Millions of individuals are affected by the sudden appearance of "star" or spider veins on the face. These small veins may appear as red or bluish blotches anywhere on the face but are most common around the nose and cheeks. Spider veins may not be painful but they are unattractive and undesirable by most individuals. In the past, there was little that could be done for these unsightly veins except to apply massive amounts of expensive camouflage creams. However, today we have developed newer tools which can get rid of facial spider veins in no time at all.
Why do spider veins occur on the face?
The real cause is unknown and unlike the leg, spider veins of the face are not associated with increased venous pressure. Even though some believe that hormones may play a role, it is more likely that sun exposure and aging may be the culprits.
What are treatments available for facial spider veins?
There are two relatively new techniques to treat spider veins on the face. They include the laser and intense pulsed light.
Both of these work similarly. The device is a simple hand held instrument which fires a beam of light at the spider veins. The heat generated is absorbed by the blood pigment which results in collapse of the spider veins. Over time the collapsed vessel slowly disappears from the surface of the skin.
Are these treatments painful?
The degree of pain is variable. However, most individuals complain of a sharp stinging sensation when the laser is fired. There are modern devices which have a cooling piece at the end of it and thus the pain is reduced. However, if you do not like any pain, your physician can apply some ice or topical anesthetic a few minutes before the procedure. Once the treatment is completed, there is no pain.
How many treatments will I need?
This really depends on the number of spider veins. In most individuals 2-3 sessions are required to get the optimum cosmetic result. The darker the veins, the harder it is to get rid of them. The treatment sessions are generally spaced out over a period of 4-6 weeks to allow for healing.
How long do treatments take?
These lunch time treatments rarely take more than 10-30 minutes, but a full face laser rejuvenation can take a lot longer.
How does one feel afterwards?
Soon after the procedure there is no pain. The skin may appear slightly red and over the next day or two may mimic a sun burn. These changes will subside in 5-7 days. The texture of the skin may be temporarily altered. One can wear camouflage creams until the skin has recovered.
Can spider veins recur after treatment?
Unfortunately yes; there is no cure for spider veins and even current day treatments are only temporary solutions. To prevent new veins from occurring, always protect your skin from the sun. Avoid prolonged sun exposure and wear a sun tan. If new spider veins do occur in future they too can be treated.
Are there any complications of these treatments?
The complications of laser are chiefly a mild sun burn like effect. The lasers do not harm the adjacent skin and are safe when used with care. In the rare dark skinned individual, scarring may occur.
Does laser work in all individuals with spider veins?
Laser treatments are appropriate for individuals who have sun damaged skin, individuals with wrinkles, acne scars, skin discoloration and scratches. The procedure does not always have the best results with severe skin scarring and frequently the technique is combined with surgical scar revision. All individuals should have realistic expectations of the procedure.
What is cost of facial spider vein treatments?
Costs may vary depending on several factors such as the severity of the skin condition, number of spider veins and your physician's reputation. Laser or intense pulse light therapy is by no means cheap. Even though costs may start at around $ 300, this may be limited to treatment of a few spider veins. The overall costs usually are close to $1000 and above. No medical insurance carriers cover the cost of this therapy. So before you decide to embark on this therapy, get the eventual cost.
Since there is a bandwagon of health care professionals clamoring in the business of facial rejuvenation, make sure you see a physician with proper credentials and experience with this therapy.
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