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Thread Veins

Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Thread Veins


When the small blood vessels in the dermis (or top layer of the skin) get dilated or damaged, they can become visible. This usually appears as a patch or network of thin blue lines, hence the name thread veins. They are also commonly known as spider veins.


Thread veins are a very common condition. It is estimated that it affects somewhere between 50% and 80% of adults in western countries. They can appear anywhere, but are usually most prevalent in the face and legs. For the most part, they are harmless and merely a cosmetic problem. However, they can also cause discomfort, such as itching or a burning sensation, and, in some cases, could be indicative of a more serious underlying condition.


There are a number of factors that can contribute to the development of thread veins. Some of these causes include:


  • Bruising or injuries – once healed the dilated vessels stay visible
  • Hereditary – the condition seems to sometimes run in families
  • Hormonal surges – the vessels may appear during the onset of periods or pregnancy
  • Standing for long periods of time on a regular basis
  • Impaired blood flow caused by restrictive clothing or regularly sitting with your legs crossed
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Valve failure


The last two conditions can be very serious, so patients presenting with thread veins should also be scanned for potential underlying conditions.


These dilated vessels can often also be linked to varicose veins. If this is the case, the varicose veins should be treated first, otherwise the threads will simply return.


There are a number of treatment options available. The most popular include:


  • Sclerotherapy: This method entails injecting an agent into the vein that causes the vein to become “sticky”. The Varicose Vein (VV) shrinks, and is slowly absorbed by your body.
  • Laser or light therapy: This is an option for facial treatment, however, it is not recommended for leg treatment.


There are also selfcare methods that can help to minimise the risk of vein damage to occur in the first place. These include getting exercise to promote blood circulation, elevating your legs when sitting down, standing up every 30 minutes when sitting down for long periods of time, and, conversely, taking a break every 30 minutes when standing for long periods of time. You should also avoid soaking in warm baths for long periods of time.


For more information on thread veins, and to find out more about the treatment options available, contact The Gibson Vein Practice. As a leading provider of treatment related to damaged blood vessels. they will be able to guide you on your journey to recovery.







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