Follow these tips to prevent leg veins, and learn how to hide varicose veins you already have.
Varicose veins can be a real nuisance – whether you’re 24 or 74. The spidery purple lines tend to swell in the legs as we age, and minimizing their appearance is a goal of just about every beauty gal. We sat down with Stanley Kovak, MD, of Kovak Dermatology in Chicago to get the scoop on what causes visible veins in the first place and how we can eliminate them from our lives using beauty and lifestyle techniques. Here’s what we learned.
What causes varicose veins?
A varicose vein is pretty much exactly what is sounds like. “They are veins in which there is reflux on the backwards flow of blood,” Dr. Kovak explains. Varicose veins are caused by myriad reasons and can occur at almost any age, from early teens through adulthood. “Heredity is an important factor of varicose veins,” he says. “If one of your parents had varicose veins, it is likely you will get them.” Other reasons you might have varicose veins? They could be caused by estrogen levels in women, standing at work, or from a prior leg injury or surgery. They’re often harmless but should always be looked at by a medical physician just in case.
Are there lifestyle choices I can make to help prevent varicose veins?
“It’s hard to prevent varicose veins,” says Dr. Kovak. “Because humans typically are in an upright position throughout most of the day and as such, gravity pulls on the veins causing their development.” While it’s rumored that elevating your legs or not crossing them could help varicose veins, Dr. Kovak doesn’t see those methods as long-term treatment. “In reality, the majority of time you are standing – so those few minutes of elevation will not prevent varicose veins,” he says.
What about treatments?
Compression socks are the key to improving varicose veins according to Dr. Kovak. “Results are best with longer use of compression stockings,” he says. But ultimately, this too, isn’t a completely permanent solution – corrective treatment is. “Removing veins via laser or injection therapy helps control the spread of new veins,” he adds. While spider veins are best treated with injection therapy, Dr. Kovak treats large varicose veins with Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT). Even so, everyone reacts differently to said lasers and injectables – so it’s important to decide with your doctor what the best treatment is for you.