I’ve got a huge phobia of spiders and I’m not keen on the vein variety either; I had my first spider vein pop up on my right calf aged just 17, despite being really sporty and active (I suspect it was caused by standing for hours on end at my first job as a sales assistant in Miss Selfridge and I’m sure my love of high heels didn’t help) as the years have passed and the spider veins have increased, so has my hatred for them!
The main causes for these unsightly veins are; standing for extended periods of time, being overweight, pregnancy, smoking, diabetes (types 1 & 2) all factors that put extra pressure on the circulatory system and therefore weaken the valves within the veins. If you remember back to your school biology lessons, the deep veins in our system have valves in them (like little flaps) that push the deoxygenated blood back to the heart with the help of body movement, so if the valves become weak, they become inefficient and the blood pools around that valve causing a bulging, varicose vein. They aren’t dangerous but they can ache. The surrounding veins are then put under pressure and a knock-on effect is caused. The spider veins are the last to present themselves in the process, although the varicose veins might be too deep to be visible in some people (me included, thank goodness).
There are ways to help prevent them -although I’m guessing that if you’re reading this it’s too late for prevention! The best ways to prevent them are to keep within your BMI, exercise, wear low heeled shoes (no thank you!) and to raise your legs for a few minutes at the end of every day. Unfortunately, some people are just predisposed to them, especially if there is a family history, and annoyingly they are more prominent on others too- such as fair-skinned people like me.
So, how to get rid of them! First you need to find a good Doctor experienced in spider/varicose vein removal. This is a delicate treatment and needs to be taken much more seriously than it often is. There are many ways to treat these veins but it should be your Doctor that decides your best course of treatment, not you!
My Doctor is the wonderful Dr Ross at the Cosmedics clinic, a specialist in mole removal and expert of all things skin! Essentially, Dr Ross has all the tools and experience necessary to treat all types of veins- this is so important as different techniques are often needed to treat different types of veins. For big varicose veins a local anaesthetic is needed, while a wire laser is inserted into the vein to cut the bulge- it is a revolutionary treatment that has a 95% success rate. Smaller, blue veins can be treated with Foam Sclerotherapy, whereby a foam substance is injected into the vein to stick the vein together- pushing the pooled blood out. Thread veins can be treated with Microsclerotherapy but this time using a sugar solution to stick the vein together, or a light laser can be used to seal these veins. Clients will often present themselves with a mixture of veins to be treated so it is important that your Doctor is able to treat them all.
Doctor Ross decided to treat my spider veins with the microsclerotherapy technique, which luckily for me, is the simplest of all the procedures. A super fine needle is inserted into each broken capillary and a sticky, sugar solution is administered- sticking the capillary closed. When the broken capillary is sealed in this way, blood can no longer travel through it and the capillary is therefore no longer visible. For all you needle-phobes out there, please don’t worry about the injection part of the treatment; the needle is so fine you can barely feel it (truthfully!) the part that is slightly uncomfortable comes from the sugar solution, which feels a bit stingy. This only last a few minutes though.
After the treatment, you need to wear support stockings for a week to keep the treated capillaries compressed and you mustn’t exercise (as a boost in circulation could ‘unstick’ the treated capillaries). Once you remove the support stockings and the plasters you may get a shock at how bruised the area looks, this is totally normal but it does take a while to disappear. You may also have some brown spots due to the iron in the blood, these will also fade.
The results are unbelievable! Such a simple treatment, yet with incredible results. It does need planning though; I needed 2 treatments and had to wait 6 weeks between each treatment, it also took a further 4 weeks for my bruising to completely fade (although this healing period will vary from person to person and bruises seem to last forever on me but taking Arnica tablets a few days prior to treatment will help to reduce the bruising) so expect to wear tights or trousers for a good few weeks! The results are so worth the wait though! We’d better have a good summer this year- I want to get these pins out!
Clinics in Harley Street, Putney, City, Knightsbridge Tel: 0207 386 0464
Consultation £50 redeemable against cost of treatment plan. Prices from £250