They aren't dangerous, but they're not fun to look at, either – spider veins, the cousins of larger varicose veins, are enlarged red or blue blood vessels that live close to the skin's surface and often form a branching or web-like pattern. They often appear on the legs or face, but can occur almost anywhere. Causes of spider veins include hormonal changes, obesity, being sedentary and sun exposure. While spider veins aren't always preventable, there are some things you can do to avoid this unsightly problem. Follow these five tips to reduce your chances of getting spider veins.
- Wear sunscreen – Not only will sunscreen protect you from skin cancer and early skin aging like wrinkles and dark spots, it will also help prevent spider veins – especially on the face.
- Don't cross your legs – Sitting with your legs crossed for too long can slow blood flow in your legs and may cause vessel damage. This can lead to weakening of the vein valves and walls and contribute to spider and varicose veins.
- Get moving – Don't stand or sit for too long without moving. If you have to stand for a long time, shift weight between each leg every few minutes to keep blood flowing. Try not to sit for more than 30 minutes without getting up or going for a walk. Movement and exercise promote blood flow and decrease your risk of unsightly veins.
- Elevate your legs – When you're resting, put your feet up to help take the pressure off your legs and feet and help blood drain back to your heart. This will decrease the pressure on the veins and skin and make them less likely to weaken.
- Get good footwear – Leave your high-heels for special occasions – low-heeled shoes will help promote good blood flow. Also, avoid tight clothes that constrict you at the waist, groin or legs, as these can cause backup of blood in the lower extremities. Compression stockings or socks can also help blood get back to your heart and keep your veins from enlarging.