Summer means short sleeves and shorter hemlines, but if you have spider veins or varicose veins then summer means being uncomfortable with your legs covered up.
Check out these ways to treat and camouflage varicose veins and spider veins so you can enjoy this hot summer.
Get your veins treated
Here are three popular and non-invasive treatment options for varicose veins and spider veins. Your vein specialist can diagnose any underlying vein conditions you may have and help you with the best treatment to get your legs healthy and summer ready.
Sclerotherapy is the gold-standard treatment for varicose veins and spider veins with no pain or downtime. Your doctor injects your problem veins with a special chemical that makes them shrink and dissolve painlessly.
- Most people don't need anesthesia.
- Sclerotherapy can be combined with other vein treatments.
- Foam sclerotherapy with ultrasound guidance can treat larger and deeper varicose veins.
Endovenous thermal ablation
Endovenous thermal ablation uses radiofrequency or laser energy to heat and collapse large varicose veins with little to no pain and quick downtime. Your doctor inserts a long, narrow catheter into your vein to heat it from the inside.
- Endovenous laser ablation therapy called EVLT uses a laser probe to treat your veins
- Radiofrequency ablation called RFA uses radiofrequency energy to treat your veins
- Both thermal ablation techniques options work well and depend on your doctor's preference
Phlebectomy, also known as ambulatory or micro-phlebectomy, is a technique to remove your varicose veins through tiny punctures in your skin. The technique is minimally invasive and there's a quick recovery time.
- Phlebectomy requires only local anesthetic.
- Recovery is fast and easy.
- The punctures in your skin are so small that they don't need stitches.
Camouflage your veins
If you are looking to temporarily hide your problem veins, you might first try the camouflage approach. Of course this won't help with any underlying venous conditions you might have, but it can be a quick-fix for going out.
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 won't melt like 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.