Tips for Summer-Ready Legs

Warm weather means short sleeves and shorter hemlines — at least it does for a lot of us. For people with unsightly spider veins or varicose veins, it’s a time to sweat through uncomfortable temperatures while keeping our legs covered up in pants, leggings or tights.

If you have visible veins or discolorations on your legs, there are ways to camouflage or treat them. If you think you can’t afford it, think again; there are affordable ways to cover up or treat those problem veins.

Camouflage options

Makeup

You can buy makeup specially formulated for legs, or you can make your own leg makeup using a combination of concealer, pancake makeup and powder. You would use the concealer on the actual veins, and then blend the area into the surrounding skin with the pancake makeup. The powder helps to set the leg makeup and gives your skin a soft finish.

Do not use leg makeup if you plan to go swimming, because it will wash right off. You should also not use it if you plan to spend a lot of time in hot and humid conditions, because the leg makeup would be more likely to melt and run.

The best setting for leg makeup is if you are going to be spending a short time in a temperature-controlled environment, such as at a cocktail party. You can find cheaper leg makeup at discount stores, or spend as much as $50 for big brand makeup.

Self tanners

Self tanners are a little less likely to melt than makeup, but they might not provide as much coverage for visible veins. These products will darken the skin, making lighter veins less visible. However, if you already have fairly dark skin, and highly visible veins, self-tanning products might not help much. Another issue is that it might be difficult to get the shading right — some people end up looking a bit too orange.

The great thing about self tanner is that, once you allow it to dry for six to eight hours, it is almost waterproof. This means you can wear it to the gym, out dancing, to an outdoor event, or anyplace else you might be wearing shorts and sweating. Self tanners do eventually wear off, so you would need to reapply them every few days. Self tanners can cost anywhere from $5 to $50, depending on if you apply the product yourself, or go to a spray tanning salon.

Vein treatments

Sclerotherapy and laser therapy

Both treatments reduce the appearance of spider and varicose veins by cutting off blood that flows through the problem vein, causing the vein to shrink.

  • Sclerotherapy injects a solution into the vein and works best on smaller vessels
  • Laser therapy uses light to cauterize the veins and works on larger or smaller vessels
  • Sclerotherapy is often used in conjunction with laser therapy
  • Both procedures are performed in your doctor’s office and might require anesthesia
  • The average cost for each procedure is generally between $300 and $500
  • The cost depends on the size and location of the veins, the extent of the work needing to be done, and the type of treatment used

Vein surgery

When other treatment methods fail, or if your veins are causing other problems, your doctor might prescribe vein surgery to remove the damaged veins. Some things to expect with vein surgery include:

  • It is usually performed in a hospital and requires general anesthesia
  • There is a longer recovery time than with other methods
  • It carries the risks associated with other surgeries, including potential reactions to the anesthesia, bleeding, scarring and infection
  • Surgery is the most expensive option
  • Benefits of surgery are long lasting and also address any health issues associated with the enlarged veins

If you are looking to hide your problem veins, you might first try the camouflage approach. A next step would be pursuing the less-invasive treatment options. Sometimes the less invasive treatments are enough to resolve vein problems and diminish unsightly veins, allowing you to feel comfortable showing your legs again. If you have more serious health concerns, or the other options don’t work for you, consult your physician to discuss vein surgery.

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