Spider veins are small blood vessels near the skin's surface that are visible as thin red, blue or purple lines. They most often appear on the legs but can occur on the face and elsewhere. In addition to being unsightly, spider veins may ache, swell or burn.
Age is one culprit—over time, veins get larger and skin gets thinner and more transparent. A propensity for spider veins runs in families, though they also can be caused by injury. Home remedies cannot get rid of spider veins, but two types of medical treatment can.
Sclerotherapy involves injecting spider veins with a salt-based solution. This collapses the veins and cuts off blood flow, causing them to fade and easing discomfort. Pain is minor because the needle is very small. A single injection can destroy many interconnected veins, though you may need several injections and/or sessions. After sclerotherapy, healthy veins take over for destroyed ones.
Cost: Between $100 and $400 per treatment.
Laser treatment uses pulses of energy to heat and shrink the veins. Each laser pulse feels like a rubber band snapping on your skin, and many pulses are needed along the length of the vein. Facial spider veins generally respond best to laser treatment.
Cost: $300 or more per treatment.
Both treatments may need to be repeated if new spider veins appear. Insurance seldom covers the cost. Side effects are rare but may include sores, red marks and scarring.
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