A Guide To Getting Rid Of Thread Veins
A Guide To Getting Rid Of Thread Veins

A Guide To Getting Rid Of Thread Veins

Many women have thread veins – also known as spider veins. They’re typically found on the body or face and, although neither painful nor harmful, they can knock your confidence. From how to prevent them to the best treatments, we asked the experts to break down the basics.
By Sapna Rao

Thread Veins Are Fairly Common & Typically Harmless…

“People often mix up thread veins with varicose veins. Varicose veins take a bulbous, lumpy and swollen form which can cause pain and aching in some cases. Thread veins – which you may also have heard referred to as spider veins – are tiny veins that have a branched, spider-esque appearance. They’re visible just underneath the surface of the skin and are painless. They create a ‘spidery’ pattern under the skin and are mainly found on women” – Carrie Hancox, aesthetic nurse practitioner at Centre for Surgery 

“Thread veins are often associated with age and sun damage, but they can also be a side effect of a number of other conditions including: thinning skin, pregnancy, menopause and diseases like high blood pressure and liver disease. That said, they can also occur due to harmless factors like genetics and stretched skin – it’s not always doom and gloom.” – Dr David Jack, aesthetic doctor & founder of Dr David Jack Clinic

They Can Appear Anywhere…

“Thread veins are most often spotted on the nose, face, legs and behind the knees – though they can present themselves anywhere on the body.” – Carrie

“The reason they’re most common on the face and around the legs and ankles is because the skin here is always open to the elements – think the sun, heat and radiation.” – Professor Mark Whiteley, consultant venous surgeon & founder of The Whiteley Clinic

There Are A Few Common Causes…

“They occur on the legs when the valves of larger veins collapse and stop working properly. Veins carry blood flow back to the heart and contain little valves that prevent blood from flowing backwards. If these valves become weak or damaged, the blood can struggle to flow properly in the correct direction, and can collect inside the vein causing a bulge in the vein that tries to find a way out. When doing so, it branches out, resulting in tiny, broken spider veins.” – Lesley Reynolds, co-founder of Harley Street Skin Clinic

“Facial thread veins are typically a result of skin exposed to trauma such as blood vessels bursting or sun damage. However, it can also be hereditary or a result of hormonal changes such as pregnancy, or the result of bad lifestyle choices such as drinking too much or a poor diet. Leg veins are usually the result of excess weight, sitting down for long periods of time, crossing your legs when sitting and a lack of exercise. These factors can lead to poor circulation which can then result in thread veins appearing.” – Dr Zara Yousufzai, plastic surgeon & aesthetics specialist at Aesthetics International

“Although thread veins and varicose veins are different, thread veins can sometimes be an indicator of underlying varicose veins, with varicose veins ‘feeding’ the spider veins found on the surface of the skin.” – Carrie

Topical Skincare Won’t Remedy The Issue…

“There are a number of creams and pills on the market which claim to minimise the appearance of thread veins, but the only real way of treating them is by establishing their cause and having treatment, for example sclerotherapy in a medical clinic. You may notice some improvement by wearing medical-grade compression stockings to encourage optimum blood flow around the body, but this isn’t a long-term fix.” – Carrie

“No topical skincare will get rid of spider veins, but some products can help the overall appearance of your skin. That includes retinol (vitamin A) which boosts collagen and improves the texture of your complexion over time. That said, it won’t remove spider veins – it’ll just even out the skin tone around them.” – Dr Uma Jeyanathan, founder of Uma Skin Clinic 

However, There Are Several Treatment Options… 

“They won’t go away by themselves, but there are now many ways you can treat them. A Nd:YAG laser is a great treatment option which works by penetrating the skin and targeting the blood vessel or thread vein. It generates heat and coagulates the blood within the vein, causing it to collapse, and seals it closed. Another option is BBL (broadband light therapy) which offers a less intensive light than traditional laser treatments.” – Zara 

“For the face, electro-surgery (IPL) is most effective for the more defined red veins in the cheeks and chin. Here, a current passes heat through the vein, causing the blood to clot. This then breaks down and is reabsorbed by the body, leaving the skin to heal. It sounds intense, but it’s minimally invasive and requires very little downtime.” – Mark 

“The most effective way to banish thread veins in the body, and particularly in the legs, is via sclerotherapy – a non-surgical, minimally invasive treatment. It involves injecting a pharmaceutical solution into the veins to ‘close’ them, causing the blood to divert into an alternative healthy, open vein. This causes the offending vein to fade and disappear over the following few weeks. Alternatively, some people opt for body make-up as a more affordable route. Since the veins are flat, they aren't too tricky to cover up.” – Carrie

There Are Also Ways To Prevent Them Worsening…

“Unfortunately they tend to get worse as we get older, but sticking to a healthier lifestyle can help prevent them. This includes: exercising regularly and avoiding drinking too much alcohol. Another tip is to try not to cross your legs when sitting down, especially for long periods of time; and always protect your skin with an SPF – daily.” – Zara 

“While nothing other than treatment can eradicate them fully, you can help to prevent them from worsening by increasing your blood flow. Take up walking as a gentle exercise and use compression tights if you stand or sit for long periods of time.” – Lesley

Remember To Keep An Eye On Them…

“Although often harmless, it may be worth trying to establish the cause, as they could be linked to an underlying condition you’re unaware of – for example, venous insufficiency, which places extra stress on your blood vessels.” – Carrie

“Speak to a specialist venous consultant if you have any concerns. They can arrange a vascular technologist to give you a venous duplex scan at the earliest opportunity. This scan will tell the consultant whether there are any hidden problems, and from here they will be able to decide upon the best course of action.” – Mark

DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.

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