In many ways, the Sun is the gift that keeps on giving. It allows our bodies to synthesize Vitamin D and provides plants with the energy needed to turn carbon dioxide into oxygen. Unfortunately, too much sun exposure can do serious damage to your skin resulting in sunburn, permanent discoloration, and an increased likelihood of developing skin cancer. In addition to all of these less-than-lovely effects, too much sun exposure can also increase your chance of developing spider veins and requiring spider vein removal. Now, does the sun cause spider veins?
Does the Sun Cause Spider Veins?
When the Sun’s UV rays are allowed to penetrate the skin, they actively damage existing collagen. As the Skin Cancer Foundation explains, “This damage causes increased production of abnormal elastin…, result[ing] in the production of enzymes called metalloproteinases.” Normally this enzyme would help to repair and rebuild damaged collagen, but exposure to UV rays often causes them to malfunction and actively damage existing collagen.
At this point, you may be wondering where we’re going with this, but we promise that there is a connection. You see collagen is a vital form of connective tissue that helps to maintain even tension across the surface of your skin and around the outside of your veins. With the breakdown of collagen, your vein walls become significantly weaker due to the lack of connective tissue support. As a result, you’re far more likely to see the bulging specter of spider veins appear in areas that have been damaged by the sun.
Addressing the Underlying Problem
Are you beginning to see spider veins forming? Then your top priority is to take better care of your skin. Wearing a moderately strong sunblock is usually all it takes to keep your skin protected as long as you’re re-applying during periods of prolonged exposure. Depending on your current lifestyle, you also may want to revisit your:
- Activity levels
- Dietary habits
- Weight management
Resolving the Results of Previous Damage
Of course, none of this is going to erase spider veins that have already formed. To treat existing spider veins, you will need to discuss treatment options with the experts at Beverly Hills Vein Center. During your initial consultation, your care provider will use a comprehensive venous Doppler ultrasound. This can diagnose the root cause of the issue. It may seem like a lot when the cause seems so visually obvious. But taking this step is important for your safety and the efficacy of your treatment.
Your care provider will use the comprehensive venous Doppler ultrasound to look “upstream” in the venous system to verify that there isn’t a larger issue at play, such as a potentially dangerous clot. Once we identify the source of the issue, your doctor will put together a treatment plan. Your treatment plan may include one or more of the following:
Radiofrequency Vein Ablation with the VNUS System
This treatment uses heat to collapse problem veins, encouraging the body to divert blood flow through an alternate path. Without blood filling the vein, the damaged vein will no longer be visible on the skin’s surface.
Varithena is a microfoam treatment delivered via injection, and it also causes the damaged vein to collapse, allowing blood to be diverted through a new path.
Usually used to treat smaller varicose veins, sclerotherapy works by injecting a solution directly into the damaged vein. It doesn’t cause a total collapse but encourages them to shrink and develop scar tissue. Over a few weeks, the scar tissue will cut off blood flow to the damaged vein, allowing it to be reabsorbed by the body with time.
This procedure physically removes problem veins through a minimally invasive surgery. It is used almost exclusively for large, surface varicose veins that wouldn’t respond well to injections or radiofrequency vein ablation. The good news is that the procedure can usually be done right in your doctor’s office. And there’s virtually no downtime.