If one day you notice web-like formations on your legs or ankles, don’t panic. Spider veins might be unsightly, but they are usually harmless and often disappear on their own. They can however cause some uncomfortable sensations, like itching or burning, so many strive to get rid of them. Luckily, there are numerous things you can try at home to diminish and prevent the spidery formations.
Also, don’t feel alone in your experience. About 55% of women and 40 to 45% of men have to deal with some type of vein problem in their lives. Some opt to visit the doctor and get medical treatment, while others prefer the natural approach that can expedite the disappearance of spider veins.
What are spider veins?
Spider veins, medically known as telangiectasias or angioectasias, are similar to varicose veins, but smaller. These tiny veins, found close to the surface of the skin, resemble spider webs or branches of a tree and are usually red, purple or blue.
Most often, spider veins are found on the legs (thighs, back of the calves, inside of the legs, and ankles). This is due to the high pressure that veins in the lower extremities have to endure. Just think about the force of gravity, the pressure of body weight, and the need to carry blood all the way up to the heart!
Sometimes, spider veins can also develop in other parts of the body such as the face.
Causes of spider veins
There are many factors that can contribute to the development of spider veins – some you can influence more easily than others. Risk factors include:
- Family predisposition
- Prolonged standing, sometimes connected with certain professions
- Taking contraceptive pills
- A history of blood clots or circulation problems
- Hormonal influences – they are more common during puberty, pregnancy and menopause
How to get rid of spider veins naturally
Remedies applied directly to the spider veins can help relieve the symptoms and shrink them quickly. Try the following:
Apple cider vinegar (ACV)
This heavy-weight champion of natural remedies strikes again. A recent study published on 2016 suggested that the external application of apple vinegar on varicosity patients increased the positive effects of conservative treatment.
The patients in the study group were suggested to apply ACV to the area of the leg with varicosity alongside the treatment suggested by the doctor. The patients in the control group received no intervention during the study. After 3 months, the external application of ACV was found to increase the effect of conservative treatment and decrease symptoms without causing any side effects.
- Soak a piece of cloth in raw unprocessed ACV and wrap it around the area with spider webs (precaution – if you have a sensitive skin or apply it to the delicate skin on the face, it’s best to dilute the ACV with water and start with applying it for a shorter period of time to see how your skin reacts).
- Leave it there for 15 to 20 minutes and then remove.
- Repeat twice a day until you can no longer see the spider veins.
You can also consume ACV internally.
Drink ACV once or twice a day.
- Take 1 teaspoon raw ACV (if you can tolerate the taste, increase the dosage to up to 1 tablespoon)
- Mix it with a cup of warm water or water at a room temperature and a tsp. of organic honey and drink before meals.
This can help in removing the inflammation of veins. Results may vary but you should be able to see the difference on your skin within a few months.
Witch hazel acts as an astringent and anti-inflammatory and as such it can be used to shrink spider veins. The natural tannins and volatile oils, which are the principal active ingredients in witch hazel, work to constrict tiny spider veins under the skin’s surface.
A study into the effect of applying witch hazel to skin with damaged blood vessels showed that it has a therapeutic effect. For example, the journal Alternative Medicine Review reported that witch hazel has a hemostatic effect. This means that it helps keep blood within a damaged vein. The researchers said that witch hazel has long been used to treat varicose veins.
You can use witch hazel to help reduce the appearance of spider veins on your face or legs. Just apply witch hazel soaked in a cotton ball to the area with the spider veins. Repeat 2-3 times a day to help reduce the blotchy appearance caused by spider veins. You can also make your own solution by boiling a few witch hazel leaves in water for a few minutes. Wait until it cools down and use the liquid to make a compress.
Another natural ingredient that can help to reduce the appearance of spider veins on face and legs and improve your complexion is butcher’s broom extracts. Butcher’s broom is a small evergreen shrub that is used to improve blood circulation and constrict veins.
The Alternative Medicine Review mentioned previously reported that there is growing scientific evidence to support the traditional use of butcher’s broom for the treatment of varicose veins. The review mentions that human trials have shown that taking butcher’s broom extract showed improvement in the venous tone and better circulation.
Horse chestnut Extract
Horse chestnut is a flowering plant, and the extract made from its seeds has been extensively studied for circulation problem associated with varicose veins. Horse chestnut contains a compound called aescin which helps promote blood vessel health. Horse chestnut extracts also have anti-inflammatory properties and help to improve circulation and blood vein tone.
The journal Archives of Dermatology found that regularly taking horse chestnut extracts can help treat various conditions of the veins. For example, taking horse chestnut extracts regularly can help to reduce the symptoms of varicose veins and reduce vascular leakage.
Mustard and sesame oils are commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine to improve blood flow to the affected area and are effective in diminishing the unwanted red and blue lines of spider veins. Mix a few drops of mustard or sesame oil with carrier oil and apply the blend to the spider veins twice daily.
Remedies that boost full body circulation
It’s important to address your body circulation and improve the overall flow of blood. This is best achieved by doing some gentle exercises (that don’t put excessive pressure on the veins) – swimming, walking, cycling.
Herbs can help as well. Some of the herbs used topically, can also be taken internally, such as horse chestnut and witch hazel.
The following three are particularly well known circulation boosters:
According to research, the versatile ginger improves your circulation by lowering blood pressure and thinning the blood. Therefore, if you’re already on some type of drug for this, consult your doctor before you start eating large doses of ginger.
Small amounts of ginger will not make a very big difference, but you can use them in combination with other natural remedies. Add it to your fruit shake, spice up your meal or enjoy a rejuvenating ginger tea. Alternatively, you can buy powdered ginger extract and consume that.
This prehistoric plant strengthens vein walls and improves circulation. Take 40 milligrams of ginkgo extract three times daily until you observe positive effects. The most medicinal properties are found in 50:1 standardized ginkgo extract.
Gently massaging the area with the spider veins is another easy and simple way to improve circulation, which can help get rid of spider veins. It also helps reduce pain and inflammation.
To reduce the appearance of spider veins with massage you can use a carrier oil such as extra-virgin olive oil or virgin coconut oil which contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
Massage the area affected by spider veins for several minutes a few times a day to improve blood circulation. You can add to the carrier oil a few drops of essential oils for improving blood flow, such as: lemon, rosemary, ginger, peppermint, eucalyptus or cypress.
Essential oils are very versatile and can enhance your health and well-being in many ways.
Other Treatments to Get Rid of Spider Veins
If you find that home remedies don’t provide enough improvement in minimizing spider veins, there are medical procedures to eliminate or shrink the appearance of spider veins on the legs and face and to improve the skin complexion.
Sclerotherapy. In this procedure a highly concentrated saline (salt) solution is injected directly into the vein, causing the vein to disappear gradually over three to six weeks (although the same vein may need to be injected more than once). Once gone, the spider veins don’t return, but you may develop new ones.
Laser and intense pulsed light. These are another popular methods to get rid of unsightly spider veins. The heat from the laser and the light therapy destroys the vein but these treatments are considered less effective than sclerotherapy, particularly for larger veins.
How to Prevent Spider Veins with Lifestyle Changes
Looking at the list of causes of spider veins (obesity, prolonged standing), there are things that need to be changed in your daily routine if you want to avoid the spider vein formations in the long-run.
- Maintain a healthy body weight and exercise regularly.
- Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time. When you sit, try to break the habit of always crossing your legs.
- Don’t wear high heels, especially heels higher than 3 centimeters.
- If you’re at risk, consider wearing compression stockings. For therapeutic effects, you’ll have to get high-pressure socks (prescription-strength gradient compression hose) – you’ll need to be fitted for them by someone trained to do this.
- Enjoy a spicy diet. Many spices improve blood circulation, so don’t be shy of cayenne pepper, ginger, turmeric, onions and garlic. Add them to your juices and daily meals.
- Elevate your legs. Elevating your feet above the level of your heart 3 or 4 times a day for about 15 minutes at a time helps to reduce the pressure on your legs.