The appearance of unsightly spider veins can be an upsetting and common event in the lives of most people. The slightly raised red and purple spider veins are a form of venous insufficiency and are similar to varicose veins but smaller in size.

The condition is common in women with approximately 50 percent of women over age 50 suffering from spider veins. Men are also frequently affected.

Spider veins are painful and can cause burning, itching, aching legs and their appearance can cause embarrassment and avoidance of activities and influence clothing choices. However, spider veins do not have to be a reality for everyone. An active and healthy lifestyle can prevent many of the reasons why spider veins occur.

Take a firsthand approach to stop spider veins. Here are a few preventative measures to keep spider veins and other venous insufficiencies at bay. 

Dr. Lawrence Presant is the chief medical officer at Arizona Vein Specialists.

Get Moving

Like most things in life, exercise is the best preventative measure to avoid spider veins. A healthy and active lifestyle means better circulation in your legs which pushes the blood collecting in the veins to the rest of the body. Frequent exercise also lowers venous blood pressure, which is an indicator of venous insufficiency. 

Do any type of low impact exercise that gets your leg muscles working.  Swimming, cycling or walking are all good exercises. 

It is important to keep your legs moving even if you are unable to stay active for a long period of time. Get up and walk around every 30 minutes. It is necessary to shift the weight on each leg periodically. Healthy blood flow means less of a likelihood for spider veins so get moving!

Wear Something Comfortable

Tight and uncomfortable pants that restrict blood flow at your waist, groin, and legs can cause a backup of blood in the lower extremities making spider veins more likely. It is also important to save high heels for special occasions. Regularly wearing low heeled shoes will engage your leg muscles to better promote blood flow in the legs. 

Compression stockings and socks can also prevent sluggish blood flow if you sit or stand for prolonged periods at work or travelling. Compression stockings and socks can go a long way in preventing spider veins and they can be bought at any local pharmacy.

Apply Sunscreen

Arizonans are probably more informed about the importance of wearing sunscreen, but many people don’t know that the daily application of sunscreen is a great way to prevent spider veins from developing. 

Exposure to the sun is directly linked to the development of spider veins. Facial spider veins tend to develop around the cheek, chin, and nose. Sun breaks down collagen in the face and in the walls of your blood vessels.

Apply sunscreen daily and you are less likely to suffer from spider veins.

Following these steps can go a long way in preventing spider veins; however, there is no way to completely prevent all spider veins. Many causes of venous insufficiency are genetic and life events such as a pregnancy and hormonal changes make spider veins more prevalent. 

If spider veins or varicose veins do occur, then it is important to understand that there are simple medical procedures to eliminate and treat unsightly veins and their causes. Talk to your local vein doctor to figure out the best course of action to deal with spider veins.


Dr. Lawrence Presant is the chief medical officer at Arizona Vein Specialists. He is a diplomat of the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine.