Thread veins are tiny veins that appear most commonly on the cheeks, nose and legs. Small thread veins are red, but larger ones look purplish.
They are referred to by many names, including:
- spider veins
- broken veins (not an accurate name, because they are not actually broken)
- capillary veins.
Normally, the tiny veins in the skin are invisible, but in some people they expand and show through the skin. One cause of this is too much exposure to the sun over the years. Another is pregnancy or oestrogen treatment. They may also be hereditary. Thread veins can sometimes be a sign of rosacea a skin condition, or can result from overuse of steroid creams. Thread veins are more obvious after mid-life, when the skin becomes thinner and loses some of its collagen.
Larger visible veins are called varicose veins.
How can thread veins be treated?
This involves injection of a sclerosant directly into the thread vein using a very fine needle causing sclerosis and closure of the vein. Usually this technique is very effective.
Laser: Nd-Yag 1064nm
Laser can be used to heat the red blood cells inside the tiny veins making the veins shrink and close. The treatment needs to be repeated and is generally less effective than microsclerotherapy.