Sometimes known as spider or broken veins, thread veins are small prominents veins that appear just below your skin surface, commonly on your face and legs. They tend to branch and give a spidery sort of pattern hence their common name. Thread veins are completely harmless.
Thread veins can be more visibly ageing than lines and wrinkles, leading many people to take action to remove them. These are very common, especially in people in their 40s, 50s and 60s. Almost all women will experience thread veins at some point in their life and they are usually associated with underlying vein problems.
WHAT CAUSES THREAD VEINS?
A number of factors contribute to the appearance of thread veins on your skin, but they are all related fundamentally to placing pressure on capillaries and finer veins, resulting in damage or expansion. These factors include:
- Genetic inheritance
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Leg injuries
- Hormonal changes
THREAD VEINS SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
You may have thread veins if you see or feel any of the following conditions:
- An uncomfortable feeling of heaviness in your legs
- Throbbing, cramping, or aching
- Itching around the veins
These symptoms often worsen after prolonged sitting or standing. You may also develop a brown discoloration of the skin and skin ulcers.
HOW CAN I PREVENT THREAD VEINS?
There are some steps you can take to reduce your chances of getting thread veins. These can also help you ease your discomfort from the ones you already have:
- Wear elastic support stockings and avoid tight clothing that constricts your legs.
- Avoid wearing high heels for long periods of time.
- Eat a low-salt diet rich in high-fiber foods.
- Wear SPF 30 (Sun Protection Factor) lotion to protect your skin.
- Exercise regularly to improve your leg strength and circulation.
- Avoid crossing your legs for long times when sitting. You may injure your legs that way.
- Lift your legs when resting as much as possible.
- Don't stand or sit for long periods of time.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can spider veins go away on their own?
Usually, spider veins disappear on their own after a few months, but several home remedies can speed up the process.
Can you get thread vein treatment on the NHS?
When it is for cosmetic reasons you usually have to pay for thread vein treatment to be done privately, unless you have leg ulcers, swelling or skin discolouration.
Will fake tan cover thread veins?
It is better not to tan your thread veins because with time they can get matted and as the thread veins break down, blood will extravasate causing brown discoloration of the skin.