Broken capillaries, also known as spider veins, show up in clusters of purple, red or blue little lines on the face, legs or other areas of the body. Before you get caught up in their appearance, it helps to understand what causes spider veins and what you can do about them.
We spoke to our Senior Clinician Mary who brings her expertise from past experience as a doctor and a certified Dermal Clinician.
Why do spider veins occur?
Essentially, spider veins are caused by insufficient valves inside small veins. These valves are positioned in one direction and they direct the blood towards heart. If for any reason these valves become weak or insufficient, blood pools inside the small terminal veins and causes them to become dilated and visible from the surface.
Hormonal fluctuations, genetics, increased pressure, pregnancy, ageing, weight gain, and sitting or standing for a long time everyday could lead to dilated capillaries or spider veins.
“Spider veins are common in pregnancy because there are more hormones going around the body and extra pressure on the legs,” Mary says, “people with hay fever also tend to be more prone to spider veins on the face and around the nose from constantly blowing their noses and putting more pressure on the capillaries.”
People who are prone to redness and rosacea are also more likely to get spider veins because they tend to be more vascular and have more blood circulating near the surface of their skin.
Will spider veins go away?
Unfortunately, spider veins won’t go away on their own, but they’re fairly easy to treat in clinic.
Mary’s preferred treatments for spider veins are non-invasive laser treatments using the Fotona or the ExcelV. Both can specifically target veins without affecting the skin. “There’s no injection, no downtime and very little discomfort,” Mary says.
These laser treatments target haemoglobin with carefully controlled heat. The heat coagulates the broken capillaries and make them collapse and shrink. The immune system later disposes of the coagulated veins.
You can often see the capillaries shrink down right after treating them, but sometimes you need a few treatments, depending on the nature of your veins.
Another treatment option is Sclerotherapy, which is a medical procedure involving injection from a doctor. The injection turns the broken veins into scar tissue and your immune system slowly breaks the scar tissue down and removes it.
Mary prefers the non-invasive method, which is easier than Sclerotherapy and equally effective for most spider vein cases, but you can always book a free consultation to make sure that laser treatments are right for you. In a consultation, we can assess your veins, answer your questions and give you an idea of the results you can expect.
Is the treatment permanent?
Once treated, there is a chance that spider veins can come back in some other areas, but they’re very unlikely to return in the same spot you had treated.
If you have a recurring condition like rosacea or hay fever, the veins may come back eventually as you experience flare ups. Speaking to a Clinician can help you understand your triggers so you can manage them and prevent flare ups in the future.