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Are Spider Veins Dangerous to My Health?

Updated: Apr 10

Spider veins make your skin look older and unhealthy. But are those creepy, crawling webs of dysfunctional blood vessels actually dangerous? And which is worse? Living with them or eliminating them? Don’t you need spider veins for your circulation?

Spider veins are broken capillaries that may appear on your face — especially around your nose — or on your legs. As with varicose veins, spider veins are completely dysfunctional and may even slightly slow down healthy circulation.

A normal, healthy blood vessel is elastic and pliable. It contains valves that help push blood toward the heart for reoxygenation. However, time, sun exposure, and other factors can cause blood vessels to grow weaker, stiff, and thinner. Just as your skin ages, so do your veins.

Over time, some of the valves in your veins stop working. Instead of pushing blood forward, the let the blood flow backward and pool into the vein or capillary. The blood vessel then either bursts or, in the case of varicose veins, becomes engorged, highly visible, and twisted.

Spider veins, also called telangiectasias, may also develop due to direct damage or trauma. Because the capillaries are tiny, they’re easily injured by sun exposure, skin manipulation, or stress. Most women and men develop spider veins at some time during their lives. 

But are spider veins dangerous? Should you remove them? Or does removing them have its own dangers? 

At Central Utah Dermatology in Richfield, Utah, our medical dermatology experts evaluate your spider veins or varicose veins to determine the best course of action. We offer sclerotherapy to remove both leg and facial veins and intense pulsed light (IPL) photofacial to clear spider veins from your face.

Are spider veins dangerous? Or do you need them? The answers are below. 

Broken veins could be a sign of venous insufficiency

Varicose veins — the large, twisted veins that tend to appear with pregnancy, obesity, or age — are sometimes a sign of a condition called venous insufficiency. If you have venous insufficiency, your blood vessels aren’t strong enough to carry blood back to your heart in an efficient manner.

Varicose veins don’t necessarily require treatment unless their appearance bothers you. However, contact us if you begin to develop other symptoms of venous insufficiency, such as:

  • Swollen legs

  • Irritated, cracked leg skin

  • Thick, hardened skin on legs and ankle

  • Weeping or bleeding on leg skin

  • Slow-healing wounds

  • Red or swollen legs or ankles

If you have a lot of spider veins on your legs — even in the absence of varicose veins — you may still develop troubling symptoms of venous insufficiency, such as itchy or painful legs. Spider veins on your face usually don’t cause other symptoms.

You don’t need broken blood vessels

Whether you have symptoms from your spider veins or not, once capillaries have swollen and broken, they’re not doing their job anymore. If anything, they slow down your circulation, even if only infinitesimally.

When we eliminate spider veins from your face or legs, we’re not interfering with the health of your circulation. In fact, spider vein treatment promotes healthier circulation. Without the sluggishness of broken, inefficient veins and capillaries, your body reroutes your circulation to healthier blood vessels.

Removing spider veins is easy and virtually pain free

Sclerotherapy is the gold-standard for removing broken blood vessels, including both varicose veins and spider veins. Your dermatologist injects the damaged vessel with a saline solution that contains a detergent or other irritant. The solution causes the vessel wall to collapse so that your body can resorb the broken vein.

Or, if you want to eliminate spider veins on your face, you may opt for an IPL photofacial. This noninvasive treatment targets the excess pigment in the spider veins, as well as that in age spots and freckles. A series of 2-6 IPL facials confers benefits such as:

  • Removes spider veins

  • Fades and removes age spots

  • Improves melasma

  • Fades and removes birthmarks

  • Smooths fine lines and wrinkles

The IPL device also helps your skin produce more collagen. Collagen is a protein that creates a supportive matrix for your skin, to keep it thick, pliable, and tight.

Don’t live with unsightly, unnecessary spider veins. Get the skin clarity you deserve with sclerotherapy or IPL photofacials by contacting our Central Utah Dermatology office today. Call our friendly office team or use our online booking form

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