Facial Spider Veins(41872)


Many women apply blush to their cheeks daily to avoid looking pale.  But there are others who don’t need makeup to give their face a rosy glow.  These people excessively redden after consuming an alcoholic drink or as the result of a social embarrassment.  They are prime targets for spider veins of the face because anything that repeatedly causes increased blood flow to the face can cause spider veins, even acne and the inflammations associated with it.

Who Gets Facial Spider Veins?

Women experience spider veins more often than men, supporting theories linking hormonal influences to the condition.  A majority of the female adult population has experienced spider veins.  Statistics indicate that every ethnic group is susceptible.  As obesity numbers rise, this vein condition will likely become more widespread.  Excess weight puts pressure on the veins, weakening the walls of the blood vessels, and contributing to broken veins.  Grim statistics aside, unlike the more serious concerns of varicose veins, spider veins are purely superficial and not linked directly to disease.  The major concern is a cosmetic one.  Men with facial veins are at a disadvantage because they are less likely to use makeup as women do to cover the veins.  Because most men are less consumed with appearance, they are also less likely to consider spider veins a problem or concern.

What Causes Spider Veins?

Varicose veins and spider veins are similar but different conditions.  Varicose veins are larger than spider veins and although they can occur anywhere, they are not typically found on the face.

The medical term for spider veins is telangiectasias.  When a case is severe, it can cause entire sections of the face to have a blotchy pink, red or even purplish look.  Lighter cases usually involve veins around and across the nose and on the cheeks.  Spider veins can appear on the face, chest and legs, and can be an annoying problem for people who pay close attention to their appearance.  Contributing factors for the condition include:

Exposure to sun

Acne rosacea



Birth contol pills


Natural hormones

Hormone replacement therapy



The treatment for eliminating facial veins is different than treating the same problem of the legs.  Although some doctors use lasers for removing spider veins on the legs, laser treatments are less effective than Sclerotherapy.  Used since the 1930s, this procedure injects a solution into veins causing them to stick together and the blood to clot.  The affected vein turns to scar tissue that disappears in a few weeks.  You might wonder why Sclerotherapy is not also used on the face if it is more effective than lasers on spider veins.  The small size of veins on the face makes Sclerotherapy impractical.  Imagine trying to inject solution into a strand of hair.

There are many different kinds of lasers today that have specific purposes, like removing tattoos, sunspots, birth defects, spider veins, and wrinkles.  No one laser is right for every problem.  One of the most currently used lasers for facial spider veins is the Vbeam laser, which targets the blood’s pigment, heats the blood vessels and destroys them.  Sometimes they disappear immediately but it also may take weeks.   In that time, the body reabsorbs the vein and it disappears.  Because the Vbeam targets red pigment, patients with sunburns and skin color altered by a tan cannot receive treatment until their natural skin color has been restored.

There’s a reason the regimen of using lasers for this condition is referred to as “treatments”.  Even with the magic of this technology, there is no permanent cure and recurrences are typical.  There are no guarantees to how long results will last or how soon more veins will appear. 

The only way to eliminate the appearance of spider veins is to have laser treatments on an ongoing basis.  This can be quite expensive.  Laser treatments vary from doctor to doctor and state to state.  You can expect to pay $200 to $1,000 for a treatment depending on the size of the area targeted.  In addition, the one session may not erase veins completely.  It’s not uncommon to need as many as six or seven treatments on the same area before the veins disappear.  Progress can be accelerated if the patient is willing to undergo a stronger pulse from the laser, which often results in bruising that may take as long as two weeks to disappear.  This option can be unappealing to patients who are in the work place everyday.


So how does a Vbeam laser feel when it pulses on your face?  Most lasers feel similar - like a snap from a rubber band.  Some areas of the face are more sensitive than others and you can expect your eyes to water when work is done round the nose.  Again, the pulse can be adjusted so that it’s not as strong, but this will no doubt impact the number of treatments required.

Patients with low pain thresholds can use EMLA cream.  The cream is applied an hour or two before your office visit.  By the time you arrive, your face will be numb and you won’t feel the laser.   This cream is not available over the counter.  Your doctor must prescribe it for you.

Other Options For Spider Veins

Currently, prospects for alternative treatments are slim.  Some topical products on the market claim to treat facial spider veins, but studies have not proved those claims to be true.  Dermatologists have discovered that cortisone cream works well to eliminate the appearance of veins on the face.  Unfortunately, the cream is marketed for other purposes and unless you happen to have a condition that requires the cream, it’s doubtful a doctor will prescribe it for cosmetic reasons.  More bad news - the cream can encourage new blood vessel growth!  Cortisone appears to be an option for that one-time, very special evening when you want to look your best, but not for continued use.

How To Prevent Spider Veins

Suggestions for preventing spider veins are similar to those for maintaining good health:

Don’t smoke

Control your weight


Avoid the sun

Maintain a healthy diet

While lasers are effective for eliminating existing spider veins, in the wrong hands, it can do damage to the skin, sometimes scarring it permanently or causing depigmentation.  Be aware that in some offices a trained technician administers the laser treatment and not the doctor.  Patients should undergo therapy with realistic expectations.  Get all the facts from a reputable source before beginning treatment.  To avoid a negative experience, search for a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon specifically experienced in facial laser treatment for spider veins.