With summer winding down, you may be pleased with the role your vacation tan is playing in providing “coverage” for your spider veins. Although most are aware of the danger of sun exposure and risk of skin cancer, it’s less well-known that prolonged sun exposure may increase the break out of tiny ‘spider veins’ around your nose, cheeks and upper chest wall.
On the other hand, the sun plays no role whatsoever in the development of varicose veins, which mainly have heredity, pregnancy and hormonal changes as top causes. However, varicose veins may become worse in the summer due to the heat. When our body temperature rises, blood is directed to the skin veins to help radiate heat from our bodies. This extra flow of blood stretches veins; and, those that are diseased will likely get bigger. In hot weather (or in a sauna, or during exercise), the body tries to cool down by dilating (enlarging) the veins under the skin. In people that have venous reflux (also called venous insufficiency), blood pools abnormally in the leg veins. So the combination of the body being hot and venous reflux causes the veins to really bulge.
Don’t suffer through another summer of hoping your tan makes your unattractive leg veins disappear. Call 913-451-VEIN (8346) to schedule a free vein screening at my Kansas City vein clinic – Vein Centers for Excellence of Kansas City.
Dr. Craig Schwartz