Good Housekeeping (UK) - - Good Looks -


You may have your mother to thank for vari­cose veins, those un­sightly blue bumpy streaks that oc­cur when the valves in veins stop work­ing and blood starts to pool. If she had them, there’s a 45% chance you’ll get them. If both your par­ents did, it rises to 90%. With no ge­netic link, there’s a 16% chance.

‘Leg thread veins are very com­mon and ap­prox­i­mately 86% of women will get them, so it’s im­pos­si­ble to say whether they’re in­her­ited,’ says Pro­fes­sor Mark White­ley, con­sul­tant ve­nous sur­geon at the White­ley Clinic. How­ever, in the ma­jor­ity of cases, they’re a sign of un­der­ly­ing vari­cose veins, so must be checked out. Spe­cial­ist ve­nous du­plex ul­tra­sound scan­ning equip­ment can lo­cate them, but that’s not some­thing you’ll nec­es­sar­ily find in a cos­metic clinic. ‘When a doc­tor does a “quick” scan, it’s been shown they miss at least 30% of un­der­ly­ing vari­cose veins,’ says Pro­fes­sor White­ley.


AT HOME While it’s vi­tal to get leg veins checked, blur­ring them with make-up or a fake tan can mean the dif­fer­ence be­tween wear­ing a skirt or trousers. Try adding Tan-luxe The Body Il­lu­mi­nat­ing Self-tan Drops, £42, to your mois­turiser (use more for a deeper tan). Sally Hansen Air­brush Legs Lo­tion, £13.99, is a foun­da­tion for legs, and Kero­mask Cam­ou­flage Cream, £12.99, acts as a con­cealer. To re­duce swelling and soothe painful veins, try Cloud9 Skin So­lu­tions Na­ture’s Mir­a­cle, £30. PAY A PRO To en­sure vari­cose veins don’t de­velop in the same way as your mother’s, Pro­fes­sor White­ley ad­vises hav­ing them treated early by a ve­nous spe­cial­ist. This would have meant, 20 years ago, ‘strip­ping’ them – re­mov­ing the sur­face vein un­der gen­eral anaes­thetic. Now, there are min­i­mally in­va­sive tech­niques pi­o­neered by Pro­fes­sor White­ley, such as seal­ing the vein from within us­ing a laser, af­ter scan­ning to find the causes. This has re­duced re­cur­rence rates to just 3.3% and given us not just more youth­ful look­ing legs but health­ier ones, too.

As thread veins are most likely a sign of un­der­ly­ing vari­cose veins, it’s im­por­tant to get those treated first. The best treat­ment is then mi­croscle­rother­apy, where a sub­stance is in­jected into the vein to de­stroy the wall – wear­ing com­pres­sion stock­ings is a must for 14 to 21 days af­ter­wards to min­imise the risk of be­ing left with brown stains.

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