Have a rack full of dresses, skirts or shorts hanging in your closet that never see the light of day because they showcase those unflattering purple, web-like veins on your legs? Know that you’re not alone. It’s been reported that 70 percent of women deal with spider veins by the time they turn 60. How to get rid of these pesky spider veins? Thankfully, there are a number of simple remedies (whether you have some time to spare or need a quick fix) that work wonders to leave legs looking flawless.
What causes spider veins?
The weblike clusters of purple veins can show up on legs for a number of reasons, ranging from spending long hours standing on your feet to having been pregnant. “The pressure on legs causes capillary walls to weaken, which in turn allows blood to pool at the skin’s surface, resulting in the unsightly veins,” explains Z. Catherine Navarro, M.D., a dermatologist and vein specialist in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Traditional doctor’s office treatment to get rid of spider veins
Spider veins can be removed in-office using a treatment called sclerotherapy, which involves injecting a chemical solution into the problematic veins so they constrict and close, rerouting blood to healthy veins. These injections cost on average $300-$400 per session and it can take two to four sessions to fade the veins for good (but doesn’t prevent new ones from forming).
Study-proven ways to eliminate spider veins naturally
There are non-surgical remedies that you can try at home that don’t require spending a lot of time or money. Read on for simple and affordable ways that help get rid of spider veins. Try one (or do all!) for flawless-looking legs in 30 days or less.
Sip on a cup of bilberry tea
A darker, tinier cousin of the blueberry, sweet-tasting bilberries are packed with anthocyanins, which strengthen capillary walls to shrink spider veins and discolorations from the inside out!
Natural compounds found in the tea also help release trapped fluids around the ankles and may reduce the appearance of cellulite by blocking the action of enzymes that destroy connective tissue.
An easy way to reap the benefits? Drink one cup of bilberry tea a day to see a difference in 3 to 4 weeks.
One to try: Celebration Herbals Bilberry Leaf Tea (Buy from Amazon.com, $8.14)
Slather on this combo of natural oils
“Grapeseed oil contains proanthocyanidins which strengthen veins and capillary walls, plus it reduces inflammation and promotes healthy blood flow,” says Dr. Navarro. And mixing with rosemary and lemongrass essential oils (both improve blood circulation) speeds results.
To do: In a bowl, combine 1 Tbs. of grapeseed oil with 3 drops of rosemary essential oil and 3 drops of lemongrass essential oil. Massage onto affected areas twice a day and let the mixture absorb into skin. You should see results in three weeks.
Apply a cream infused with vitamin K
“Vitamin K keeps blood from damaged vessels from seeping into the skin’s topmost layers, preventing those ‘spider webs’ from surfacing,” says San Diego, California-based dermatologist Melanie Palm, M.D. “It also helps reinforce the valves so they’re less likely to weaken and create pooling.”
To do: Simply grab a vitamin K cream, like Reviva Labs Vitamin K Creme (Buy from Amazon.com, $15.68), and rub onto legs twice a day to see results within 30 days.
Supplement with horse chestnut
A compound called aescin found in horse chestnut, strengthens the capillary walls of both spider veins and varicose veins to help relieve the symptoms of both conditions. A meta-analysis of the results of 17 scientific studies supports the use of horse chestnut for relief from both conditions within two to six week. Study proven dosage: 250mg twice a day.
One to try: Nature’s Way Horse Chestnut (Buy from Amazon.com, $8.86)
How can I cover up spider veins?
Want to make the web-like clusters vanish in seconds? Look no further than these tried-and-true tricks from celebrity makeup artists.
Smooth on some self-tanner
“Applying an instant wash of sun-kissed color onto the body camouflages any imperfections on legs, and the tanner’s warm, golden undertones cancel out the cool tones in purple vein clusters so they instantly disappear,” says makeup artist Mari Shten, who’s worked with Maye Musk and Bellamy Young.
To do: Apply three pumps of an instant self-tanner like Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Sunless Tanning Mousse (Buy from Amazon.com, $13.47) onto a tanning mitt like Ulta Sunless Mitt (Buy from Ulta.com, $5.99) and rub evenly onto dry skin. Let dry for 5 minutes.
For more self-tanner application tips, see below for a tutorial from YouTuber Dominique Sachse.
Apply a skin-matching body makeup
Body concealers that seamlessly cover any veins, bruises or other skin flaws in seconds, abound!
One we like: Dermablend Leg and Body Makeup (Buy from Amazon.com, $40). It’s waterproof, so it won’t melt off if you break a sweat and it’s infused with SPF.
To get the best coverage, makeup artist Ramy Gafni, who’s worked with Tina Fey and Kelly Ripa says to opt for one with a slight yellow undertone to counteract the purple in veins.
To do: Rub the body makeup over veins with your fingers — two or more layers may be needed for full coverage. Then use a cotton round to blend and soften the outer edges of the makeup for a more flawless finish. Let dry for 5 minutes.
How can I prevent spider veins?
Here are a few easy ways to ensure veins don’t pool in the first place.
Give tired legs some TLC with a massage
A University of Illinois study found that rubbing legs in upward strokes with hands increases blood flow for up to 72 hours. And better circulation translates to a lower risk of spider and also varicose veins!
To do: Apply a quarter-size amount of body lotion onto leg (this will help hands glide more easily), then place hands near the ankle and work in long, brisk strokes up to the thigh for one minute, then make fists with hands and gently knead skin from the ankle up for one minute. Repeat on the other leg.
Pull on a pair of compression socks
These special socks improve circulation and blood flow so blood won’t pool in veins and leak out. And if you already have spider veins, they can also help reduce them as they provide a form of counter-pressure that helps blood flow upward from damaged veins toward the heart, says Norman Chideckel, M.D., director of the Vascular Surgery and Vein Center in New York City. Doctors advise choosing socks with 15–20 mmHg of compression .
And no worries compression socks have come a long way since your grandmother used to wear them. Find pretty patterns and colors from retailers such as RejuvaHealth.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.
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