Are spider veins a cosmetic problem?

  • spider vein treatment helps reduce the risk of vein disease progressing
  • visible veins can indicate a deeper problem
  • spider veins appear in clusters, like webs
  • lifestyle, age and genetics are factors in whether vein problems get worse 

Spider veins are skin deep. They are dilated veins and capillary vessels appearing as small blue, red and purple veins that appear in clusters, like webs. Visible veins lie close to the surface of the skin. Spider veins certainly look superficial.

Many people who have visible veins on their legs decide not to seek treatment because they believe it is a cosmetic thing. Can you spend money on something that really isn’t a problem? Should you spend money on looking good or something more important? The problem might be superficial, but according to the professional association for vein diseases, the Australasian College of Phlebology:

Vein disorders are not always visible.’

So, spider veins may have been caused by larger corrupted veins that can’t be seen. When this happens, the backflow from these hidden varicose veins puts pressure on the smaller capillaries damaging them as well.

Are spider veins superficial?

According to the College of Phlebology, the only way to really know if it’s superficial or if your spider veins are indicating a deeper issue is to get a diagnosis to find ‘the cause, severity and extent of the problem.’

Spider veins are part of venous disease, where the vein walls are weak and blood pools in the veins, causing them to bulge. Over time, spider veins can also corrupt more veins. Venous disease is progressive. That means it ranges from being a cosmetic problem to being a chronic health issue. When they get really bad, varicose  veins come with pain, fatigue, heaviness, aching, burning, throbbing, cramping and restless legs. In the worst case scenarios you get ulcers and the threat of Deep Vein Thrombosis.

How likely is it that spider veins will get worse?

The answer is very personal. The risk factors that determine whether or not your veins will get worse over time include getting older, whether or not you are overweight, how active you are, what kind of job you do (jobs where you are standing a lot increase the risk) family history, gender and pregnancy. 

Not only that, lifestyle can help reduce the risk of vein problems advancing for some individuals. If you are a smoker and give up smoking. If you are overweight and lose weight. If you are a couch potato and become more active. If you are none of these things to begin with. Simply put, a healthy lifestyle helps your veins. 

Not all people who have spider veins have varicose veins. Also, vein problems in some people don’t progress. There is one thing for sure though, getting treatment does significantly reduce the risk of the problem getting worse.

Looking after yourself

When you have spider veins, they might not get worse, but people who look after their legs and have spider vein treatment are more likely to have normal circulation and healthy normal skin. You are also less likely to develop more severe problems. It isn’t as superficial as you might think.

AHPRA WARNING: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.