In middle school your teacher told you they were caused by crossing you legs too much. Though that's not impossible, you're more likely to get these long, treelike lines all over your legs from your DNA. In fact, spider veins, otherwise known as telangiectasias, affect nearly half of adult women in the U.S.
"Veins have areas that act as one way-valves to prevent the blood from flowing backward as it moves toward the heart," says Dr. Rob Schwarcz, M.D. "If these valves become weak, blood can back up into the vein and collect there. Pooled blood enlarges the vein and pushes it closer to the surface." Yuck! Read below to find three solutions to minimizing your veins.
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Soution #1: Use Preventative Measures
To prevent spider veins from forming, Schwarcz recommends exercise and weight control. Elevating your legs while you sit also helps, as does wearing compression socks to minimize spider veins if you begin to notice them. If they get really bad, Dr. Howard Sobel, M.D., recommends a laser ablation process, a painless 45-minute procedure that aims carefully controlled pulses of narrow-wavelength light at the damaged veins. The veins absorb the heat, collapse, and are eventually reabsorbed by the body, becoming invisible.Related: Things You Inherit from Mom
Solution #2: Cover Them Up
If you needs to vanish your veins in a hurry, try this beauty tip from the 2009 Miss Universe contest, Darac, of Darac Beauty.
2. Softly and gingerly apply translucent powder to help hold the concealer in place.
3. Using a dabbing technique, apply another concealer, but this time you'll want one that matches your skin tone or is slightly lighter. Don't worry about covering every speck of skin; it looks more natural when makeup has a multitoned effect (as long as the differentiation in color is subtle!).
4. Spray on a makeup fixative to help keep the makeup in place.Related: Look-Better Legs
Solution #3: Consider Creams (But Don't Expect a Miracle)
Don't expect an over-the-counter potion to completely erase veins, says Paul M. Friedman, M.D., a dermatologist and director of the DermSurgery Laser Center in Houston. Only medical treatments can produce those results. But some creams can improve the appearance of capillaries. One product that seems to show promise: Avon Anew Clinical Spider Vein Therapy SPF 15 ($25, avon.com). In a company-sponsored test, women who'd used the product for eight weeks prior noticed up to a 50 percent reduction in the appearance of their spider veins.
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