Spider veins on thigh

Spider Veins

Spider veins appear as small clusters of blood vessels just under the surface of the skin.

These veins are harmless, but they can make you feel embarrassed and frustrated with your appearance.

How do I know if I have spider veins?

Spider veins on thigh

Spider Veins Appear as Flat, Fine Lines

Smooth Texture

Unlike varicose veins, spider veins do not usually bulge or swell. And as their name implies, the veins are fine like a spider web.

Color Variations

Spider veins can range in color. Some may appear red while others are purplish or blue.

Sometimes Affecting the Face

Varicose veins tend to develop only on the legs. Spider veins can affect the legs and also the face.

How can I rule out varicose veins?

Distinguishing Spider Veins from Varicose Veins Spider veins appear as thinner, flatter lines. They are generally less noticeable.

spider veins vs varicose veins spider veins vs varicose veins
What are some common risk factors?

Older Women Typically Develop the Condition

In general, older women are more prone to developing spider veins. Hormonal changes resulting from pregnancy, birth control, and other causes can increase your risk.

Are those the only risk factors?

Genetics and Lifestyle Factors Can Result in Spider Veins


In addition to age, women with a family history of blood clots or spider veins are naturally predisposed to developing the condition. 

Occupation, Clothing, and Sun Exposure

Sitting or standing for long periods and wearing overly tight clothing can lead to spider veins. So can sun exposure in women with light skin.

Venous Insufficiency

All of these causes can contribute to a condition known as venous insufficiency. This means that the valves that move blood through the vessels fail or leak. As a result, the blood will pool and create visible veins beneath the skin.

Are spider veins really that common?

Thousands of People Seek Treatment Each Year

How will my doctor test for the condition?

Screening Consists of a Visual Exam

Spider veins can be diagnosed with a simple visual examination. The doctor will also discuss your medical historymedications that could increase your risk such as birth control, and your family medical history.

spider vein exam
Can I prevent spider veins in the first place?

Make a Healthy Lifestyle a Priority

Exercise & Diet

Excess weight can place strain on your veins, so commit to losing a few pounds if you need to. An added bonus: staying active naturally encourages good circulation.

Wear Sunscreen

If you have light skin, sun exposure can cause spider veins and make them worse, especially on your cheeks or nose. Make a habit of wearing full-spectrum, high-SPF sunscreen every day.

Elevate Your Legs

If you can, take short breaks every few hours to lift your legs higher than your heart. This is especially important if you stand throughout the day for work. Pillows offer a comfortable spot to rest your feet.

Wear Compression Stockings

Another tip for workers in the service industry, nurses, and others who need to stay on their feet is to wear lightweight compression stockings.

What professional treatments are available?

Sclerotherapy & Laser Treatment Are Trusted Solutions

“The gold standard of spider vein treatment is sclerotherapy. Laser [therapy] is a good option for the needle-phobic or on veins too small to inject." Dr. Brian Zelickson, associate professor of dermatology at the University of Minnesota

What Exactly Is Sclerotherapy?

During sclerotherapy, the doctor directly injects highly concentrated saline or another type of solution into the vein. The needle may be guided by ultrasound for greater precision. The treatment causes the vein to collapse and break down. As the tissue is resorbed by the body, the appearance of the spider veins will eventually fade.

A Closer Look at Sclerotherapy

Illustration of sclerotherapy Illustration of sclerotherapy
Tell me about my other treatment options...
I'm ready to do something about my appearance...

A Doctor Can Recommend the Best Solution

Spider veins are incredibly common, but they don't have to rule your clothing options or make you reach for makeup every day. Schedule an appointment with a doctor today to learn more about available treatments. 

Stephen P. Hardy, M.D.

Stephen P. Hardy, M.D.

Dr. Stephen P. Hardy is a renowned plastic surgeon with prestigious national affiliations:

  • American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS)
  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS)
  • American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association (ACPA)

To schedule your consultation, contact us online or call us at (406) 728-3811.

Contact Us (406) 728-3811

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