Varicose veins are enlarged veins that can be blue, red, or flesh-coloured. They often look like cords and appear twisted and bulging. Spider veins are like varicose veins, but smaller. Varicose veins and spider veins usually appear in the legs and can cause pain, swelling, or an itchy rash. Varicose veins and spider veins are treatable. Almost everyone has some stage of spider or varicose vein, some are just worse than other.

What is the difference between Varicose and Spider Veins?

Spider Veins are your more commonly smaller red veins visible on any area of your body, more commonly on your legs and feet. These are more superficial veins. Varicose veins are enlarged veins that can be blue, red, or flesh-coloured. They often look like cords and appear twisted and bulging. They can be swollen and raised above the surface of the skin. Varicose veins are often found on the thighs, backs of the calves, or the inside of the leg. During pregnancy, varicose veins can form around the vagina and buttocks.
Spider veins are like varicose veins but smaller. They also are closer to the surface of the skin than varicose veins. Often, they are red or blue. They can look like tree branches or spider webs with their short, jagged lines. They can be found on the legs and face and can cover either a very small or very large area of skin.
Varicose Veins are bigger and generally bluish in colour. They also tend to bulge and be painful to some patients.
All of these veins can cause concerns to anyone cosmetically, however as mentioned, they can be uncomfortable.

Varicose Veins VS Spider Veins

Both these are found in men and women, but women are more likely to get these due to hormones, medications, occupations etc. Both these may be described as an aching or pain in the legs. Symptoms may also include tiredness, burning or stinging, restlessness in their legs. Swelling and darkening of the skin may also be likely seen on the ankle area of individuals with these conditions. Not all individuals would have pain when they have spider vessels, some will want them removed for only cosmetic reasons, other for medical reasons.

What Causes Varicose and Spider Veins?

Our veins and arteries carries blood in our body to and from our heart and other organs. Therefore we have veins that will work agains gravity in your legs to take blood back to your heart. Blood gets pushed through our veins by the heart’s pumping actions as well as muscle contractions and the tiny valves in our veins.

Causes for both of the above mentioned concerns:

  1. Heredity /Medical history. Being born with weak vein valves increases your risk. Having family members with vein problems also increases your risk. About half of all people who have varicose veins have a family member who has them too.
  2. Lifestyles that involve a lot of standing or occupations such as teachers, therapists, stylists etc
  3. Hormonal changes like with puberty, pregnancy and menopause
  4. Medications such as birth control pills
  5. Hormonal replacement therapy postmenopausal
  6. Tumours and constipation and any other conditions that cause increases pressure in the abdomen area
  7. Obesity
  8. Sun exposure. This can cause spider veins on the cheeks or nose of a fair- skinned person.
  9. Injury to the skin
  10. surgery to address veins
  11. Increasing age. As you get older, the valves in your veins may weaken and not work as well.

Why do varicose veins and spider veins usually appear in the legs?

Most varicose and spider veins appear in the legs due to the pressure of body weight, force of gravity, and task of carrying blood from the bottom of the body up to the heart.
Compared with other veins in the body, leg veins have the toughest job of carrying blood back to the heart. They endure the most pressure. This pressure can be stronger than the one-way valves in the veins.

Spider vein Removal treatment

Long hours on our feet, Sitting cross-legged and pregnancy are all common causes of cosmetically unattractive veins.
Healthy lifestyles: regular exercise, to lose some weight in certain cases will be very helpful to minimize the effect that these have on certain individuals.
Pulsed light lasers such as BBLtm and other surface lasers may be used. These use heat to selectively damage vessels. Lasers such as NDYAG laser are particularly effective and are a popular choice. At Dermology we treat these veins with:

  1. ND YAG Laser vein removal (NDYAG veins)
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