What Are Spider and Varicose Veins?

Spider and varicose veins are small, damaged veins that usually appear as blue, purple or red thin lines, webs or branches on the surface of your legs and/or face.

They are usually painless, but for many, it is something they want treated purely for cosmetic reasons.


Varicose and spider veins are not the same. Spider veins are red or purple in color and tend to be flatter than varicose veins, which are usually larger, blue in color and tend to bulge out on your legs.

Signs and Symptoms of Spider and Varicose Veins

Spider veins are usually small, thinner lines that may be flat or slightly raised and are often blue, red or purple and closer to your skin’s surface.

While varicose veins are larger and deeper under our skin than spider veins, and sometimes feel lumpy or look twisted, they are usually flesh-colored or red.

Also. varicose veins can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Mild to moderate pain
  • Itching
  • Bleeding
  • Swelling of your legs or ankles
  • An achy or heavy feeling in the legs

About 25 percent of all adults have this condition, with it being especially common in women.

Causes of Spider and Varicose Veins

All of our veins have one-way valves that prevent our blood from flowing backward. However, when these valves fail, blood begins to collect in the veins rather than continuing toward your heart, causing these veins to enlarge.

A few potential causes for varicose veins include:

  • Age – women and men over 50
  • Sitting or standing for extended periods of time
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Genetics/family history
  • Sun damage

Spider and Varicose Veins Treatments

Although generally harmless, spider veins can cause discomfort, and you may decide, after talking to our team, to treat or remove them for cosmetic reasons.

Our options for treating spider veins and varicose veins include:

  • Support pantyhose
  • Compression stockings or socks (prescription and nonprescription)
  • Sclerotherapy – your spider veins will gradually start disappearing over six-plus weeks
  • Laser treatment
  • Surgery – for larger varicose veins