Spider veins are small, damaged veins that can appear on the surface of the legs or face. They are usually not painful or harmful, but some people may wish to treat them for cosmetic reasons. They can be blue, purple or red in appearance and may show in the form of thin lines, webs or branches.
In the legs, spider veins can occur if the valves inside the veins stop working properly. If they weaken or become damaged, blood may struggle to flow in the correct direction, and it can begin to pool inside the vein. Over time, this can cause a bulge in the vein that branches out, resulting in spider veins.
Spider veins are often the result of tiny blood vessels bursting. Although they can cause some discomfort, they are generally painless and have no symptoms other than unsightly appearance.
Factors that can increase a person’s risk of developing spider veins include:
- Genetics and family history
- Gender – women tend to be affected more often than men
- Sitting or standing for long periods of time
- Previous blood clot or damage
- Sun damage