Summer Bodies

As Heidi Klum showed us last Halloween, if you really want to give ’em a fright, highlight the aging process by flaunting leg veins.  While that may be a great gag for a supermodel like Klum, most of us don’t want to fear showing multi-color-lined limbs this summer.

As it happens, now is the perfect time to do some pre-shorts maintenance on particularly “veiny” areas.  As I always say, “Summer bodies are made in the Spring.”  Namely because a significant number of minimally invasive aesthetic procedures such as lasers, chemical peels and IPL (intense pulsed light) require non-tanned skin and no sun exposure directly after the procedure. So it’s a good idea to take advantage of all that cloud cover and rain while we have it.

What are Spider Veins?

Spider veins, also known as Telangiectasias, are small, visible reddish blue, widened blood vessels that appear as web-shaped lines on the skin – they can be located on your face, legs or ankles. While spider veins can develop anywhere within the body, they are most often visible on the skin and whites of the eyes and are not usually symptomatic. This type of “broken capillaries” or dilation of small blood vessels appear on the skin for a number of reasons including aging, genetics, pregnancy, sun exposure, alcohol consumption and are associated with a number of diseases. Unfortunately, women are four times more likely to suffer from spider veins than men.

How to Treat Spider Veins

Since the 1930s a commonly used method for treating spider veins has been a procedure called Sclerotherapy, which involves injecting the vein with a solution causing the vein walls to swell, stick together and seal shut, stopping the flow of blood. Often compression stockings are recommended following Sclerotherapy to help with healing and decrease swelling. Typically more than one treatment is necessary for Sclerotherapy to be effective.

More recently spider veins, particularly those located on the face, have been treated with surface laser treatments. This technique sends strong, narrow bursts of light through the skin’s surface and directly to the vein, effectively sealing the vein closed. In the past, laser treatments for spider veins could be quite painful.  However, the latest innovations in laser technology have integrated cooling mechanisms such as those of Cutera’s Excel V laser that make the procedure much more comfortable. As with Sclerotherapy, more than one treatment is typically necessary to rid yourself of those pesky spider veins.

All in all, both techniques are equally effective ways to address spider veins. A good rule of thumb-get a complimentary consultation and find out which technique is best for you…because the sun will be shining before you know it!

About The Author: Dr. Chad Pferfer, M.D.