Thread veins, also known as ‘spider veins’, are noticeable, small veins that can appear anywhere on the skin’s surface – but prevalence shows that the legs are mostly affected by them. They are damaged veins that cause branching lines across the skin that vary in colour, length and pattern from individual to individual. However, the shape they form takes some resemblance to the patterns of spider webs, which is where their nickname ‘spider veins’ has stemmed from.
Thread veins occur when the blood vessels and vein walls become weakened which results in the permanent, visible dilation of the veins. It is thought that genetics is the biggest indicator of thread veins developing, where if a family member has suffered with thread veins, you are more likely to develop them also. It is not fully understood why the vein walls become weakened which is why it is generally associated as a vascular, familial trait.
Age can also be a cause of thread veins. Throughout the years, the skin gradually becomes translucent, thinner and loses its elasticity which affects the vein valves ability to function as well as it had previously. The veins are responsible for transporting the blood in a continuous, one-way flow around the body, and thread veins occur when the vein valves become damaged. When the vein valves, that ensure the blood flows in one direction, are damaged this is when noticeable veins appear as the blood begins to pool behind the failed valve. Age affects this as the veins have lost a lot of collagen and elasticity, so they are not as flexible as they used to be and the amount of pressure causes them to expand so the veins beneath can be seen easily from the surface.
Women also have a higher chance of developing thread veins. This is because the fluctuating hormone levels experienced in pregnancy, menstruation and menopause are thought to cause the vein walls to relax, however this is still disputed. When pregnant, this can definitely increase your chance of thread veins as the body produces more blood to help support the baby, which then puts more strain on the vein walls.
Some intrinsic and extrinsic factors, such as weight, having a demanding job and consuming high levels of alcohol can also increase your proneness to thread veins also.
Thread veins are common in obese people as the extra body weight physically affects the circulatory system which is put under more pressure and works harder to circulate blood around the body. This may mean your veins pool easier. Having a demanding job, that requires prolonged periods of time standing, can also impact your circulatory system as the blood does not flow as well when standing.
Alcohol constricts and causes the blood vessels to expand, depending on how much is consumed and affects the way the veins carry blood around the body (known as blood pressure). When consuming high levels of alcohol, it acts as a vasoconstrictor, which means the veins tighten and contract. This makes the blood vessels become narrower and causes the heart to work harder pumping blood around the body, which can strain the veins and cause them to leak, or pool, behind inefficient valves. When alcohol acts as a vasodilator, which causes the blood vessels to relax and expand, this also causes the veins to stretch and be seen easily from the epidermis.
For thread vein removal, we offer the following treatments:
Laser and IPL – We offer both laser and light-based treatments to target unwanted veins and both these treatments are fast, effective means of lastingly removing your thread veins. It works by directly targeting the haemoglobin proteins naturally present in the blood vessels with rapid light beams. The light beams are absorbed by the haemoglobin and is then converted into heat energy which causes the vein to collapse and be gradually broken down, and dispersed of, by the immune system.
Advanced electrolysis – This treatment follows a similar school of thought as laser and IPL. However, rather than light and laser energy, advanced electrolysis works by inserting an ultra-fine probe into the vein and emitting a short electrical current through it. The electrical current is then converted to heat energy which dissolves the vein, and similarly to IPL and laser, the vein is gradually broken down and expelled by your body.
Sclerotherapy – Usually this treatment is for severe thread veins and varicose veins and works by injecting a medical-grade solution, called sclerosant, directly into the unwanted vein. Once the sclerosant is administered into the skin, it causes the vein to swell and shrink before dispelling it.
The best way to prevent thread veins from developing is to regularly exercise which helps to improve circulation, vein and body strength. Another way is to avoid standing for long periods of time.
Preventing thread veins may also be achieved by not putting too much pressure on the legs. This can be attained through simple changes in daily habits such as not crossing your legs and keeping your legs elevated when sitting down.
Compression stockings are another way to prevent thread veins. These are socks specifically designed to apply pressure to your lower legs which works to maintain blood flow and reduce the discomfort associated with thread veins/varicose veins. However, it is important to not wear these all day and all night as this can cause a disruption to circulation. Usually we recommend compression socks that are between 15-30 mmHg (which is matched to your blood pressure number).
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Frequently Asked Questions
Sclerotherapy is a treatment in which a medical injector injects the veins with a solution called a fibrovein. The fibrovein slightly irritates the inner lining of the veins injected, which causes the walls to become sticky when compressed, leading the walls to stick together and collapse. Once all the veins have collapsed, the body can no longer use them and absorbs them back into the system. As this absorption is a natural process, it can take a number of months before the veins fully disappear.
At DestinationSkin, we know that everyone’s skin concerns are individual, and therefore your treatment plan will be bespoke to you. Our treatment recommendation will be dependent on the severity of your thread veins, any medical history and your own preferences. In our free skin consultations, our expert practitioners and medical injectors will discuss each treatment option thoroughly with you, so that you can make the best decision for you.
Depending on your treatment pathway, we can plan the right time for you to have your treatment. We advise you not to have the treatment too close to any events whereby the area will be exposed to extremes of weather or temperature. The treatments can be performed in all months of the year.
Immediately after a Sclerotherapy treatment, you will see mild redness and perhaps a bruise on the treated area, before noticing a gradual improvement in the treated area. It can take a few weeks before you see results as the veins need to dissolve and be reabsorbed into the body. Advanced Electrolysis may present mild redness or swelling immediately following treatment, however, your skin will return to normal the following day.
We have 3 different methods of treating red veins on the face. They can all be charged by time and prices start from £60 for a 15 minute treatment.
We can apply mineral based foundation immediately after treatment which you may also purchase. You can then use other make-up in the following few days.
Some people have very little down time, but some will need up to 2 weeks.
Yes. We will always do a thorough consultation and test patch and make sure that this is the best treatment for you before we do anything. Your safety is our number one priority.
We offer a free consultation, where out practitioner will assess your skin and come up with a treatment plan that is catered for you.
It feels like the flicking of an elastic band on the skin.
You would generally see results after your first treatments but will need to complete a course of treatments to see the full result.
The healthier your skin, the quicker it can heal. Usually, the results can be seen a couple of weeks after treatment. However, as we are heating the blood vessel, darkening of the vein isn’t uncommon, and often the veins can look more pronounced until the skin has broken the veins down. Do avoid sun exposure on the treated area.
We’ll take you through a complete health review to check for your suitability.
We pride ourselves on having highly skilled, experienced practitioners who carry out this treatment. The machine that we use is an FDA approved device for the treatment of thread veins.
A cooling gel is applied before the treatment and cold air is used whilst the treatment is taking place. The treatment feels like a small flick of an elastic band.
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