Treatment for Spider Veins on the Face, Legs or other Noticeable Areas
What causes varicose and spider veins?
Spider veins are also known as telangiectasia’s. They are created by valves that break or become weak near the surface of the skin. This causes a swelling and back up of blood, which produces the map-like appearance of the red or light blue vein patterns on the face, legs and other vulnerable areas. They are smaller than varicose veins, and are not painful to the touch, or while at rest. They do not usually turn into varicose veins, and can be easily treated with laser therapy. Smoking, drinking, weight gain, heredity, sun exposure, rosacea, aging, pregnancy/hormonal shifts, can all cause the development of spider veins.
According to John Landi, M.D., Diplomate ABVLM, of Naples, Florida, varicose veins develop by the weakening of valves located in the saphenous veins (larger veins located in the legs) so that the blood moves backwards and out into the skin to form varicosities (plural for varicose). Common causes are hereditary predisposition, pregnancies, trauma and aging. Varicose veins are larger than spider veins/telangiectasia’s and can be quite painful. They can be treated with lasers, sclerotherapy (injections), and surgical procedures.
How do you treat spider veins and varicose veins with IPL or laser?
Light and laser treatment for spider and varicose veins are plentiful today. Spas, medical spas, and clinics, world-wide offer a wide variety options for vein treatment and management. It is important however, to seek a qualified medical professional or clinician, with training and certification on the device or procedure that you are seeking. While there is plenty of information online to educate and sell laser services, it is recommended that you visit a professional, to get information needed to make a decision about treatment. A referral from your physician, heath care provider, or clinical aesthetician is often a good place to start.
How does light therapy work for vein treatment?
Spider veins can typically be treated with laser and IPL (Intense Pulsed Light, hence the flashing) devices. The IPL works by the use of multiple wavelengths (light travels in waves, and the distance between the peaks of waves, is known as the wavelength) and pulses of light to travel through the skin generating heat, causing veins and vein walls to collapse. The vein walls are then absorbed back into the body, without damaging the surface of the skin.
The laser uses a different mechanism of action, whereby the light is constant, in one direction, and goes to a specific depth. (Think laser pointer. as in someone giving a presentation, and using it to highlight information.) The laser can also be calibrated to go deeper into the skin, and carries more energy. The laser works similarly to the IPL, in the fact that it uses heat causing veins and vein walls to collapse.
Depending upon the vein or the cluster of veins, it may take from 10-30 minutes for treatment. A treatment series can range from 5-7 treatments or more, and frequency every 6 weeks. Your practitioner will determine which device is best for use between the two depending upon the depth of the veins and the complexities of the type of veins that are being considered for treatment.
How do you prevent and care for varicose and spider veins?
Interestingly, 50-55% of women and 40-45% of men will develop vein problems at some time in their lives. Some lifestyle adjustments can be made to slow, or reduce the development of vein problems. Here are some great tips offered by www.womenshealth.gov on an article on preventing and caring for varicose veins and spider veins:
- Wear sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun and to limit spider veins on the face.
- Exercise regularly to improve your leg strength, circulation, and vein strength. Focus on exercises that work your legs, such as walking or running.
- Control your weight to avoid placing too much pressure on your legs.
- Don't cross your legs for long times when sitting. It's possible to injure your legs that way, and even a minor injury can increase the risk of varicose veins.
- Elevate your legs when resting as much as possible.
- Don't stand or sit for long periods of time. If you must stand for a long time, shift your weight from one leg to the other every few minutes. If you must sit for long periods of time, stand up and move around or take a short walk every 30 minutes.
- Wear elastic support stockings and avoid tight clothing that constricts your waist, groin, or legs.
- Avoid wearing high heels for long periods of time. Lower-heeled shoes can help tone your calf muscles to help blood move through your veins.
- Eat a low-salt diet rich in high-fiber foods. Eating fiber reduces the chances of constipation, which can contribute to varicose veins. High-fiber foods include fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, like bran. Eating less salt can help with the swelling that comes with varicose veins.
As always, make certain to see your medical professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment options.
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