Spider veins are annoying, unsightly, and hard to conceal. These troublesome veins can crop up on the legs, arms, feet, and face. And they can be difficult to treat. Ugh.
There are no simple ways to get rid of them. Sclerotherapy is the solution recommended by doctors, but it involves multiple injections into the veins. Not fun.
But there may be an alternative: light therapy for spider veins.
Light therapy has burst onto the scene over the past several years, both in med spas and home devices. Dermatologists and scientists have found both red and blue light to be successful at treating various skin ailments and beautifying skin. LED Light Therapy is safe to use and often gives better results than similar spider vein removal methods. Is it perfect? No. Is it worth trying? Quite possible!
In this article, we’ll discuss light therapy for spider veins and touch on a few home options for spider vein and varicose vein treatments.
- 1 What are Spider Veins?
- 2 What are Varicose Veins?
- 3 What is Light Therapy?
- 4 The Benefits of Light Therapy
- 5 What Light Therapy Specifically Targets Spider Veins?
- 6 Does Red Light Therapy Treat Varicose Veins and Spider Veins?
- 7 Does Blue Light Therapy Work for Spider Veins?
- 8 Is Laser Light Therapy Guaranteed to Work On Spider Veins?
- 9 Where Can I Have Light Therapy Done?
- 10 At Home Light Therapy for Spider Veins
- 11 What About Those Cheap Blue Light Pens? Do They Work?
- 12 Possible Side Effects of Light Therapy
- 13 Final Thoughts
What are Spider Veins?
Spider veins are large capillaries that are exposed on the skin with a spider-leg-like appearance. Hence the name. These dilated blood vessels can be caused by numerous issues including age, genetics, pregnancy, and sun exposure.
While they are usually not concerning health-wise, they can often cause your skin to look patchy and discolored. The veins are tiny and start out just barely visible, but they can grow. If they continue to get bigger, they could also become a little sore and painful.
Spider veins are notoriously hard to treat, and the go-to treatment is usually sclerotherapy, aka multiple injections into the veins to hide the veins.
It’s really not fun.
Some find relief with Vicks for Spider Veins, but home remedies are not super successful.
What are Varicose Veins?
Note that Spider Veins are different than varicose veins. Spider veins are typically closer to the surface, smaller, and less visible than varicose veins. Varicose veins are even more difficult to treat than spider veins, and light therapy is less likely to be effective at clearing varicose veins.
What is Light Therapy?
Also known as Photodynamic Therapy, light therapy shines specific wavelengths of light on your skin, typically red, blue, or amber-colored light.
Depending on the wavelength(s) chosen, light therapy works to encourage your skin to stay healthy by increasing blood flow. If you’re getting treatment at a medispa, your therapist will usually run a small laser over areas of concern and keep the light shining on these spots for specific amounts of time.
Some might also rub a soft ointment or serum over the area to help your skin better absorb the light.
When undergoing a light therapy session, you will likely be put in a dark room to ensure that the therapy works well. Most therapists will often recommend that you have several treatments for best results.
Light therapy is not a miracle, and there are no guarantees when it comes to concealing spider veins. But research has shown that multiple treatments over the course of a few months have been helpful in treating skin ailments such as acne, rosacea, hyperpigmentation, and spider veins.
The Benefits of Light Therapy
There are many benefits that come with using light therapy, and it has been proven to be effective at improving skin conditions. Here are a few quick points:
It Improves Your Skin’s Texture
If you suffer from severe acne, hyperpigmentation, rosacea, or other skin issues that can impact the smoothness of your skin, blue light therapy is ideal to use. This is because it helps to remove dirt, oil, and other particles from your skin that could cause it to feel dry, patchy, and bumpy.
After a few sessions, your skin’s texture will be greatly improved.
It Helps to Prevent Skin Cancer
Research has shown that blue light therapy can actually help to prevent skin cancer. This is because it can be used to treat, and eventually destroy, cells that could grow to cause this problem.
In addition to this, it can help to encourage your immune system to function better which can help your body fight off skin cancer.
It Makes Your Skin Look Youthful
Light therapy can invigorate your skin which can encourage it to produce healthy skin cells. This can eventually make your skin look not only smooth, but free from blemishes, like spider veins, as well.
Non-Invasive, No Pain, Low Risk
The primary way to treat spider veins is through multiple injections. Nobody wants that, really.
This is why many people try light therapy to see if it will rid them of spider veins before going to the doctor for sclerotherapy. There are essentially no downsides to trying light therapy to reduce the visibility of spider veins other than the (fairly minimal) cost of the devices or trips to the med spa, and the time spent having lights shined on your body.
Unlike some skin treatments that can leave behind slight scars and white spots, light therapy doesn’t scar or batter skin. All it requires is a light being shined over your skin.
How Long Do Light Therapy Sessions Last?
Light therapy sessions will vary in their length depending on your needs and on the products you use. They can range anywhere from 15 to 90 minutes depending on the treatment type.
What Light Therapy Specifically Targets Spider Veins?
There’s no specific wavelength that will make spider veins go away. However, many find that light in the Red, Blue, and Amber spectrums will work to reduce the visibility of spider veins. Trophy Skin (which we review below) suggests that amber light in the 630nm frequency can target spider veins.
Others say blue in the 430nm range and red in the 660 range can help.
Often multiple frequencies will work together to improve skin and reduce spider veins.
Does Red Light Therapy Treat Varicose Veins and Spider Veins?
Light therapy, especially in the red/amber spectrum around 650nm, can help to reduce the appearance of spider veins in a unique way. Because the light will conduct heat, when the pulsed laser light is shined on your spider veins, it will heat them up.
This will eventually encourage blood flow to the area.
Some devices may have a conductive metal piece you need to apply to the area or hold down in order to help this process work.
Eventually, light treatments lead to the veins shrinking and potentially dissolving. Inflammation in the area that might cause your skin to look lumpy and dull will be reduced.
Light therapy also works to tighten your skin, which can help to prevent spider veins from returning.
Does Blue Light Therapy Work for Spider Veins?
Blue light is also a common treatment for spider veins. Light in the 430nm wavelength range can help reduce spider veins and other skin issues like acne.
Is Laser Light Therapy Guaranteed to Work On Spider Veins?
Is it guaranteed to work? Absolutely not.
Many people find that their spider veins or varicose veins are simply too embedded for light therapy to remove.
But if the spider veins are near the surface and are fairly small and not extremely prominent, light therapy can often reduce the visibility.
And if it doesn’t work, you can still go get sclerotherapy and go through the injections.
Where Can I Have Light Therapy Done?
Many MediSpas and salons offer light therapy. These can be excellent resources to get started on light therapy. There are also plenty of light therapy devices on the market today that you can use in the comfort of your own home.
We will look at a few at-home options here.
At Home Light Therapy for Spider Veins
There are a few at home LED light therapy devices known to target spider veins.
The TrophySkin RejuvaliteMD is an excellent at-home light therapy option. It supplies red and amber-wavelength light, and is quite effective at reducing the prevalence of spider veins on the face.
The amber-LEDs are particularly well-suited to tackling spider veins.
See our review for more information.
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The ReVive LED Light Therapy Device is a smaller, cheaper light therapy device than the Trophy Skin RejuvaliteMD. It also works in two different wavelengths, covering blue and red light waves.
The ReVive is primarily designed for treating acne and skin inflammation with blue light, but it can also produce red light as well, which will rejuvenate skin.
The Revive DPL-IIa Light Therapy Panel is another outstanding home light therapy device. It also features amber wave light that attacks those spider veins, as well as wrinkles and other skin blemishes.
We reviewed the DPL panel here. We ultimately found it to be quite successful at improving skin without significant complications.
Just be aware that it can produce a good bit of heat that can be uncomfortable during treatment.
- Anti-Wrinkle & Acne Light Therapy: Our...
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What About Those Cheap Blue Light Pens? Do They Work?
There are several inexpensive blue light pens on Amazon (such as the Zucoi pen shown above) advertising quick, painless removal of varicose veins and spider veins. They’re very cheap and small low-level laser therapy devices, and I have no experience with them.
These companies don’t really give any information on what frequency of light they shine, or how many LEDs are present. They have very few and very poor reviews.
These devices most likely will not do anything to treat varicose or spider veins or anything else. Be careful.
Here’s the amazing marketing they produce:
Sounds just like your doctor or MediSpa!
Possible Side Effects of Light Therapy
While light therapy has many benefits, there are also some possible side effects you’ll need to watch out for if you decide to use it.
Even though the panels and devices don’t physically impact the skin the way a needle would, the light expressed by these devices can be quite powerful when positioned very close to the skin. Many find that their light therapy sessions are uncomfortable, and cause a burning, tingling sensation that isn’t pleasant.
The good news is that this sensation tends to lessen significantly as more and more treatments are performed.
As with any type of skin treatment, your skin might be a little sensitive after a session. This is usually due to your skin working to restore itself and give you the best results possible. Sometimes skin in the area treated by blue light might also be a little patchy, but this is because it is trying to remove dead skin cells and other problems.
This sensitivity usually clears up a few days after treatment.
Redness might also be something to keep an eye out for. This is usually nothing to be concerned about as it’s a sign that the blue light therapy is working and touching the areas that it has treated. Because of this, you should be prepared to possibly have a little redness on your skin.
However, if it doesn’t clear up after a week, definitely bring up your concerns with your skincare therapist.
LED Light Therapy may reduce the visibility of spider veins, particularly if they’re small and near the surface of the skin.
It is a fairly inexpensive, non-invasive way to target spider veins, and is much less traumatic than getting jabbed with needles at your doctor’s office.
For many, it’s worth a try to hit a MedSpa or to pick up an at-home device to give it a shot. I hope it works for you!