Spider veins (telengiectasias) are those unwanted blood vessels that make their appearance close to the surface of our skin. Sometimes they appear on our face (for more information on facial veins, click here) and often we find them on our legs, making us insecure about wearing shorts or skirts. Spider veins on the legs affect millions of people. Appearing as thin red, bluish or purple veins they can result from sun exposure, use of oral contraception, hormone therapy, the aging process, occupations that involve prolonged standing or heredity. Although these super-fine veins are connected with the larger venous system, they are not an essential part of it. Varicose veins differ from spider veins in a number of ways. Varicose veins are larger in diameter, darker in color, and tend to bulge. They are also more likely to cause pain and be related to more serious vein disorders. Often surgical treatment is necessary for this condition.
1.) Discontinue use of topical retinoids, hydroquinone, topical acid products, benzoyl peroxide, clairsonic brushes or other scrub products on the treatment area one week prior to your appointment.
2.) Discontinue use of photosensitizing medications one week prior to your appointment.
3.) Discontinue use of self-tanners 7 – 10 days prior to your appointment.
4.) Make sure you are not tan or sunburned. Limit sun exposure for at least 3 weeks prior to your treatment.
5.) Shave the treatment area either the evening before or the morning of your appointment. The closer the shave, the better.
6.) Print and fill out all paperwork and consent forms. These will be emailed to you a few days prior to your first appointment.
7.) If you are worried about pain during your treatment, you may take some pain reliever 30 – 45 minutes prior to your appointment.
Do not expose your legs to the sun or tanning beds for 5 – 7 days following your treatment.
Do not engage in any high impact exercise for approximate 5 days after your treatment.
Do not expose yourself to high heat as in hot tubs, saunas, hot baths or showers and hot yoga for several days following your treatment. Take lukewarm showers or baths.
Try to walk for approximate 30 minutes each day for a few days following your treatment. When possible, avoid standing for long periods of time.
If you have a lot of spider veins, your technician may recommend wearing compression stockings for a week after your treatment while you are awake. It is not necessary to wear them while you are sleeping.
If there is any redness, itching or swelling over the treated areas you may apply over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream.
– Women who are pregnant
– Anyone who is taking photosensitizing antibiotics
– Anyone undergoing chemotherapy
– Anyone who is tanned or sunburned
– Anyone who is using topical retinoid products, hydroquinone, topical acid products, benzoyl peroxide, clairsonic brushes or other scrub products on the treatment area. Please discontinue use of these products one week prior to treatment.
– Anyone using self-tanners
HOW MANY TREATMENTS WILL I NEED? This really depends on how extensive and severe your spider veins are. Typically 3 treatments are recommended.
CAN YOU TREAT MY SKIN TYPE? We see best results with lighter skin types – up to lighter Fitzpatrick IV. Light Indian, Middle Eastern and Asian skin types all the way down to the lightest skin works best. On darker skin, settings have to be more conservative and therefore results are diminished and more treatments are required. We recommend sclerotherapy for darker skin types.
HOW LONG DOES THE TREATMENT TAKE? A typical treatment takes 30 minutes. This means that we will treat as many veins as we can during a 30 minute session. If you have a large amount of spider veins, you may require additional time or additional sessions in order to treat all of your veins. If you only have a few veins, your treatment may only take 10 – 15 minutes.
HOW OFTEN DO I COME FOR MY TREATMENTS? At least one month is required between treatments in order for the skin and tissue to heal completely. We recommend spacing the first two treatments one month apart and then waiting 3 – 4 months before having your third treatment. This is because it takes time for the body to reabsorb the vessels. By the time you come in for your third treatment you should notice significant improvement and we may find that we have less to treat!
WHEN WILL I SEE MY RESULTS? Sometimes results are instantaneous and we will see a great decrease in the appearance of the vessel during your treatment. However, full results typically take several months – even 5 or 6. This is because of the time it takes your body to reabsorb the vessel wall after it is damaged during the treatment.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS? Risks from laser spider vein treatment are minor and include bruising, crusting, blistering and scabbing of the skin. This is incredibly rare and even if it does occur, healing is usually complete with no remaining scars. Discoloration of the skin is another rare possibility. Avoiding the sun before and after your procedure will limit the risk of this occurring.
WHAT IF I HAVE VARICOSE VEINS? Unfortunately we cannot treat varicose veins. If you are unsure of whether or not your veins are varicose, we are happy to offer you a free consultation to assess them for you. If you do have varicose veins, we can refer you to a vein specialist. We recommend having varicose veins removed prior to spider vein treatment for two reasons. First, because they can be dangerous and second, because varicose veins contribute to the proliferation of spider veins and without removing varicose veins first, your spider vein treatments will not work.
ARE THE RESULTS PERMANENT? While we can treat and permanently destroy the spider veins that you currently have, the normal processes that contributed to the formation of your spider veins are still occurring. Over time you may find that you get some new spider veins and may need additional treatments to stay on top of them.