Spider veins aren’t painful, but they are definitely annoying. These clusters of purple, red, and blue veins appear just beneath the surface of the skin, and are yet another reality of growing older. Dr. Beaty uses a laser to remove spider veins on his patients.
What causes spider veins to form?
The veins are the pathways for de-oxygenated blood to return to the heart. In the legs, the veins have to fight gravity the whole way. As we age our vein walls and surrounding tissues, which all work together to push the blood upward, weaken and can allow the blood to pool. This is usually the cause of varicose veins (which are the larger veins that bulge through the skin) and some larger spider veins.
Facial spider veins obviously don’t have much to do with standing or gravity. They usually form due to hormonal changes, sun damage, rosacea, excessive alcohol consumption, and simple aging.
How do lasers remove spider veins?
First, we apply a numbing agent to the skin above the veins to be treated. Next, we set the laser wavelength to match the color of the targeted vein. The pulse of laser light then penetrates the surface skin and is absorbed by the blood in the vein below. The light energy converts to heat, and the heat coagulates the blood inside the vein. This causes the vein walls to collapse, sealing off the vein. In most cases, the vein is immediately less visible, but over the course of the next two weeks the body will scavenge and absorb the vein and it will totally disappear.
Does this laser treatment of spider veins hurt?
You would think that directing laser energy onto your skin could hurt, but this is low-power laser energy. The light energy isn’t strong enough to damage the skin, but it damages the vein when the vein absorbs the energy and it converts to heat. When the laser energy is delivered, you’ll feel a slight prickly sensation. We apply topical numbing agent prior to your session, so there isn’t any pain.
What are the advantages of using laser vein therapy?
There are really no risks involved with these treatments, whereas methods such as sclerotherapy can cause slight bruising and patients can sometimes have a reaction to the saline solution. We find lasers to be a better option on facial spider veins, where the skin is more delicate. Lasers also are faster and more efficient when treating larger groups of spider veins.