We’ll be honest—getting spider veins in your 20s or 30s is pretty early. Because they’re much more prevalent later in life, having premature spider veins can give you reasonable cause for alarm.
Although they look less than desirable, having spider veins is not the end of the world. There are logical explanations as to why they can happen in your 20s and 30s. And they can be remedied by a variety of simple lifestyle changes. So let’s start this journey to understanding and curing spider veins by explaining what they are.
Why Do Spider Veins Develop?
You’re probably familiar with one of the most common vein conditions: varicose veins. Spider veins are different. They are smaller and closer to the skin’s surface. They can be bright red or blue, with jagged, short lines, resembling the look of spider webs. Spider veins usually appear on your legs but can also show up on your chest, arms, or face.
Spider veins are typically the result of broken capillaries. Capillaries are small blood vessels near the skin’s surface that can become enlarged or dilated. When this happens, web-like patterns appear on the skin.
Spider veins may be caused by weakened or damaged valves. The very valves responsible for making sure the blood in your veins flows towards your heart. When these valves are damaged, blood can flow the wrong way. This causes pooling and subsequent valve enlargement.
Weakened valves are not the only factor in the development of premature spider veins. The exact cause is actually unknown. It’s assumed to be linked to a variety of environmental and genetic factors. Let’s explain what risk factors could be contributing to spider veins in your 20s or 30s.
What Causes Premature Spider Veins to Form?
Having a family history of blood clots or varicose veins can put you at a higher risk for developing spider veins. But genetics isn’t the only cause. Many other elements can contribute to premature spider veins. So if you’re concerned about developing them, or have already spotted them on your skin, here are some additional risk factors to look out for:
UVA and UVB radiation from the sun can inflame blood vessels. This draws them closer to the skin, especially for those who are fair. Radiation can also weaken elasticity, causing the skin to become thinner and veins more visible.
Excess sunlight can cause your capillaries to dilate and widen. This, as we’ve learned, leads to the development of spider veins. UVA and UVB radiation can also be a cause as they can damage blood vessels, thus enlarging them and putting you at further risk for spider veins.
Hormone changes, especially for women on birth control or who are pregnant, can weaken your vein walls. That’s because estrogen levels increase along with your blood levels. This puts excess pressure on your veins, which may cause a potential burst.
Progesterone can also lead to vein enlargement and thus spider veins. This hormone increases during pregnancy, making veins more susceptible to damage.
Having high blood pressure in your 20s and 30s can put you at risk of developing premature spider veins. Because this condition causes blood flow restriction, veins are more likely to bulge and turn into spider veins on your skin. High blood pressure can also damage your blood vessels and vein walls, which is known to cause vein enlargement.
Your blood pressure doesn’t have to be high for you to have spider veins. In fact, people with otherwise healthy blood pressure can temporarily alter their levels. This can occur when you experience sneezing or vomiting so intensely that it breaks your capillaries. Though unlikely this can be a reason why people in their 20s and 30s, who are less likely to have high blood pressure, could develop spider veins.
People of any skin tone can develop spider veins. But they are more apparent in those with fair skin. Because of the contrasting colors, the vibrant red and blue tones of spider veins are extra visible on lighter complexions. This can cause your skin to look flushed and red, resembling the appearance of a rash.
You may have noticed that when you drink a lot of alcohol, your skin looks redder. This is also what makes spider veins more visible and more likely to form. Alcohol causes blood vessel dilation, elevated blood pressure, constricted blood flow and circulation, and increased pressure in your veins. All of these factors contribute to the formation of spider veins.
If you’re a fan of high heels, we have some unfortunate news. Stilettos, wedges, and platforms—basically any shoe that compromises pediatric function—can limit your calves’ ability to pump blood back up through your veins. And because of the discomfort you experience while wearing them, high heels can discourage you from walking. Whether caused by uncomfortable shoes or sedentary lifestyles, inactivity can put you at higher risk for developing spider veins.
Simple Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Spider Veins
There are many lifestyle changes young people can make to either prohibit or treat the appearance of spider veins. Consider these tips and remedies for preventing spider veins in your 20s and 30s:
- Protect your skin from the sun by wearing sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses
- Avoid extreme heat from hot showers, saunas, or beaches
- Get regular physical activity to get your blood circulating and maintain a healthy weight
- Refrain from excessive drinking
Worried About Spider Veins? Add This to Your To-do List
If you have spider veins there are a few treatments to consider. These depend on the severity of your spider veins and how much they bother you. And before you get them treated, it’s important to have your veins checked out by a certified vein specialist. Here are some options to consider:
- Sclerotherapy: This is the most common and effective medical procedure for treating spider veins. A chemical is injected into your veins that blocks blood flow. It may take more than one round of treatment to address a vein.
- Laser Treatment: This treatment applies strong surges of light to the affected area, causing the spider vein to fade away. The advantage of this procedure is that there are no incisions or needles involved. However, it may not be as effective as sclerotherapy. Redness, swelling, and skin discoloration are common side effects.
Don’t Let Spider Veins Hold You Back
Let’s clear up any fears of potential health issues by establishing that spider veins are purely cosmetic. Still, many people find their lives negatively affected by their appearance. This can be especially true when you develop spider veins in your 20s and 30s.
If your spider veins are affecting your quality of life, it’s worth pursuing treatment. Or making lifestyle changes that could decrease your chances of forming spider veins. Doing either can make you feel more confident and even improve your overall health.