What are spider veins?
Spider veins, red veins and broken veins. Whatever you may call them, these small veins that are seen on the face are actually slightly enlarged blood vessels and are medically referred to as Telangiectasia.
Why do we get these spider veins?
Spider veins on the face are incredibly common and most likely to appear around the nose, cheek and chin area. Affecting both men and women equally, there is no obvious cause but there are certain things that may well exacerbate them.
Medications such as hormone replacement therapy and the contraceptive pill could make you more prone to facial spider veins as could life changes such as pregnancy and the menopause. There is evidence to suggest that lifestyle choices such as alcohol, smoking and sunbathing may also be reasons why these pesky little veins develop. Do your parents have spider veins? As they are hereditary, there is a strong chance you will too.
Interestingly, they can also develop as part of the condition known as Rosacea where the skin will turn red for periods of time.
Will they go away if left untreated?
They can become more visible at certain times. For example, extreme temperature changes, drinking alcohol, eating spicy foods and menopausal hot flushes may temporarily cause the veins to become more noticeable. Once there however, the spider veins are unlikely to regress or disappear on their own.
What can be done to get rid of them?
There are several procedures that can be used to treat the spider veins and the most appropriate one is selected based on the intensity, size, colour and location of the vein(s).
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) works very well in treating any diffused redness and will also be of benefit if the patient is suffering with Rosacea.
For the more defined spider veins that are usually seen on the cheeks and chin area, Electro Surgery uses a current to heat the vessel so that its contents dry up, leaving the skin to heal and the dead skin cells to flake away.
For larger, darker veins and those that are blue coloured, an Nd:Yag laser can be used to heat and destroy the vessel.
Recovery from these treatments is relatively straightforward. Any crusts or scabs that form must be left to come away naturally and it is important that a sun protection factor is worn to protect the skin and minimise the risk of pigmentation.
All new patients must have a consultation so that a personalised treatment plan can be created. This will give details of the procedure that you will have, the number of sessions you are likely to need and the anticipated cost.