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Body by Mr Ioannis Goutos

Skin Veins

Skin Veins

Veins are a type of blood vessel that help to carry blood from the tissues of the body back to the heart and lungs. They are present all around the body, some are superficial and closer to the skin and some lie deeper. Whilst they are not normally particularly noticeable, with time and age, some of the superficial veins can become more prominent which can lead to concerns. On occasion, these prominent veins can be present from birth due to malformations in the smaller blood vessels under the skin.

These are often referred to as birthmarks or ‘port wine stains’. Problematic veins in the skin can cause symptoms such as aching, pain, itching or swelling (more typically when occurring in the legs). Aside from the associated physical symptoms, superficial skin veins can have an unsightly appearance, causing people to feel self-conscious and limit their choice of clothing and activities.

Mr Ioannis Goutos is an accomplished plastic surgeon with clinics based in London. His practice centres around tailored treatments and plans for each individual, and he has a special interest in managing scars and burns. As part of his clinic he offers a number of procedures, both surgical and non-surgical, and every treatment plan is inclusive of thorough assessment and post-procedure follow up and care.

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About this condition

Prominent skin veins can be sorted into 2 main categories based on their characteristics. This will depend on the location and appearance of the veins and will affect any treatment options or procedures.

  • Varicose veins – these occur in the legs and are more common as people get older. Leg veins contain small valves inside them to prevent the backflow of blood. When these valves stop working efficiently, this can lead to pooling of blood in the veins, causing them to expand and become more prominent. They are often associated with symptoms of throbbing and aching in the legs and can be unsightly. They are more likely to arise in those with a higher BMI, in pregnancy and in those who have jobs or activities that involve long periods of sitting or standing still.
  • Spider veins– also referred to as ‘thread veins’ or ‘telangiectasia’,  are clusters of smaller surface blood vessels known as ‘capillaries’, that can appear red, blue or purplish in the skin. They most commonly occur on the face or legs, but can also appear on the abdomen. Spider veins are more common in women, and can sometimes be associated with other medical problems such as acne rosacea (a skin condition the mostly affects the skin on the face), liver disease, or taking certain medications such as the oral contraceptive pill. They do not usually cause any physical symptoms or pain, but many people seek treatment to reduce their appearance for cosmetic reasons

Many people seek to have treatment for troublesome veins, either due to ongoing symptoms of aching or itching associated with varicose veins, or to improve the overall appearance of prominent skin veins to help the skin appear smoother and more even. Extensive varicose veins can require the input of a vascular surgeon, however most superficial veins can be well managed using laser or light-based treatments. These work by using high energy beams of light which cause damage or ‘thrombosis’ to the vein, causing it to collapse. The blood is able to circulate through deeper vein systems in the body. With time and healing, the body can then break down the collapsed vein and leave the skin appearing clearer.

If you are interested in seeking treatment for prominent or varicose veins, it is important to consult with an experienced clinician to ensure that your treatment is appropriate for you, your aesthetic goals and your medical background.

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