For many of our patients, spider veins are a cosmetic nightmare. Despite the fact that society often associates them with senior citizens, spider veins can (and do) affect men and women of all ages, giving their legs an older and less flattering look that’s not easy to disguise. While it’s not known exactly why they happen to some people more than others, spider veins occur when the one-way valves in a blood vessel don’t function properly (often as a result of increased pressure on the vein over time) and allow blood to leak back down into the vein, causing the vein to enlarge and become visible from the surface. Laser treatments are an effective way to remove unwanted veins, but because many vein removal patients are predisposed to developing spider veins, even after treatment new spider veins can occur. To help you get the most bang for your laser treatment bucks, the tips below can minimize your chances of developing new or worsening spider veins after your procedure.
- Complete all recommended laser vein removal treatments. Depending on your specific situation, our experts at Laser Lights Cosmetic Center will typically recommend between 1 and 3 treatments for full vein removal. If the recommendation is three treatments, be sure to complete all three—don’t stop after one treatment because you’ve noticed a significant improvement. Some of the unwanted veins may not yet be fully removed, which would make it extremely likely for them to reappear.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight not only helps you feel better and love the way you look, but it can prolong the results of your spider vein removal treatments, too. The valve malfunction that causes spider veins is partially caused by putting too much pressure on the vein, and being overweight increases this pressure and can ultimately lead to spider veins.
- Elevate your legs while resting. Considering the difficult job that leg veins have, it’s not surprising that they take more pressure than veins in other areas of the body. After all, they’re working against gravity to push blood up toward the heart. You can help them out by elevating your legs whenever possible while you’re sitting. Raising your legs above the level of your heart is ideal, but any elevation can help.
- Minimize your sun exposure. It’s a vicious cycle—tan skin can make spider veins less noticeable, but the sun exposure that gives you the tan can also worsen spider veins. Instead, invest in a good self-tanner and a sunscreen that you can wear every day. You can even combine sun protection with your skincare routine by using a sunscreen that doubles as a moisturizer.
- Exercise regularly. When it comes to lowering your risk of spider veins, exercise packs double the punch. We’ve already learned that maintaining a healthy weight can lower the pressure on your veins, but besides helping you keep a trim physique, exercise also adds muscle tone in your legs, which is yet another way to keep new spider veins from developing.
- Keep excessive heat to a minimum. At the end of a long day, a warm bath or a soak in the hot tub can be a great way to relax. While there’s nothing wrong with indulging every once in a while, don’t make a habit of it. Excessive heat can cause your veins to swell, and repeated exposure over time can lead to—you guessed it—spider veins.
- Break up long periods of sitting with calf raises. For many people, their job requires them to be seated at a desk for 8 hours a day with minimal breaks in between. Unfortunately, sitting or standing for long periods of time can increase your risk for developing spider veins. If possible, take a quick break to walk to the restroom or the water cooler every hour or so. When walk breaks aren’t possible (like on long drives or plane rides), try repeatedly flexing your calf muscle to raise your heel while keeping your toes on the floor. This is a great way to get the blood flowing to keep it from pooling in your veins. As an added bonus, it can help to tone your calf muscles, which also lowers the pressure on your leg veins.
- Ramp up your vein health efforts as you age. While spider veins can affect anyone, the weakening of our valves with age makes our risk increase as we get older. To counteract this effect, it’s a good idea to become more diligent about minimizing your other risk factors (like obesity and inactivity) as you age.
While the tips above can help you minimize your risk for new spider veins, the first step is to seek the help of a professional with expertise in laser vein removal. To learn how we may be able to restore your legs to their more youthful, clear-complected glory, schedule an appointment online or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.