Spider veins are small, damaged veins that can appear on the surface of the legs or face. They are usually not painful or harmful, but some people may wish to treat them for cosmetic reasons.
Spider veins can be blue, purple, or red and may appear in the form of thin lines, webs, or branches. People sometimes also refer to them as thread veins.
A range of treatments can remove spider veins or reduce their appearance.
In this article, we discuss the causes of spider veins and how they differ from varicose veins. We also cover the treatment and prevention of spider veins.
In the legs, spider veins can occur when the valves inside the veins stop working properly.
Veins carry blood back to the heart. To prevent blood from flowing backward, they contain a one-way valve that closes once the blood passes through it.
If this valve weakens or becomes damaged, the blood may struggle to flow in the correct direction, and it can begin to pool inside the vein. Over time, this can cause a bulge in the vein that branches out, resulting in spider veins.
Spider veins on the face are often the result of tiny blood vessels bursting. Increased pressure or sun damage can cause this to occur.
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