Varicose Veins vs. Spider Veins

When I look at my legs, I easily see a growing number of tiny but distinct purple lines creeping up around my ankle and to the side of my knees.  A few interspersed on my thigh, here and there on the front of my shin.  So basically in all the sexy places.  

These small but oh-so-noticeable lines are spider veins, creeping and crawling across my legs not unlike a spider itself. 

For now I’m counting my blessings that that is all I have. Because I know there’s an easy fix, sclerotherapy.  

But on my shin, I spy the beginnings of a larger, pulsing vein. I’ve almost banished it from thought for fear that it is what I really don’t want it to be: a varicose vein. 

Big, ugly, large and in charge- when varicose veins take over, I feel that the legs are just done for.  It’s not just their color - darker, deeper and wider than a spider vein - it’s the fact that they are 3-D, actually bulging out, which makes them especially gnarly.

Obviously these significantly large, significantly ugly veins must originate from a more substantive cause than the wee spider vein.  Clearly the treatment for them must be that much more pronounced. 

No, not really.

Turns out, spider veins and varicose veins are both caused by factors like: genetics, poor circulation, age, pregnancy and obesity. In both cases, moving often, exercise, and other activities that promote healthy circulation can help prevent the formation of either nefarious vein. 

And for both spider and varicose veins, sclerotherapy and laser vein treatment are options to banish those blue lines from your gams altogether.

Laser Vein Treatment – According to Smart Beauty Guide, a laser is passed over the skin, as the laser light is “absorbed by the blood, causing the vessels to coagulate and be absorbed by the body.” This treatment is best for medium-sized blood vessels, one to three millimeters diameter. FYI- with the colder months coming up, this is the time to consider this treatment, since long pants easily hide the temporary, post-laser bruising.

Sclerotherapy – Solution is injected into the vein that causes the “vein to shrink, turn white and then gradually disappear,” according to Smart Beauty Guide. (I mean, how great does that sound?!) This procedure is ideal for veins greater than 3 millimeters in diameter. 

Varicose and creepy, crawly spider veins, we’re coming for you; healthy circulation, health lifestyle habits and a few expert treatments at the hands of a board-certified plastic surgeon can banish the blue veins and let our legs shine.


This post is presented to the Girl Around Town audience in partnership with
Smart Beauty Guide and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.




Posted on December 10, 2015 .