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Dear Sugar
I'm in high school and I have spider veins. I am definitely not overweight and I eat right, so why am I getting them so young? Because of my thin skin and fair complexion they're pretty noticeable and give my legs the appearance of a shriveled old woman. Is there anything I can do short of surgery (my mother refuses) to minimize their appearance? Veiny Janey

To see DEARSUGAR’S answer

Dear Veiny Janey
Unfortunately you are not alone, but don't panic. Studies from the University of Pennsylvania show that in the U.S. alone, more than 75% of women and 50% of men have varicose veins in their legs - and women are two to four times more likely to develop them then men.

Spider veins (aka a less serious form of Varicose veins) are caused by changes in the body's levels of female hormones (estrogen and progesterone). This is perhaps why you may have started developing them around the same time as puberty.

They also happen to be genetic. So if your parents have them, there is strong chance that heredity has preditermined the relationship between you and spider veins. But don't worry - there are two types of very effective treatments available.

Laser is great for minimizing or removing spider veins. Find a dermatologist that offers laser treatment. When you are calling around, make sure that the practitioner providing the service has been well trained since not every dermatologist treats spider veins.

Sclerotherapy is a technique that uses a very thin needle to inject a sclerosing agent into the veins to eliminate them. The sclerosing agent destroys the inner lining of the blood vessel ceasing blood flow without damaging the surrounding tissues.

Once you've had either of these treatments, here are some precautions you can take to try and prevent more spider/varicose veins from developing:

  • Try not to sit completely stationary for any more than three or four hours at a time.
  • Stop smoking
  • Lose weight. You are only straining your legs if you are over your reommended body weight by 20% or more.
  • Make sure you are drinking plenty of water so your bowel movements are fluid. Believe it or not - straining while you are on the potty puts pressure on your rectal veins which can travel to the veins in your legs.
  • Wear support hose.
  • Whenever possible, keep your legs elevated.
Fashiondiva91 Fashiondiva91 11 years
Yea those do work
ethiopian_princess ethiopian_princess 11 years
they come in black now ya know
ethiopian_princess ethiopian_princess 11 years
Baby_Lisa Baby_Lisa 11 years
Dr. Perricone has a really good spider vein treatment...I used to work in cosmetics, and there were women who swore by it. It's $120 for a 6 oz. bottle, but fairly inexpensive when you compare it to the other treatments.
My-Opinion My-Opinion 11 years
good advice Advah*
Advah Advah 11 years
I also recommend a lot of walking/swimming/cycling. If you make your legs muscles work, it'll give you a better blood circulation. Walking is the best, put on a good pair of shoes and go for a walk in the country! Walking in the water at the beach is very good too, the water and the sand will make your muscles work even more. And stay away from the heat: avoid steaming hot baths and extreme suntanning, it'll only make your veins dilate. When in summer, go for cool/cold a shower on your legs instead. I started doing that seriously when I spotted my first spider veins when I was 15, and I've managed to get rid and now stay away from them. Good luck! :)
yayita yayita 11 years
I still don't have them but will as soon as I hit 40. Thats when my mom and her siter got ir so Im expecting those suckers.
anjenn13 anjenn13 11 years
I has sclerotherapy done a few years ago, and I feel so much better about wearing shorts. I would highly recommend it to you! It is relatively fast and only mild to moderate pain. Mine cost about $600 but that is a small price to pay not to be so self conscious!
sparkle_natz sparkle_natz 11 years
I wish there was an easier cure rather then laser and sclerotherapy. my mom has spider veins as well and she's also trying different techniques to try and get rid of them.
Shiloh-Jolie-Pitt Shiloh-Jolie-Pitt 11 years
oops I meant rage... hehehe
Shiloh-Jolie-Pitt Shiloh-Jolie-Pitt 11 years
I agree with genetics. Ethiopian-Princess is right. If you feel really embarrassed you could self tan consistently (do not go out in the sun please). Or get one of those fake hose sprays that gives you color (Sally Hansen makes it, at Walgreens and CVS/Eckerds). It's like foundation for your legs and several formulas are water proof. You are in luck now that leggings and opaque tights are all the range again!
ethiopian_princess ethiopian_princess 11 years
it's probably genetics. you may want to wait until late teens/early twenties as you could possibly get more. look at your mother's legs. ask her how much she had at your age. that's a pretty good indication of what you'll have. no point getting expensive treatments now if you have to have do-overs in a few years.
jennifer76 jennifer76 11 years
I have no advice for you, but I'm beginning to love all these questions to DearSugar. I realize these physical imperfections seem tragic to whoever writes in, but they seem pretty inconsequential to me. So, I'm beginning to believe that my own hangups are just as trivial as my husband has always told me they are.
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