When you see red or blue marks resembling spider webs or tree branches on a body part (commonly the legs and face), these are typically spider veins. Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but smaller and closer to the surface of the skin, while varicose veins are larger and deeper. Veins act as a way to get blood from body parts back to the heart and come with one-way flaps to prevent blood from flowing backward. If these flaps deteriorate or malfunction, blood can flow back into the veins and pool there, causing the visual effect of spider veins. This condition is usually associated with age and obesity, but can also be affected by hormone changes, smoking, heredity and sun overexposure.

Several treatments for spider veins exist, including laser-based solutions and sclerotherapy, where a saline solution is injected into the vein in order to close it.

For even more detailed information, see our page about sclerotherapy.

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