Spider veins are thin, small veins just underneath the skin’s surface. They may be red or blue and radiate out from a central area like small webs. This sign of aging often appears on the legs. It may be concealed with longer and longer shorts until we either accept the veins or try to do something about them. Some topical treatments include vitamin K.
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Vitamin K helps blood to clot after an injury or surgery. Most people easily consume adequate quantities of this vitamin in common foods like leafy green vegetables, prunes, avocados and Brussels sprouts. Vitamin K may also be applied to the skin topically, swallowed in supplements or injected.
Spider veins are extremely common, especially in women. Unlike varicose veins, they’re small and painless, but they can still be an affront to vanity. These tiny capillaries have been over-stretched to the point of permanent dilation, causing capillary walls to weaken and swell. Over time, they can increase in size. Spider veins, also called thread veins, are often hereditary and tend to multiply with age. Other causes include pregnancy, obesity, estrogen replacement therapy, lack of exercise, sun damage and birth control pills.
Vitamin K Creams
Opinions on whether vitamin K creams work vary drastically. Manufacturers claim that with repeated application, spider veins begin to fade in about six weeks. Once the veins disappear, you’re supposed to keep buying and applying the cream indefinitely to avoid reappearance of the veins. One cream explains that vitamin K applied topically seeps down to damaged capillaries and clots seeping blood. The tissue then heals. But veindirectory.com, whose board of advisors are physicians who specialize in veins, insists that scientific data doesn’t support these claims.
Several other treatments are available for treating spider veins, but they are more invasive and more costly. Microsclerotherapy involves injecting a chemical into the spider vein that causes inflammation. Over a few weeks, the chemical destroys the vein, which makes it slowly disappear. Laser and intense pulsated light (IPL) can be used on veins that don’t respond to microsclerotherapy, or on sensitive places like the face. Two to five treatments are usually necessary.