Aging comes with its own set of troubles. One such condition that is more common among the aging lot is spider veins, which can take a toll on physical health and well-being. However, do not worry. There are natural and effective ways to treat and prevent this condition. Read on to find out what they are.
Spider veins, also known as telangiectasias, are dilated veins (resembling a spider web) found on the surface of the skin. They usually go undiagnosed unless there are other symptoms associated with their appearance. Spider veins are often associated with throbbing and restless legs, which can get quite bothersome and require attention. This condition is more common among individuals above 50 years of age. However, even young adults can be affected by this condition (1).
But what causes them?
Spider veins are common in both men and women. They occur as a result of weakened valves in the veins, which otherwise enable blood flow through the veins. Damaged valves result in the swelling of veins, and these develop into spider veins (2). Some of the most common causes of this condition include:
Other than being unsightly to look at, spider veins may also be accompanied by a series of symptoms that can become bothersome in the long run (3).
But aren’t these symptoms similar to that of varicose veins? How are spider veins different? Let’s find out below.
The two most commonly occurring vein conditions are spider veins and varicose veins. Many often get confused between the two types. To help you decide which of the two you are actually suffering from, here are some of major differences between spider veins and varicose veins.
|Spider Veins||Varicose Veins|
|These are tangled groups of blood vessels that occur just below the surface of your skin.||This condition is much more unsightly in appearance than spider veins.|
|They often resemble a spider web or the branches of a tree.||Varicose veins are often bumpy and rope-like in appearance.|
|They may be red, blue, or purple and are often present on the thighs, lower legs, and face. They can also occur on your breasts, ankles, and feet.||Like spider veins, varicose veins can be blue, red or even flesh-colored in some cases. They usually occur in the back of the calves or on the inner legs between the groin and the ankles.|
|They hardly cause any other symptoms. But in some cases, spider veins can cause an itching or burning sensation.||Common symptoms of varicose veins include leg pain, cramps, fatigue, heaviness in the legs, swelling, itching, burning, and even ulcers in severe cases.|
|Spider veins are caused by a medical condition called venous insufficiency.||As in the case of spider veins, the main cause of varicose veins is venous insufficiency.|
The following are the factors that can increase put an individual at a higher risk of developing spider veins.
Certain factors can increase your risk of developing spider veins. They include:
To treat spider veins and its symptoms successfully and at the earliest, it is important to get yourself diagnosed first. How is that done?
Your doctor may perform a physical examination that involves looking at your legs while you are standing to check for any swelling.
You may also need to get an ultrasound test done to check whether your vein valves are functioning normally and if there are any blood clots.
Your doctor can also suggest some treatments to improve the appearance of spider veins. They include:
As spider veins are more of a cosmetic concern than medical, many affected individuals are seen opting for surgery to get rid of their unsightly appearance. However, following some simple and natural remedies, along with a few lifestyle changes, can help deal with this condition without having to go under the knife (4).
Do this 2 to 3 times daily.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) improves blood flow in the affected area, thus helping you get rid of spider veins.
Due to the acidic nature of ACV, it is recommended to do a patch test on your skin before following this remedy.
Repeat this 2 to 3 times daily.
Witch hazel is a natural astringent and is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties. The spider veins shrink and become less visible on the topical application of this oil. Witch hazel contains tannins and volatile oils, both of which can reduce inflammation and heal the inflamed veins (5).
One of the basic and most efficient ways to treat spider veins is by massaging the affected area. Massaging the affected area improves blood flow and diminishes the appearance of spider veins.
Cold compressed castor oil
Follow this regimen 2 to 3 times daily.
Being anti-inflammatory and stimulating in nature, castor oil improves blood circulation. This property can treat spider veins and reduce their appearance.
Use cold compressed castor oil as this is its purest form.
Cold compressed coconut oil
Repeat this daily for best results.
Coconut oil is one of the best natural sources of antioxidants. It improves blood flow, thus treating spider veins (6).
Cold compressed coconut oil is recommended due to its refined composition.
Do this 3 to 4 times a week.
Epsom salt, also known as magnesium sulfate, is well known for its detoxifying and anti-inflammatory properties (7). The magnesium content in this salt helps to treat the inflamed spider veins and reduces their appearance. However, Epsom salt is to be only used externally and should not be ingested.
Use according to your symptoms.
A hot compress removes clots and promotes blood flow while a cold compress reduces inflammation and minimizes bruising around the spider veins.
Elevate your leg while applying a compress. This is to avoid pooling of blood in the affected area.
Grape seed extract supplement (liquid or capsule form)
Take 720 mg of grape seed extract.
Consume this supplement daily.
The seeds of black or red grapes are rich in bioflavonoids called oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs) (7). These complexes are known to treat spider veins by promoting the circulation of blood while reducing inflammation.
Repeat this procedure daily for best results.
Garlic is best known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Its ability to enhance blood circulation helps in the treatment of spider veins (8).
For best results, you can also include garlic in your diet.
Do this 4 times a day.
Green tomatoes enhance blood circulation in the affected areas. The seeds of these tomatoes contain an acidic substance that helps in this regard. This substance acts as a natural anticoagulant, helps improve blood flow, and reduces inflammation.
Do not wrap the bandage too tightly around the spider veins.
Do this 2 to 3 times a day.
The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of ginger are due to the presence of a compound called gingerol. These properties make ginger one of the best natural ways to combat spider veins (9).
You can also include ginger in your daily diet.
40 mg ginkgo extract supplements
Consume 40 mg of ginkgo extract.
Consume this 3 times a day.
Ginkgo biloba contains active ingredients that are known to strengthen the tissues of the vein walls. It is also used to improve blood circulation, and can thus be used for treating spider veins as well.
Aescin supplement (50mg)
Consume 50 mg of aescin supplement on a daily basis.
Have this twice daily.
Being a flowering plant, horse chestnut contains a component called aescin. This extract strengthens the tissues of the vein walls and reduces inflammation caused by spider veins. It is also involved in the active regeneration of weak or damaged veins (10).
You can top this with one of the topical remedies.
Japanese pagoda extract and its supplement
You can either take Japanese pagoda tree extract as a supplement or apply it topically.
Do this daily.
Japanese pagoda extract increases the circulation of blood and strengthens the veins.
Drink 2 to 3 glasses of this mixture daily.
Lemon juice is rich in vitamin C and is often used as a blood purifier. Baking soda is alkaline and is often used for its neutralizing properties (11). A combination of these compounds was found to relieve and treat spider veins.
Alternatively, you can apply lemon topically on the affected areas.
Consume one cup of oak bark tea daily.
Being rich in many vitamins and minerals, white oak bark tea is quite popular for its healing properties. One of its greatest advantages is its ability to stabilize and strengthen veins. Thus, oak bark tea is used in the treatment of spider veins as well.
You can also apply this tea topically with a cloth compress. Once absorbed by the skin, it can relieve symptoms associated with spider veins.
Drink 2 cups of green tea daily.
Green tea is one of the best natural antioxidants. This property makes it suitable to treat a variety of ailments, including spider veins. It can reduce inflammation and strengthen the vein walls (11).
Drink chamomile tea daily for best results.
Chamomile tea has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat spider veins and their symptoms (12).
Chamomile tea can also be soaked in a cloth and wrapped around the spider veins for faster recovery.
Drink this tea daily for best results.
The anti-inflammatory properties of witch hazel help in treating the inflamed spider veins (13).
Alternatively, witch hazel oil can also be applied topically to relieve symptoms associated with spider veins.
Tea tree oil
Do this daily.
Tea tree oil has antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Thus, it can be used for treating spider veins and relieving the inflammation and discomfort associated with them.
Tea tree oil, when combined with aloe vera, can also moderately treat spider veins.
Saline injections (Sclerotherapy)
As suggested by your physician.
Saline injections, also referred to as sclerotherapy, have been used for treating spider veins for centuries. Injecting a saline solution into the affected veins results in the damage of the inner vein walls. This leads to inflammation and clotting of blood in the veins, and the spider veins lose their color and diminish in appearance (14).
Take these injections only under medical supervision.
Add a teaspoon of turmeric to a glass of hot milk and consume daily.
Drink this daily for best results.
Turmeric contains a phytochemical called curcumin, which is rich in antioxidants and imparts anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties to it. These properties help treat spider veins and relieve the symptoms.
You can also mix turmeric with water and apply it directly to the affected areas.
While these remedies work their magic, taking precautions and preventing the condition in the first place will do no harm. Here are some tips that may help.
If you follow the above tips and remedies discussed in this post, you will see your spider veins vanish in no time.
Hope this article helped address all your doubts and queries related to spider veins. For more information, do not hesitate to get in touch with us through the comments section below.
Can spider veins go away on their own?
No, spider veins do not heal without treatment.
What can happen if spider veins are not treated?
If left untreated, spider veins may start to swell and pain. The symptoms can also become worse if not attended to immediately (15).
What happens if you pop a spider vein?
Under medical supervision, a spider vein may be popped by a needle. However, if a spider veins pops due to an injury, apply an ice compress to the affected area immediately to avoid further bleeding.
Can spider veins cause swollen ankles?
If spider veins are present inside the ankle, there is a possibility of a more serious underlying condition. In this case, swelling and inflammation of the ankles are quite common and need to be treated immediately (16).
Can you tattoo over spider veins?
Tattooing over spider veins is usually done to hide their appearance. However, this increases the risk of vein damage and infection in that area (17).
Are compression stockings good for spider veins?
Yes, compression stockings are good for spider veins and help relieve the symptoms associated with it. They are especially helpful for those who need to sit for a long time as they promote blood flow (18).