At that time of year when the sun starts peeping its head out from behind the clouds and the days gradually become warmer.
Whilst for most people it’s a welcome relief to say hello to sunny spring days, for others, it’s not such good news.
Some people find the thought of dressing in lighter, shorter summer clothes and having bare skin on show quite daunting.
If you suffer from thread veins (also known as spider veins) you will no doubt be familiar with this. There is no amount of fake tan and mood lighting that can properly disguise thread veins and it’s hard not to feel self-conscious wearing shorts or swimwear.
You are not the only one
Unfortunately, thread veins are as common as they are unsightly, they are a normal consequence of ageing, affecting over half of all adults aged 50 and above. However, evidence now suggests that it isn’t just an age related issue, with around one in five women in their 20s reported to suffer from them.
Legs and ankles are generally the main problem area, although thread veins can appear on the face, and are often brought about by sun exposure, especially for those with fairer skin.
Pregnancy can trigger thread veins to appear, due to the added pressure that the veins are under, and for the same reasons, obesity can accelerate their appearance. Sitting for long periods of time can also be a cause, as lack of circulation makes it harder for the veins to carry the blood up to the heart. Keeping active, eating less salt and more fibre and maintaining a healthy body weight will help prevent thread veins, but they are also hereditary which means, in some cases, they are unavoidable.
Dare to bare
Whilst hiding behind tights and trousers may be the solution for several months of the year, there are some better answers to the ‘problem’.
The majority of aesthetic surgeons, dermatologists and vascular surgeons believe that the most effective treatments are either hyfrecator or micro-sclerotherapy, although sometimes a combination of both is required. These are not instant solutions, most people requiring several treatments with up to six-week recovery gaps between sessions, but the end results are worth the wait.
Hyfrecator works by emitting low-power, high-frequency, high-voltage AC electrical pulses and involves inserting a needle just under the skin to close down the vein. In the face, the veins are much smaller and superficial than the legs, so one or two treatment sessions should be enough to remove any thread veins. However, new thread veins can appear with time, so you may need to repeat the treatment to remove the veins as they keep coming up.
Microsclerotherapy uses fine needles to inject a chemical into the tiny veins, which closes the veins down, usually causing the vein to shrivel and disappear.
At Pall Mall Medical our consultants are happy to discuss the best options for you. Arrange a consultation with your private GP to find out more about the treatments available to you, and prepare to start shopping for shorts!