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The low down on thread veins

The low down on thread veins

Thread veins can really knock a person's confidence, especially when they're on the face. Also known as telangiectasia, it's caused by small blood vessels running so close to the surface of the skin that they show up as faint red, or purple, wiggly lines.

Dr David West, Medical Director and Consultant Interventional Radiologist at Veincentre, points out where they are most likely to be found.

"[They] occur on the legs and face most commonly but do sometimes occur on other parts of the body like the breasts," he told Cover Media.

Nicola Jones, a national trainer at Ellipse & Venus, has given us a run-through of some of the most common reasons behind them. While many assume alcohol abuse and toxins in cigarette smoke are to blame, that isn't necessarily the case.

"The main problem is usually photo damage from UVA light and inflammatory disorders within the skin's natural barrier function in patients with acne-rosacea," she added.

With exposure to the sun's light the capillary networks in the skin lose their elasticity, with Nicola explaining that this is down to the constant relaxing and contraction of the vessels caused by the heat and rays. She also noted that thread veins are more common in those with fair skin due to the lower levels of melanin, which defends skin against UV light radiation.

One option of treatment is the Nordlys machine by Ellipse, which uses both laser and intense pulsed light technology on the target area. In this case it works best on the face.

"A very thin layer of gel is applied to the skin which increases the light absorption into the target chromophore (molecule responsible for creating the red colour) in the haemoglobin. The light/laser is attracted to the haemoglobin within the vessel and the heat energy created is then transferred to the lamina intima (innermost layer) of the vessel membrane," Nicola explained, adding that the vascular channels are then destroyed.

Over time the vessel will be reabsorbed by the body and disposed of after as few as two or three treatments which can be booked online.

As for bigger areas, sclerotherapy is a popular choice. Ultrasound is used in this method, visualising the underlying vein so an injection can be planted accurately with medicine to shrink the veins.

While mostly harmless, this isn't always the case, as Professor Mark Whiteley of The Whiteley Clinic explains. There could be "hidden varicose veins" which are more troublesome, so it's best to get checked.

"The majority of people will simply ignore thread veins as they assume them to be a ‘cosmetic condition’, however, if the underlying hidden varicose veins have not been found and treated first, then thread vein treatments are much less likely to work," he said.

There are at home methods too, like Dermalex Rosacea cream which is fragrance, antibiotic and steroid free. It helps boost skin cell repair along with reducing flare ups, moisturising and nourishing the areas affected by the thread veins.

Cover Media