Whether you’re meeting someone for the first time, entering a business meeting, or making an entrance at a party – there is one key way to make a positive first impressive without even saying a word. A confident walk. So don’t let something like visible leg veins hamper your confidence and put you off your stride. I’ve put in the legwork (excuse the pun!) researching, trialling and testing the best solutions for blemish-free legs. Read on to find out why Sclerotherapy came out on top, and how it could help you strut into summer with confidence this year.
The big cover-up
Anyone who has suffered from visible leg veins – whether they be varicose, spider or thread veins – will understand what an impact they can have on your confidence (and on your wardrobe!) Full-length trousers, maxi dresses and opaque tights are often the go-to garments for those who feel a need to keep their legs covered up.
But just think how freeing it would be if you had the confidence to dare to bare. Capri pants, short skirts, and beach bikinis – imagine if you could throw them on without a second thought this summer. That’s exactly what Sclerotherapy could help you with.
Let’s see what we’re working with
First up, it’s essential we differentiate between varicose veins, reticulate veins and spider veins or thread veins. Each are terms to describe superficial veins. Varicose veins are typically swollen, hard, bulgy, twisted, and bluey-purple in colour. They are sometimes accompanied by symptoms such as aching in the legs, plus an itchy, burning sensation. Sclerotherapy can’t treat large varicose veins – you’ll most likely require surgery to remove those.
Spider veins, also known as thread veins, however, are usually red in colour and are branch-like in appearance. Unlike varicose veins, they are not accompanied by any other symptoms. However, as the British College of Aesthetic Medicine explains, “Although harmless, they can cause distress as the sufferer often feels self-conscious, particularly if the veins are on areas such as the face and legs” (Ref 1).
What’s going on beneath the skin?
According to Harvard Health, “Leg veins have a tough job: they must propel oxygen-depleted blood all the way back to your heart, working against gravity and the pressure of your body weight. These veins have one-way valves that prevent blood from flowing backward, but the valves can weaken and stop working properly, especially as we age. As a result of these changes, blood can pool in the veins immediately under the skin, causing them to enlarge and become less elastic” (Ref 2).
This problem can affect both sexes of all ages, but it is generally more common in ladies post pregnancy or aged 40+.
Simple steps towards blemish-free legs
There are certain steps you can take to prevent visible leg veins and minimise their severity such as:
- Exercise regularly
- Eat less salt
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Elevate your legs regularly
- Wear compression socks and tights
However, for those wanting to take action against thread veins or spider veins that have already formed, Sclerotherapy is a great option.
How it works
According to the British Association of Sclerotherapists, “Sclerotherapy is a safe and well-established injection treatment for varicose veins, spider veins and thread veins” (Ref 3). Sclerotherapy works by specifically targeting problem veins. A very fine needle is introduced into the vein and a foam or liquid form substance is injected, causing the vein to dilate and stick together. The vein will eventually shrivel up and be absorbed by your body.
Wait, aren’t those veins important?!
Don’t worry, the veins we target with Sclerotherapy are already damaged. Plus, you have literally miles of blood vessels in your body, so the damaged veins are no longer needed. As the NHS experts explain, the treated veins “Should begin to fade after a few weeks as stronger veins take over the role of the damaged vein, which is no longer filled with blood” (Ref 4).
The finer details
If Sclerotherapy is something you’re interested in, it’s worth booking a consultation so we can discuss your individualised treatment plan in more depth. This consultation appointment typically lasts 30 minutes, during which time I’ll take a look at your legs, ask you a series of questions about your medical history, and assess if the treatment is suitable for you.
The treatment itself lasts around 30-45 minutes, depending on your individual case. It may feel a little uncomfortable but it is not painful. Afterwards, “Most people return to their normal activities right after their treatment, something doctors encourage to improve circulation and reduce the risk of blood clots” (Ref 5).
Timing is everything
When the treatment is finished, I recommend you wear thigh-high compression stockings day and night for 72 hours, reducing to just during the day for the next 7 days. I also strongly recommend you avoid the sun for 2 weeks and wear sun block for one month after treatment to reduce the risk of hyperpigmentation.
For these reasons, the cooler winter months are the ideal time to start a course of Sclerotherapy. 1-4 treatments are required at 6 weekly intervals. So if you’re hoping to show off your blemish-free pins throughout the summer, it’s worth planning ahead.
Worth the wait
The results are not immediate – it usually takes around 4 weeks for the veins to disappear, but the results are permanent, the veins that have been treated will not return. That said, there is always the possibility that other visible veins may develop.
Once the treatment course is completed, it’s time to walk tall and show off the results! Keep hydrated, and exfoliate and moisturise regularly to make the most of your blemish-free legs.
Elspeth shares some simple tips to reduce the formation of thread veins on your legs.
With more than seven years of experience in nursing and patient care under her belt, Elspeth understands the importance of connecting with each client and providing a highly personalised treatment plan that will get results.
References and resource links:
- Ref 1: British College of Aesthetic Medicine – Sclerotherapy
- Ref 2: Harvard Health Publishing – Minimally Invasive Treatments for Bothersome Leg Veins
- Ref 3: BAS – The Professional Sclerotherapy Association for UK and Ireland
- Ref 4: NHS – Treatment, Varicose Veins
- Ref 5: RealSelf – Sclerotherapy, What You Need to Know