Topical retinoid creams are primarily used to treat spider veins caused by acne and rosacea. These work by removing the epidermis, the outermost skin layer.
Laser therapy works by irritating a spider vein’s wall with intense, focused light. The irritation causes the vein to collapse and die. Blood is rerouted to healthier veins.
With this treatment, the doctor injects a saline-based solution into the spider vein, which causes it to seal shut and die. Again, blood is rerouted to healthier veins. Here at Eterna Vein & Medical Aesthetics, we use Asclera, an FDA-approved sclerant.
For face and hand spider veins, we use Veinwave™, a thermocoagulation system that safely heats spider veins and closes them instantly.
How can you prevent spider veins?
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, the saying goes. Here are a few ways to prevent spider veins from appearing in the first place:
Avoid excess heat: Spas, saunas, and hot temperatures dilate blood vessels in the face
Limit sun exposure: Wear sunscreen (SPF of 30 or higher), a wide-brimmed hat, and long clothes to prevent sun damage
Avoid vasodilators: Vasodilators such as caffeine, spicy foods, and alcohol, enlarge blood vessels
Are you unhappy with a web of fine red lines crossing your face? You have options. Give Eterna Vein & Medical Aesthetics a call at 253-268-3400 to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online today. We also offer telehealth visits.