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Spider Veins: Facts vs. Fiction

Spider veins or telangiectasia are networks of red or blue lines that frequently appear on the legs and make you self-conscious about wearing shorts or bathing suits. They may be large or small, and often resemble a spider’s web – hence the name. Spider veins are a relatively common occurrence among adults, affecting at least one-third of the female population. Despite their prevalence, many people have false information about these visible vessels. Check out these common myths regarding spider veins and the facts behind this condition.

Spider veins only occur to elderly women.
The association between spider veins and blue-haired old ladies is a common myth of this condition. The fact is that spider veins can occur in both men and women of all ages. In fact, because these veins are caused by a number of factors like hormone fluctuation and sun exposure, even young adults can be plagued with those unsightly vein networks.

Spider veins and varicose veins are the same thing.
Spider veins and varicose veins often get interchanged, but these are very different conditions requiring different treatments, in most cases. Spider veins are most commonly caused by venous insufficiency. Varicose veins are nearly always caused by venous insufficiency, characterized by damaged vessels that become swollen and varicose. While they can also be caused by venous insufficiency, spider veins are also attributed to sun exposure, hormone fluctuations and some types of medications.

Getting a tan will hide my spider veins.
It may be tempting to spend a little extra time in the sun this summer in an effort to mask those vein networks, but beware! Sun exposure, in addition to increasing your risk for skin cancer and accelerating the aging process, can also cause or exacerbate spider veins. The same is true for tanning booths. Tanning is not the way to eliminate those vessels.

Spider veins are only a cosmetic issue.
In most cases, this is a true statement. However, some people with spider veins may also experience uncomfortable symptoms like leg heaviness and fatigue. Swelling in the lower leg and ankle can also occur with spider veins. The good news is minimally-invasive treatments that get rid of spider veins also eliminate uncomfortable symptoms.

Topical creams will get rid of my spider veins.
There are plenty of topical creams on the market that promise to get rid of those unattractive vein networks. However, topical solutions will not get beneath the skin’s surface, where the spider veins are located. Minimally-invasive treatments involving laser, radiofrequency or injections are delivered directly into the affected veins, eliminating them entirely and creating a clearer appearance to the skin.

At Carolina Vein Associates, we offer a variety of treatments for spider veins that involve little or no discomfort or downtime. Whether you want to treat your veins for cosmetic reasons or to eliminate uncomfortable symptoms, we can help. Contact Carolina Vein Associates at 704-684-4511 to learn more about your spider vein treatment options.