Spider vs. Varicose Veins

Conveniently located to serve the areas of Fenton, Sterling, Livonia and San Diego, CA

what causes spider veins

Many people wonder if there is a difference between spider veins and varicose veins. Quite simply, the answer is yes. Both spider and varicose veins are annoying and have a very unsightly appearance.

What are Spider Veins and How Do They Differ From Varicose Veins?

While what causes spider veins and varicose veins tend to be similar, the appearance is often very different. Spider veins are smaller and have a “spider web” type of look. They are usually located just under the surface of the skin and are considered superficial. They can look like a

what causes spider veins

bruise as they are often blue or purple, red or blue in color and usually appear in clusters. This type of vein condition is generally not painful and is treated via cosmetic procedures.

Varicose veins, on the other hand, are caused by valves located in diseased veins that do not fully close. This prevents the blood from flowing correctly and causing the blood to flow in the opposite direction and then pooling. This pooling causes a bulging look that is often purple or blue in color. Varicose veins often cause numbness, pain, and fatigue in the legs. Should the varicose veins remain untreated, painful leg ulcers can result.

The risk of varicose veins rises as we age. Interestingly, about 30 to 50 percent of adults suffer from chronic venous insufficiency, an underlying condition that often leads to varicose veins.

While the symptoms for each are similar, they are usually much more severe in varicose vein cases. Spider veins may cause slight itching or burning. Varicose vein symptoms can include throbbing, burning, and feelings of heaviness. Most people will not experience any warning signals that varicose veins are developing.

Treatment Options

There are different treatment options depending on how severe your case is. These options include:

Sclerotherapy — Used for spider veins and smaller varicose veins. A sclerosant solution is injected into the veins to shut and eliminate the vein.

Ambulatory Phlebectomy — Used for varicose veins and is an alternative to old-style vein stripping. During this minimally invasive procedure, the larger surface of the veins is taken out through small incisions.

Endovenous Laser Treatment — Uses laser therapy to close and destroy the vein. EVT uses laser energy to effectively close the vein, which is then absorbed by the body.

Compression Therapy — This treatment can include compression garments, exercise, and massage.

Learn What Causes Spider Veins & Get Treatment

Call the Skin and Vein Center to make an appointment to diagnose your individual case, as well as to discuss all the various treatment options and which one will be the most beneficial to you. We can answer your questions such as what are spider veins as well as provide important information for prevention. Call us today! If you have vein problems on your face, visit our facial laser treatments page instead.


Whether you have concerns regarding varicose veins or are looking to establish care for overall vein health, the team at the Skin & Vein Center is here to help! Contact us today to learn more about our many treatments and services and the varicose vein treatment side effects, so that you have all the information in your hands.