Thread veins, which are also known as spider veins, dermal flares or telangiectasia are unsightly blood vessels which can be seen through the skin. They vary in colour, size and appearance but all can cause embarrassment and prevent baring of the affected skin.
Thread veins are not varicose veins; they are generally painless, though some people may experience aching and itching, and they will not turn into varicose veins. Almost all are amenable to treatment.
Thread veins may be very fine and red in colour, or they may be larger purple and branching; some are matted and may be mistaken for a bruise. Others are blue, raised, wriggling or straight; frequently people will have a mixture of types.
Very few people get through life without developing a single thread vein but some people develop many more than others. Heredity is the single most important factor though pregnancy, injuries, hormonal changes, some forms of exercise and prolonged standing also play a part. They may also occur with varicose veins, and are most common on the legs. They occur more frequently in women than men and tend to get worse with age. The majority of people seeking treatment are troubled by leg or facial veins but they can be treated wherever they appear on the body.