Spider Veins

Understanding the causes of spider veins and four ways to prevent and treat it.
A common complaint among my adult female patients is a condition we dermatologists refer to as spider veins or telangiectasis—dilated capillaries on the face. In fact, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, it's estimated that at least half of the adult female population is plagued with this common cosmetic problem.

Little purple and red veins can appear on the nose and cheeks as well as the legs. Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but they are much smaller.

Spider veins lie closer to the skin’s surface and are dark red, blue or purple in color. They may appear as early as the teen years or not until over 40. As we age, they become more numerous. Men can also suffer from this condition, but their thicker skin offers more protection. Women, however, are twice as likely to have this condition.

Although they do not pose a health threat in the way that varicose veins can, spider veins can be unsightly because these tiny, delicate veins lie so close to the surface of the skin.


Spider veins may become more prominent as women age, when they begin to lose estrogen and their skin becomes thinner, making it more susceptible to broken capillaries – especially around the nose and cheek area. Other causes include:

  • Sun exposure
  • Alcohol consumption hormonal changes
  • Obesity
  • Heredity
  • Standing on your feet for long periods can contribute to spider veins on the leg area.


To treat telangiectasis, most plastic surgeons and dermatologists use laser treatments, either alone or in combination with electric needle therapy. However, these treatments may have negative side effects.


There are some steps we can take to help prevent spider veins from forming and to also minimize their appearance if we already have them.

  • Follow the Perricone anti-inflammatory diet to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Exercise regularly. This will help to keep your legs muscles and veins strong. In addition, circulation is very important so include exercises that focus on the legs such as running or walking.
  • Avoid crossing your legs when sitting
  • Avoid standing for long periods of time.
  • Drink 6 – 8 glasses of pure spring water per day
  • Watch your sodium intake
  • Increase your fiber intake. The best way is to eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, including apples, old fashioned oatmeal, oat bran or grains such as barley. Not only is barley a low-glycemic grain, it is high in both soluble and insoluble fiber.

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