Shared- spider vein, Varicose Overview

Spider vein, Varicose Overview*

Dr. Parvin Shafa is a dermatologist in Irvine, Orange County who has extensive and proven expertise in treating spider veins. These spider veins can cause unsightly discoloration on legs and varicose-related skin diseases such as stasis dermatitis.


What are spider veins?

Spider veins, medically called telangiectasia, are clusters of tiny blood vessels and veins that develop close to the surface of the skin. They usually are dark blue or purplish in color. Spider veins can appear in a cluster forming a patch of discoloration like permanent bruising. Common locations for spider veins are the lower extremities around the ankles, calves and thighs. Untreated spider veins will increase in number and size with time. Spider veins are more of an aesthetic issue that may or may not be associated with underlying varicose vein disease. Spider veins are typically treated by dermatologists.

What are Varicose veins?


Varicose veins are deeper, larger, and typically bulge out. This type of vein can cause lower extremity pain, throbbing, cramping, swelling, heaviness, and restlessness. Varicose veins can be removed with a laser, surgically, or with an injection called sclerotherapy. Varicose vein treatment is typically performed by vascular surgeons. Since varicose veins indicate a serious health issue, treatment is generally covered by most health insurances.

What is stasis dermatitis?


Stasis dermatitis is a skin disease in which the skin becomes thick, discolored, and ultimately a wound. Stasis Dermatitis is the result of long-lasting dysfunctional veins, which compromise the circulation of the skin. The typical location of these skin issues is the legs. This type of skin disease is commonly associated with other vein-related leg symptoms such as pain, swelling, cramping and heaviness. Treatment consists of the most important, prevention, and early treatment of varicose veins. Stasis dermatitis is a serious concern and can be treated by dermatologists, typically covered by health insurance.

Why do we develop spider veins?

There are a number of factors that increase an individual’s chances of getting spider veins. These factors are including but are not limited to the following

  • Aging: of skin and veins. Over a lifetime, skin and subcutaneous fat covering the veins become thinner along with, dilated, less flexible, more fragile, aging-related changes of the vein under the skin.
  • Hereditary: and genetic where you see your family member with the same issue
  • Hormonal: Pregnancy and other hormones can increase spider vein development
  • Prolonged standing: causes backflow and retention of the fluid in leg veins
  • Trauma: Heavy impact on the skin can tear the skin tinny vein causing permanent bruising like discoloration
  • Gender: women are at higher risk of developing spider veins due to pregnancy, hormonal changes, prolonged standing and lifestyle
  • Occupations: that involve prolonged standing or sitting carry a higher risk of spider veins. 80% of our patients at our office are female nurses, teachers, flight attendants,
  • Obesity: interferes with circulatory and pressure issues increasing the risk of vein disease development
  • Medications: hormone supplements, steroids, postmenopausal hormone supplements, and birth control pills
    Increase abdominal pressure: tight garments, tumors, constipation

Is this a common problem?

Yes, spider veins are a common problem. About 50 to 55 percent of women and 40-45 percent of men in the United States suffer from some type of vein problem. Due to females having high-risk factors, their percentage in spider veins is higher. Spider and varicose veins affect half of individuals ages 50 and older.

How to decrease the chance of developing or recurrence of spider veins?

Lifestyle changes:

  • Regular exercise not only makes the bone structure stronger but also improves muscle and skin health by boosting circulation.
  • Weight loss decreases Lower extremity pressure and Varicose veins
  • Keep legs elevated as much as possible. Such as using a recliner during your free time and limiting time sitting at a desk
  • Wear support stockings as frequently as possible. The properly fitted stocking can temporarily reverse the effects of vein disease and lessen the discomfort as well as skin damage.
  • Seek early treatment before the skin and deeper tissue becomes involved in vein disease

Contact us

Dr. Shafa has over 25 years of experience with the treatment of unpleasant spider veins among other skin diseases. In medicine “one size fits all” is not true. Schedule a complimentary consultation to explore the best treatment option for your particular case. Ask question

Schedule a Consultation