Beauty and Lifestyle Expert
It is funny what creeps up on you with age; marriages, mortgages and menopause; pregnancy, new partners and fresh professions. But sometimes it is the unexpected superficial switch-ups that really take us by surprise. Notably, varicose veins.
Image via pinterest
Caused by faulty valves in the veins, varicose veins can appear blue or dark purple and just love to creep up on us, most commonly on the legs, and less so on the pelvis, vagina, uterus and esophagus.
Excited about the prospect? Didn’t think so. But unfortunately, you may not have as much control over whether you are afflicted, as you would like.
Lisa Schmelzkopf, Director and educator of Schmelzkopf Cosmetics explains that the causes include genetics, pregnancy and life in general. “Varicose veins are caused by blood flowing from the heart into the arteries and organs and coming back to the heart via our veins,” she says. “The returning blood has to travel against gravity and this is achieved through our muscles contracting and a system of valves. Because our veins only have one-way valves that allow blood through and not back, the walls can expand, bulge and the valves become weak and do not work properly causing less circulation, blood leaking backwards and blood build up in the veins causing it to bulge, expand and become swollen.”
Although some women are happy to live with them (longer skirts anyone?) others find them uncomfortable as well as unsightly.
“There can be some complications with varicose veins, but generally they are painless,” Lisa explains. However, she adds that if you cut or bump your legs when suffering from varicose veins you can bleed easier and for longer. Thrombophlebitis – blood clots which form in the vein of the leg, causing inflammation – can also potentially prove painful and Chronic Venous Insufficiency – weak blood flow – can be more problematic long-term.
How to prevent varicose veins, or treat existing ones? There are topical ingredients that can help including Centella – which stimulates blood flow and increases circulation helping to flush away the build of blood in the varicose vein.
In-clinic options include laser treatments – for smaller veins –Sclerotherapy, a chemical injected into small and medium-sized varicose veins which scars and closes them and Radiofrequency Ablation which is another procedure where the wall of the varicose vein is heated using radiofrequency energy. On the more serious end of the surgery scale is stripping of veins – generally only pursued if you suffer from constant pain, throbbing and blood clots.
Beware however, that no amount of minor treatment is 100% successful. “You will defiantly minimize them and keep them at bay for aesthetic reasons but they can come back once you stop your treatment,” Lisa notes.
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