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Bothered by Spider Veins? Consider IPL

Bothered by Spider Veins? Consider IPL

If you’re plagued by small capillaries on your face, calves, or elsewhere on your body showing through your skin and making you feel self-conscious, know that there’s treatment for these so-called spider veins. You don’t have to just live with them or apply layers of makeup to hide them. 

At New Image Medical Spa in Fremont, California, Dr. Surinder Sandhu uses intense pulsed light, or IPL, to help reduce the visibility of spider veins or even get rid of them for good. Here’s everything you need to know about spider veins and IPL.

Why spider veins show up

Your circulatory system is a closed loop. Blood gets pumped out of your heart through your arteries to nourish the tissues, and heads back to the heart through your veins. The smallest blood vessels in your body are the capillaries, which send blood from arteries to veins. These tiny veins are in tissues all through your body, including directly under the skin. These are what bleed if you get a small scratch.

If a capillary is damaged due to high blood pressure or poor circulation, the tiny one-way valves inside it that keep blood flowing in the correct direction can be damaged. When this happens, blood slips backward through the weakened valve and pools up. The pooled blood inside the vein is visible through the skin as a kind of squiggle.

You’re at high risk of spider veins if you drink a lot of alcohol, have high blood pressure, sit or stand a lot for work, or are overweight. Diabetes, pregnancy, and spinal injuries causing poor circulation can also contribute to spider veins. 

Methods for removing spider veins

Dr. Sandhu uses sclerotherapy on spider veins found in the calves and ankles. This consists of injecting a solution into affected veins, which irritates and collapses them. The body naturally reroutes the blood flow to a nearby connected capillary, and your body flushes the defunct capillary away as waste through your lymphatic system.

Facial spider veins can benefit from a less invasive method of treatment. Dr. Sandhu uses intense pulsed light, or IPL, on facial spider veins. During your treatment, he sends short pulses of intense light directly into your skin above the areas where spider veins are visible. This has the same effect as sclerotherapy, but without injections.

What to expect

We apply a cooling gel before your treatment, and the light passes through a cooled glass applicator, so you won’t feel any heat from the intense light. Most people say they feel a light but sharp buzz or stinging on the surface of their skin, similar to a rubber band being snapped.

Most patients need anywhere from three to five treatments to address all of their facial spider veins, and it takes several weeks after that to see the full effects. You’ll be able to schedule your visits without time off from work or school, and go right back to your day after each session.  

Make sure you avoid direct sun for a few days after each treatment, and continue to use high-quality sunscreen when you’ll be out in the sun in the weeks between and following treatment with IPL.

To learn more about treating spider veins with IPL, contact our office for a consultation. Call us at 510-269-2324, or request an appointment online today.

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