13 Apr Get Your Legs Summer-Ready With Sclerotherapy
With warm temperatures and clear skies, summer is the time of shorts, skirts, dresses and bathing suits—unless you’re one of many sufferers of skin conditions that make it too difficult to let your skin show. Some common skin conditions, such as varicose veins and spider veins, can cause such embarrassment that people are reluctant to bare their legs, even when the temperatures soar. Luckily, there are ways to treat them.
What Are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins and spider veins are very common—in the United States, over half of all women have the condition, while 45% of men do—and are often caused by age, pregnancy, genetics or obesity. Standing or sitting for long stretches of time can also contribute to the condition.
Although sometimes used interchangeably, varicose veins and spider veins do have differences. Varicose veins refer to the large, twisted veins that most often appear in the legs and feet. They are commonly dark purple or blue—though can also be red or even skin-colored—and can form bulges along the skin. Spider veins, while similar to varicose veins, are smaller and occur closer to the surface of the skin. Spider veins also usually appear red or blue, and can be found on the legs as well as the face.
Spider veins and varicose are generally cosmetic concerns, but both conditions can cause physical discomfort. Those with spider veins may experience itchiness, while varicose veins sufferers may experience throbbing, achiness or heaviness. Some varicose veins may lead to more serious health concerns, such as blood clots (phlebitis).
Treatment for Varicose Veins: Sclerotherapy
Though small varicose veins and spider veins aren’t a major cause for concern in terms of health, those with the condition often want them removed quickly and painlessly to get smooth, blemish-free legs. There are many treatments, but one of the most effective is sclerotherapy. In fact, it’s been called the “treatment of choice” for small varicose veins and large spider veins.
With sclerotherapy, a solution comprising sclerosing agents is injected into the affected veins. This solution causes the veins to scar and close, and the veins eventually fade. One to three sessions are generally sufficient to reduce prominent varicose veins, and no anesthesia is required—but because there must be a “rest period” between treatments of four to six weeks, it’s best to start sclerotherapy treatment before the end of April to ensure your legs are ready for summer.
Other treatments for varicose veins include laser treatments, though those are more suitable for smaller spider veins. Surgical treatments in which the affected veins are removed are also available, but are usually only recommended for large symptomatic varicose veins.
After Treatment, Prevent New Varicose Veins
Sclerotherapy treatment is an effective, fast and minimally invasive way to treat varicose veins and spider veins. As sclerotherapy only treats existing varicose veins, however, it’s important to prevent new ones from forming by making small adjustments to your everyday life.
If you sit or stand for long periods of time, take breaks to give your legs a rest. Use compression stockings or socks, which are designed to put even pressure on the legs and help blood flow. And, of course, get plenty of exercise—get your body moving to keep your legs summer-ready all year long.