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Spider Veins

The term ‘Spider Veins’ refers to small red and blue veins on the surface of the skin that resemble the strands or circular pattern of a spider web. They can appear anywhere on the body but are most common on the legs and the face. Other fairly frequent areas to find Spider veins are on the shoulders, chest wall and lower back.

About the condition

The size of Spider Veins varies from about 0.1 to 1.0 mm in diameter. Colour varies from bright red small blood vessels to larger blue blood vessels. The common patterns are as single strands, branching tree patterns or circular star patterns. On the face larger spider veins often develop on the side of the nose.

Many factors seem involved in the development of Spider Veins but they do run in families and causative factors seem to be different in different areas. On the face environmental factors like sun, wind and cold are important whilst on the legs prolonged standing, hormones and pregnancies are more important. Spider veins around the nose are associated with allergies such as hay fever and sinus disease. Both men and women can get spider veins and because of the different causes, facial spider veins are more common in Men and leg spider veins are much more common in Women.

What Sort Of Veins Do You Have?

Treatment options

There are basically 3 options when treating Spider Veins:

  1. Surface Injections: This is called Microsclerotherapy because it involves the use of very fine (micro) needles to inject a solution to seal off (sclerose) to treat and destroy leg veins (therapy). This is the main treatment used on leg Spider veins. Has the advantage it can also treat larger Varicose veins at the same time.
  2. Laser: Vascular Lasers can be used and this is a process called Photocoagulation because light (photo) is used to seal off (coagulate) unwanted spider veins. Different laser wavelengths can be needed depending on whether the spider veins are blue or red. Skin cooling is important. This is the main treatment used on facial spider veins as well as Broken capillaries. Has the advantage that there is no needle involved so can be a good option for patients who are needle phobic.
  3. Surface Radiofrequency: This is a process that uses a machine called the VEINGOGH that produces radiofrequency energy to heat up and shut down the veins. A tiny probe touches the skin and short pulses of radiofrequency heat are delivered. It can be used on spider veins anywhere on the body but is most effective on small spider veins.

The advantage we have at Collins Cosmetic Clinic is that we have all these treatment modalities available and can choose the most suitable and effective option to best suit each individual circumstance. In some patients to get the best result we will need to use a combination approach of more than one treatment option.


Most people find Spider Veins unsightly and wish to treat them to improve the appearance of their skin. Spider veins tend to progressively worsen and getting them under control and then follow up with maintenance treatments, if necessary, is the best management approach.

Spider veins don’t usually cause any symptoms, but in some patients they do, and these symptoms can then be improved with treatment. Spider veins on the face can be associated with a flushing or burning sensation. Spider veins on the legs can be associated with tiredness, throbbing and cramping and this can be worse in the premenstrual period. Often we find in treating spider veins on the legs that patients don’t realise how good their legs can feel until after treatment as minor leg vein symptoms can be quite insidious.


Before and after


Before and after images are presented purely as a reference point of the results that can be achieved. Everyone is unique and outcomes will vary and realistic expectations need to be discussed on a case by case basis.

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