What Causes Spider Veins On Face And How To Treat Them

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Wrinkles and fine lines are not the only facial problems that can bother you at any age. They may be unnoticeable at first but if you look closely in a mirror, you may find some thin reddish, blue, and sometimes purple-like branches that seem to spread out on your face. These thread veins that appear on the skin's surface are called spider veins and they can be extremely frustrating for your overall appearance. 

So what exactly causes visible facial veins to appear on the face and how can they be removed? Spider vein is a facial skin condition caused by broken blood vessels. Damaged veins may be a result of poor blood circulation, age, genetics, pregnancy, sun damage, venous deficiency, rosacea, alcohol use, and trauma injuries. The options for facial vein treatment include laser vein removal, sclerotherapy, intense pulsed light, and topical retinoid creams.  

What Are Spider Veins And Why Do They Show On The Face? 

Veins are thin, superficial structures inside the body that help circulate blood to keep the heart and other organs functioning. When the blood vessels are damaged, the veins dilate which can cause common vascular lesion problems such as reticular veins, varicose veins, and spider veins. Here’s a quick comparison of the three vein problems:

  • Reticular vein - This is a visible vein that is prominent below the skin but they don’t have a protruding appearance.
  • Varicose vein - This vein disease is distinguished by enlarged veins that commonly appear swollen or bulging. Most leg veins are characterized as varicose veins, and they can often cause pain and heaviness in the legs.
  • Spider vein - These are small, narrow veins that typically form a web-shaped pattern on the face.

Facial veins are also known as telangiectasia. The presence of facial telangiectasia is usually not a cause for immediate medical concern and they are viewed more as a cosmetic problem. If you find spider veins on your face, they may be likely be caused by the following factors:

1. Changes in blood circulation

Visible spider veins are usually a result of blood gathering in the veins due to poor circulation. For one, changes in weather can affect blood circulation. During summertime, you may notice spider veins since hot weather can cause veins to dilate and blood to pool. An extreme sneeze or cough may also put pressure on a blood vessel and result in an unwanted vein in the face.

2. Age 

Getting older may naturally weaken the veins beneath the skin. This is the reason why small or larger veins are more prominent in a patient who is in their early 40s and 50s. Likewise, younger people have more recuperative abilities which mean their skin can repair itself easily when they have damaged veins and capillaries.

3. Genetics

If you have family members with a history of vein diseases, it’s more likely for you to develop a spider vein. Your genes may dictate having weaker veins which can put you at more risk for damaging them. Likewise, your family may have underlying conditions which can affect your veins.

4. Pregnancy

Hormones and blood pressure can drastically elevate during pregnancy which may lead to broken blood vessels. Leg veins are more noticeable since carrying the weight of the fetus can put more pressure on the legs.  

5. Sun damage

Side view portrait of a happy woman breathing deep fresh air at sunset in a house balcony

Too much sun exposure undoubtedly causes skin damage. In this case, the heat from the sun can cause a blood vessel to dilate and result in a spider vein. It can also have an effect on the collagen in the skin and worsen existing broken capillaries.  

6. Chronic venous insufficiency

CVI, or venous reflux, is a vascular condition that occurs when the valves that make sure that blood flow is directed to the heart reverses its circulation. This is the common reason for the veins in the legs where the valves in the lower body don’t function normally, causing pressure in the legs and feet to increase and weakening the blood vessel. 

7. Rosacea

This is a common skin condition characterized by excessive flushing and facial redness which makes small facial blood vessels more noticeable. People with light and sensitive skin are more prone to this condition and it can be worsened by environmental factors and irritants.   

8. Free radicals damage

Environmental pollution and exposure to chemicals may irritate the skin and cause damage to blood vessels. Likewise, lifestyle habits such as smoking can aggravate the veins and arteries in the face since cigarette smoke contain free radicals. Smoking may speed up premature aging effects on the skin and make spider veins more apparent.

9. Alcohol consumption

Alcohol may also temporarily expand your blood vessels. When you frequently consume alcohol, you may notice your skin easily becomes flushed due to enlargement of the vessels. This is why it’s advised to drink in moderation since heavy alcohol consumption may lead to broken blood vessels and result in spider veins.

10. Injuries

Physical injuries that result in bruising may cause spider veins to be more visible in the face. The formation of spider veins from injuries may need extra attention since it can be a warning sign of a serious blood clot problem.      

Treatment Options For Facial Spider Veins 

Fortunately, most spider veins are not a symptom of a severe health issue and they can easily be treated with noninvasive vein treatment procedures. The options for removal of spider veins are:

1. Sclerotherapy 

Sclerotherapy for spider vein treatment involves injections of a chemical solution into the affected vein. The solution will force the walls of the damaged veins to close and redirect the blood to healthier veins. The procedure is relatively quick but may involve some mild side effects like bruising, redness, swelling, and pain.

2. Intense pulsed light (IPL)

This treatment option uses a non-laser light device to treat spider veins in the skin. The device transmits light pulses that penetrate deep into the skin to heat the blood vessels that are near the skin’s surface. This effectively removes the smaller veins that are very obvious on the face.  

3. Laser treatment 

Laser vein treatment, or laser spider vein removal, uses strong laser light (such as YAG laser) to dissolve the spider veins. Like IPL, laser therapy directs light to the broken blood vessels. The heat is absorbed in the veins until the damaged vessels are completely destroyed. Over time, the spider veins will shrink until they are no longer visible.  

4. Retinoids 

A dermatologist can also suggest applying retinoid creams to reduce facial spider veins. Retinoids are primarily used for correcting acne and helping with rosacea. When applied to the skin, it can promote collagen production and regeneration of skin cells which effectively lessens the appearance of spider veins.

Read more: Spider Veins Treatment Costs: How To Make Spider Vein Treatment Worth It

How To Manage And Prevent Facial Spider Veins 

Knowing how to take care of your skin is still the best way to manage and prevent spider veins. Here are some tips to help minimize your chances of having facial spider veins:

  • Limit staying under the sun for long periods of time especially during its peak hours in the late afternoon. If you do need to go out, wear sunscreen to give your skin an extra layer of protection from sun damage.
  • Avoid exposure to direct heat such as in saunas, tanning beds, and hot spas. 
  • Use warm water when washing the face or taking a shower. While hot water can be relaxing, it may increase chances of getting spider veins.
  • Take care of your skin by having a proper skin care regimen. Incorporate products with retinol and vitamin A to enrich your skin’s healthy condition. Also, remember to be gentle when applying them to your face to avoid unnecessary pressure on the blood vessels.
  • Wear protective gear and support such as helmets when cycling to avoid extreme injuries that may rupture a vein in the face.

Eliminate Visible Veins at Vein Center Doctor

Facial spider veins are usually harmless but it doesn’t mean that they have to go untreated. Visiting a vein doctor or dermatologist will help you find the right treatment option to permanently address the spider vein problem.

Here at Vein Center Doctor, we specialize in holistic vein care to provide relief from the troublesome appearance and symptoms of varicose veins and spider veins. Our center is led by vein specialist Dr. Sood who is an expert at cosmetic medicine and treatments to help patients live their best life. Contact us now to learn more about our services.