Spider veins are a mild form of varicose veins that usually have no symptoms, other than being a cosmetic issue, particularly when they occur on the face. They affect an estimated 30-60% of people, with older people more likely to get them as the skin ages. The good news is that they can be treated with home remedies or medical procedures and there are plenty of things you can do to reduce your chance of developing them, which mainly involve living an overall healthy lifestyle.

What are spider veins and what causes them?

Spider veins are small, dilated blood vessels that sit near the surface of the skin, making them visible. They can occur anywhere on the body but are common on the legs and face. Thankfully, they don’t pose any health risks, but they can be unsightly. Spider veins form when the capillaries in the skin on your face become dilated, which can happen due to poor blood circulation or ageing skin that is damaged, causing the capillaries to loosen and expand.

Who’s at risk of getting spider veins?

Some people have a higher chance of developing spider veins, but the good news is that the majority of things that increase the likelihood are lifestyle factors that can be controlled. People who don’t exercise enough, are overweight, smoke tobacco, drink a lot of alcohol, and excessively expose their skin to the sun, leading to damage, are much more likely to develop spider veins on their face. Genetics also play a part and they seem to occur more often in women, which are the main factors that you can’t control.

Natural ways to treat spider veins

There are several different natural methods you can use to try to treat spider veins on your face. A mixture of one tablespoon of vitamin E and half a tablespoon of witch hazel can be applied to the affected area up to three times a day. Massage a little on your face and leave it until it dries out, then rinse your skin clean and pat dry. Alternatively, try the same routine but with a mix of one teaspoon of carrot essential oil, one teaspoon of spinach essential oil, and 20 teaspoons of jojoba oil, which can be used twice a day. An oral supplement of horse chestnut extract or butcher’s broom may help too. These can all improve the appearance of spider veins as they boost blood circulation and reduce inflammation.

Should you see a doctor?

In most instances, spider veins are a cosmetic issue, so you only need to see a doctor if they’re bothering you and you want to look into medical treatment options, rather than home remedies. However, spider veins can be a symptom of another medical issue, so if you’re unsure of what’s caused yours it can be a good idea to see your doctor for an examination and possible diagnosis.

Medical treatment options

Your doctor may prescribe retinoids, a cream that is used for many different skin conditions. Retinoids can reduce the visibility of the capillaries and improve the health of the skin, but they may dry the skin out and cause itchiness and redness. Sclerotherapy is another option, which injects sclerosing agents that seal the blood vessels, helping spider veins to disappear in just a few weeks. However, a side effect of this is that it can cause pain and discomfort for a few days.

Laser therapy can be used to destroy the veins, but this can also damage the skin, making it sensitive. Multiple sessions of laser therapy are often needed, which can be expensive, and the spider veins can come back in the future. One of the best options is intense pulled light therapy, which uses special lights that penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin, causing no damage to the top layer.

Spider veins can be a nuisance, but they don’t pose a problem to your health, they can be treated and there are plenty of things you can do to reduce your chance of developing them.