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Banishing varicose veins for sexy legs

Sarah Wassner Flynn is a New York City-based writer. She's contributed to magazines such as CosmoGIRL!, National Geographic Kids, Runner's World, Women's Health, Prevention and MetroSports New York. She is also the author of The Book of ...

Varicose veins vamoose!

You cringe when you see those purplish raised veins on women's legs, or your own. Did you know that 50 percent of women will have spider and/or varicose veins by age 50. Are you one of them? If so, cringe no more! Here are tips to get a leg up on unsightly veins and recapture your sexy legs.
Woman's Legs

After weeks of searching, you have found the perfect summer dress to wear to that wedding next week. The only problem? The higher hem shows off the backs of your legs and those varicose veins snaking along your calves. But before you resort to wearing pants or maxi dresses for special events in the summer, read up on varicose veins and treatments to get rid of them.

VARICOSE VEINS, EXPLAINED

They seem to come out of nowhere. One day, you have flawless legs and the next they are marked by blue-tinged, raised veins. So where ever did they come from? Blame pregnancy, weight gain, or your body type. All three of these factors are thought to be the culprits leading to faulty valves in your veins, which in turn slows down regular blood flow and causes veins to become swollen and twisted at the surface of your skin. Varicosities (and their cousins, spider veins) may first rear their ugly heads in your late twenties and continue to worsen with age. Though mostly a cosmetic concern, the condition can also be quite painful. Some women complain of leg discomfort and pain, especially after standing for long periods of time.

TREATMENTS FOR VARICOSE VEINS

So, what can you do about varicose veins? For decades, doctors recommended simple steps like pulling on compression socks and elevating your feet to combat swelling and pain. But modern treatments are much more savvy -- and, best yet, successful.

VNUS Closure: The latest, VNUS Closure (also known as "Closure Fast") uses radiofrequency energy to close and eliminate varicose veins. Doctors place a tiny catheter into the troubled vein, which delivers heat (via radio waves) and causes the vein to shrink, and eventually close. Blood is then re-routed to healthier veins. VNUS Closure generally takes minutes to complete, is practically painless, and is covered by most health insurance plans. Endovenus Laser Treatment: Another option, called Endovenus Laser Treatment (EVLT), uses a laser instead of heated radio waves to shrink and close down varicose veins. Sclerotherapy: And then there is also sclerotherapy, or the injection of a chemical solution around the vein to shrink it.

All three methods are far less invasive procedures than vein stripping, which involves the removal of the troubled vein through surgery.

QUICK WAYS TO COVER UP

Looking for more of a quick fix? While you can always cover up with a sexy pair of stockings, this option is less desirable in the summer. So when it is time to pull on the shorts and skirts, try camouflaging your veins with makeup like Cover FX and Dermablend Leg and Body Cover. Both match your skin tone and stay put for hours, even after swimming. Beauty experts recommend first using an all-over body moisturizer, then applying makeup with your fingertips in a sweeping, up and down motion, blending well. Whether its makeup or a more permanent procedure, talk to a specialist about which one is right for you. (To find a specialist in varicose veins near you, check out the Vein Directory.)

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