What are spider veins?
Spider veins are smaller than varicose veins. They are closer to the surface of the skin and are more visible in coloration. Often, they are red and blue. They can look like tree branches or spiderwebs with their short, jagged lines that appear to grow off each other. They can be found on the legs and/or face.
What causes spider veins?
The heart pumps out blood filled with oxygen and nutrients to the whole body through the arteries. Veins then carry the blood from the body back to the heart to refill with oxygen and nutrients. As your leg muscles squeeze, they push blood back to the heart from your lower body through the veins. Veins have valves that act as one-way valves to prevent blood from flowing backwards as it moves up your legs. If the valves become weak, blood can leak into the veins and collect there causing spider veins. They can also be caused by increased age, hormonal changes, obesity, exposure to sun, injuries, pregnancy, lack of movement, medical issues, or hereditary.
How can I prevent spider veins?
- Not all spider veins can be prevented. Here are some steps you can take to help prevent spider veins.
- Wear sunscreen spf 30 or higher to protect your skin from the sun and to limit spider veins of the face.
- Regular exercise to improve circulation and vein strength. Cardio exercises that work your legs include biking, walking, and running.
- Keep a healthy weight BMI 19-24 avoids excess pressure on your legs.
- When sitting, avoid crossing your legs.
- Do not sit or stand for long periods of time. Shifting your weight from one leg to the other about every few minutes helps. If you must sit for a long period of time, get up and walk around every 30 minutes.
- Use compression stockings and avoid constricting clothing around the waist and groin.
- Wearing high heels for a long period of time increases your risk for spider veins.