Thread veins, also known as telangiectasia or spider veins are small capillaries under the surface of the skin that usually appear on the legs and face, but can appear anywhere else on the body and vary in size. They are tiny blood vessels in the dermis which become permanently dilated and rupture spreading blood to other capillaries.
Thread veins affect around 80% of all adults. The condition presents itself as a web of blue, red or purple in colour.
Causes of Thread Veins
The condition is generally harmless, but on rare occasions can be a symptom of other vascular issues and may be best to check out with a doctor to rule out this possibility.
Capillaries are fine enough to let one blood cell through at a time and capillary walls are also one or two cells thick with a minimal amount of muscle fibre. So you can see how easily they can be damaged.
Blood vessels are quite elastic and constrict and relax, with age they lose their elasticity, leading to thread veins.
What factors affect getting Thread Veins
There are a number of factors that contribute to the formation of Thread Veins and as a result one or more of the following may be the cause.
- Genetics play a large part.
- Age is another major factor. As we age skin becomes thinner with less subcutaneous fat (fatty tissue under the skin) allowing the blood vessels closest to the surface to easily damage. However it is not uncommon for people in their twenties to get them.
- Hormonal changes and the menopause particularly fluctuations in oestrogen levels.
- Pregnancy places a lot of stress on blood vessels, more so in the pelvic regions. Physiological changes include the relaxation of vascular walls. The uterus puts lots of pressure on the veins, weakening the vein walls and damaging the capillaries. The great news is they usually disappear after childbirth.
- Jobs that require standing on your feet all day result in blood circulation in your legs slowing down, and may lead to thread veins and/or varicose veins.
- A sedentary lifestyle can also cause problems and crossing your legs whilst sitting constricts circulation, allowing blood to gather and veins to swell.
- Too much time spent sunbathing may trigger and cause thread veins especially on the face.
- Prolonged drinking causes blood vessels to dilate and weakens the collagen in your skin, permitting the veins to remain open and increased blood flow to the face.
What are the options for removal of Thread Veins ?
There are a few options available, lasertherapy, sclerotherapy or a mixture of both. Lasertherapy uses brief pulses of laser light to destroy smaller blood vessels.
Veins bigger than 4mm require sclerotherapy. This treatment uses a tiny needle to inject a solution which gradually shrinks and disappears over a period of about eight weeks.
For treatment using laser, how many treatments are needed?
On average three, but more may be necessary, depending on the number of veins and their size and location.
How successful is it?
Often those of us plagued with thread veins can be prone to them. The treatment we use in our clinic has proved to be very successful however top up treatments may be necessary. We have treated many clients who have Rosacea and have noted a significant reduction in redness. Whilst Rosacea is a medical condition and cannot be cured by using laser therapy, it can be managed very sucessfully.
Are there any risks or side effects?
A patch test is required prior to your first treatment. This consultation will rule out contraindications to the treatment. A small area is tested and this allows us to gauge how the skin reacts to the laser. Some medical conditions, medications and skin types are not suitable for the treatment and this should be discussed with you at your consultation. In most cases you may experience a mild sunburn type sensation following the treatment, this usually subsides within 24 hours.
What aftercare is recommended?
We recommend using Aloe Vera to calm the skin and an SPF 50 is recommended for 30 days post treatment. The treatment cannot be performed within 30 days of sun exposure so you should consider your treatment plan carefully as it is best if possible to factor in at least three treatments at four weekly intervals. Following the treatment we recommend that you avoid hot baths, saunas, jacuzzis, and going to the gym for 48 hours.
For further information please call us and we will be happy to advise you.