Spider veins on thigh

Spider Veins

Spider veins appear as small clusters of blood vessels just under the surface of the skin.

These veins are harmless, but they can make you feel embarrassed and frustrated with your appearance.

How do I know if I have spider veins?

Spider veins on thigh

Spider Veins Appear as Flat, Fine Lines

Smooth Texture

Unlike varicose veins, spider veins do not usually bulge or swell. And as their name implies, the veins are fine like a spider web.

Color Variations

Spider veins can range in color. Some may appear red while others are purplish or blue.

Sometimes Affecting the Face

Varicose veins tend to develop only on the legs. Spider veins can affect the legs and also the face.

Distinguishing Spider Veins from Varicose Veins Spider veins appear as thinner, flatter lines. They are generally less noticeable.

spider veins vs varicose veinsspider veins vs varicose veins

Older Women Typically Develop the Condition

In general, older women are more prone to developing spider veins. Hormonal changes resulting from pregnancy, birth control, and other causes can increase your risk.

Genetics and Lifestyle Factors Can Result in Spider Veins


In addition to age, women with a family history of blood clots or spider veins are naturally predisposed to developing the condition. 

Occupation, Clothing, and Sun Exposure

Sitting or standing for long periods and wearing overly tight clothing can lead to spider veins. So can sun exposure in women with light skin.

Venous Insufficiency

All of these causes can contribute to a condition known as venous insufficiency. This means that the valves that move blood through the vessels fail or leak. As a result, the blood will pool and create visible veins beneath the skin.

Thousands of People Seek Treatment Each Year

Screening Consists of a Visual Exam

Spider veins can be diagnosed with a simple visual examination. The doctor will also discuss your medical historymedications that could increase your risk such as birth control, and your family medical history.

spider vein exam

Make a Healthy Lifestyle a Priority

Exercise & Diet

Excess weight can place strain on your veins, so commit to losing a few pounds if you need to. An added bonus: staying active naturally encourages good circulation.

Wear Sunscreen

If you have light skin, sun exposure can cause spider veins and make them worse, especially on your cheeks or nose. Make a habit of wearing full-spectrum, high-SPF sunscreen every day.

Elevate Your Legs

If you can, take short breaks every few hours to lift your legs higher than your heart. This is especially important if you stand throughout the day for work. Pillows offer a comfortable spot to rest your feet.

Wear Compression Stockings

Another tip for workers in the service industry, nurses, and others who need to stay on their feet is to wear lightweight compression stockings.

Sclerotherapy & Laser Treatment Are Trusted Solutions

“The gold standard of spider vein treatment is sclerotherapy. Laser [therapy] is a good option for the needle-phobic or on veins too small to inject.” Dr. Brian Zelickson, associate professor of dermatology at the University of Minnesota

What Exactly Is Sclerotherapy?

During sclerotherapy, the doctor directly injects highly concentrated saline or another type of solution into the vein. The needle may be guided by ultrasound for greater precision. The treatment causes the vein to collapse and break down. As the tissue is resorbed by the body, the appearance of the spider veins will eventually fade.

A Closer Look at Sclerotherapy

Illustration of sclerotherapyIllustration of sclerotherapy

A Doctor Can Recommend the Best Solution

Spider veins are incredibly common, but they don’t have to rule your clothing options or make you reach for makeup every day. Schedule an appointment with a doctor today to learn more about available treatments. 

Dr. Brownrigg

Dr. Peter Brownrigg

Dr. Brownrigg has focused on facial plastic surgery since 1984. He is affiliated with a range of prestigious organizations, including:

  • American Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery
  • Canadian Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery
  • Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
  • Board Certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic Surgery
  • Has acted as the Canadian Region Vice President of the American Academy of Facial Plastic Surgery
  • Has acted as the treasurer and president of the Canadian Society of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery
  • American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
  • Canadian Society of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
  • Ontario Medical Association

For more information about the services we offer, contact our office online or call (613) 706-6919 today.

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Dr. Brownrigg has been focusing exclusively on facial plastic surgery since 1984!