Purple Veins on Chest, Legs, or Face: Are They Spider Veins?

spider veins under a magnifying glass

Do you have delicate, purple veins that form in a cluster on your chest, legs, or face? If so, you may have spider veins, or broken capillaries. These little veins appear behind your knees, on your ankles and sometimes on your arms, face or chest and may cause pain and irritation.

So what are spider veins? The familiar spider-shaped veins are mostly hereditary, appearing as dilated veins close to the surface of the skin that branch out and look like spider webs. If you have them, it’s important to know what you’re up against: what causes them, if they are a health concern, and how to get rid of them. Knowledge is power, so before you fly into a panic, take a look at this introduction to spider veins.

Spider Veins: Who Gets Them & Why

  1. Spider veins are more common in women than in men.
  2. Youth won’t protect you. Spider veins can develop any time, though they’re more likely to occur as you age.
  3. Obesity can definitely be a factor in developing spider veins as excess weight overworks vein valves and walls, causing them to weaken.
  4. Your profession may contribute to the likelihood that you’ll develop spider veins. People whose jobs require them to stand for long periods of time may be more susceptible.
  5. Hormonal changes, such as those occurring during puberty, pregnancy and menopause can have an adverse effect on veins and cause spider veins to develop. Along the same lines, drugs that contain hormones, such as birth-control pills and HRT drugs taken at menopause can also up the chances for spider veins
  6. Too much sun can cause spider veins, and so can too much exposure to ultraviolet light from tanning beds.
  7. An injury causing trauma to your skin is another possible cause of spider veins.
  8. Spider veins do not lead to varicose veins, even though their causes are similar.

Related Reads: Dr. Barbieri on Spider Veins: An Interview

Spider Veins Vs. Varicose Veins

spider veins vs varicose veins

Spider veins, which are closer to the surface of the skin, are not the same as varicose veins. Varicose veins appear as gnarled, twisted cords or ropes, sometimes bulging above the surface of the skin. Varicose veins usually worsen over time and can lead to leg swelling, ulcers and pain. While spider veins may cause some minor discomfort they are not a medical threat, and are more a cosmetic concern than anything else.

Treatments for Spider Veins


sclerotherapy for spider veinsSclerotherapy is the injection of a concentrated solution through a tiny needle irritating the lining of the vessel and causing it to collapse and stick together and the blood to clot. The vein is then absorbed by the body naturally.

Laser Therapy

laser treatment

Laser therapy – laser used on the surface of the skin to reduce the appearance of spider veins. Multiple sessions may be needed to completely eradicate all spider veins.



Spider Vein Common Treatment Results

spider vein before and after treatment

That’s the basics, but there is so much more to know about spider veins! If you’re considering treatment for spider veins, check out this FREE guide on signs and symptoms of spider veins: