Spider Veins are threadlike veins that lie close to the surface of the skin and may look like a “starburst” or web-like formation. They occur mostly on the legs and occasionally on the face or elsewhere, typically measuring less than a millimeter in diameter. This condition is a result of abnormal blood flow and the weakening of the blood vessel wall in the affected veins.
Spider veins in women can be related to hormonal fluctuations or pregnancy. Other contributing factors may include injuries, medications that affect hormones, heredity, weight gain, and sitting or standing for long periods of time.
Spider vein treatment can dramatically improve the appearance of the affected area, providing a more youthful, healthy look. For some, treatment may alleviate problems with restless legs, aching, burning, and/or cramps.
Varicose veins can occur due to a number of factors including age, hormones, pregnancy, history of DVT, or family history of varicose vein disease. Spider veins on the other hand typically appear as small clusters that have no pain or bleeding associated with them.
Varicose veins and spider veins also differ in the way they are treated.
Note that vein treatments are not always 100% effective, so spider veins may return after some time. Sclerotherapy often times does not work well with spider veins because of their small size. It's important to consult with your doctor about the limitations of treatment.
Sclerotherapy is a treatment that includes injection of a sclerosing solution to varicose veins and spider vein areas in order to block the lymphatic system from returning blood through them, causing clots over time.