Do you hate spiders? So do we... veins, that is! With shorts season almost upon us, we asked an expert how to get rid of these unsightly suckers.
How to treat them and prevent them
Who gets them and why?
If you think spider veins are just an issue for older people, think again. These pesky problem veins can begin for women as young as 18! "What happens is the valves in the blood vessels start to weaken and lose their ability to push the blood back up into the heart, so they collapse into pools, which are most commonly on the legs," Dr. Amy Spizuco, a dermatologist at Dr. Bobby Buka's Greenwich Village office, explains. Taking birth control pills and smoking can also make you more prone to spider veins. Luckily, there are ways to get rid of them for good.
"We do a combination of injectable sclerosing agents and then laser treatment with pulse dyed light," Dr. Spizuco explains. "We find the best effects when we combine the two treatments." With sclerotherapy, a solution is injected into the leg that causes the spider veins to collapse and dissolve, but this isn't as painful as it sounds. "Usually, patients feel a pinch with the injection," Dr. Spizuco says. "You rest after the treatment for 20 to 30 minutes and then you can go home."
Normally spider veins require about three treatments spaced two to three weeks apart, and insurance typically doesn't cover the cost since it's considered cosmetic. If you suffer from spider veins, you may think now is a good time to treat yours since summer is nearly here, but you may want to wait until fall or winter. Why? You're supposed to wear compression stockings post-treatment for a few weeks and there can be post-procedure bruising, which doesn't look so hot in your bikini.
In the meantime, if you're beach bound and bummed about your legs, Dr. Spizuco has a suggestion for a quick fix. "A spray tan always helps," she explains.
One of the best ways to avoid getting spider veins is to stay active, maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly. Anything that increases your circulation is good. Try to avoid standing for long periods of time. If your job does require you to be on your feet constantly, wear compression stockings or be sure to take a rest afterwards by elevating your legs above your heart post-work.
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Photo courtesy of Dr. Bobby Buka