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What Causes Spider Veins?

Over the years, you may have noticed some unsightly veins popping up across your body and face. They may be purple, red or blue. They might lie flat or stick up slightly. Maybe they hurt, maybe not. 

Only one thing is for certain, however: You want them gone! 

You can’t be blamed for wanting smooth skin, and Dr. Leroy Charles at Women’s Pavilion of the Palm Beaches thinks you should have the skin you want. That’s why he offers spider vein removal for the more than 50% of women who have spider veins. But first, let’s talk about what spider veins are and how they form. 

What are spider veins? 

Spider veins are small, thread-like veins that often appear in the shape or manner of a spiderweb, hence the name. Spider veins can show up on your arms and legs, as well as your face. Many women experience spider veins on the backs of their knees and along the cheeks under their eyes. 

Spider veins are often red, but can sometimes be blue. 

What causes spider veins? 

Spider veins are a sign of broken valves in a blood vessel. A quick primer on the circulatory system: Your arteries run fresh blood from your heart to the rest of your body, while veins bring oxygen-depleted blood back to your heart. Your veins move blood with great force and speed because they must work against gravity, and they contain valves that prevent blood from moving backward. 

Sometimes, those valves can get damaged or broken, which leads to blood pooling at the site of the valve. Eventually, the vein enlarges and becomes a spider vein or a varicose vein (more on that later). 

It’s not exactly clear why blood vessel valves stop working in some people, but there is some evidence why some people are more susceptible

Remember, while spider veins can make you uncomfortable about how you look, they don’t usually require medical intervention — only rarely do spider veins lead to medical complications. So there’s no cause for concern unless you want them removed for aesthetic purposes. 

Spider veins vs. varicose veins

Spider veins and varicose veins are different forms of a medical condition called “venous insufficiency.” Varicose veins form for many of the same reasons as spider veins, but they appear differently. 

While spider veins appear soft and thread-like, varicose veins appear large, raised and twisted. They’re often more painful than spider veins, and they usually occur only in the legs. Spider veins are also closer to your skin’s surface than varicose veins. 

To learn more about spider veins or to schedule an appointment for spider vein removal, call the Women’s Pavilion of the Palm Beaches office in Greenacres, Florida, at 561-264-2055 or book your appointment online. You can also send a message to Dr. Charles and the team here on the website.

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