The Skiny on varicose veins from our consulting dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett.
Varicose veins can be anything from very small and threadlike to bulging and blue.
Varicose veins are a result of genetics, giving birth, standing for long periods of time or trauma to the legs. Obesity and heat can make them look and feel worse. They occur when the valves in the veins fail, causing a backflow of blood. Arteries carry blood to the body and veins carry blood back to the heart; capillaries connect arteries and veins. When capillaries weaken, blood can pool in the veins, making them bulge.
To prevent varicose veins – or to stop them from worsening – wear compression stockings and do frequent calf raises, both of which put pressure on the legs and stop this backflow. However, professional treatments work best.
Sclerotherapy uses injections of a vein-irritating substance to close off the veins, and lasers are being used to heat up blood vessels to seal them shut.