Invented more than a century ago as a cure for pneumonia and croup, Vicks Vaporub has been a bathroom medicine cabinet staple ever since. It is commonly used for treating coughs and colds, and for easing chest congestion.
Recently, with the immense popularity of home remedies, Vicks has made a comeback. It’s now being touted as an alternative treatment for spider veins. Does Vicks for Spider Veins work?
In this article, we’ll examine what spider veins are, the causes and risk factors for developing them, and why Vicks has now become a popular remedy to treat them.
And most importantly, we’ll look at whether or not there’s anything to substantiate the claim that Vicks for Spider Veins actually works.
What are Spider Veins?
Spider veins are those unsightly little twisted blood vessels that are visible just below the skin. They most often develop on the legs or face. Their unappealing name comes from the spider web-like appearance.
If you have spider veins, you’re not alone. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, more than 50% of women have some type of vein problem.
What Causes Spider Veins?
Veins carry blood to the heart, and have a one-way valve that prevents blood from flowing backward.
Spider veins in the legs occur when this valve is not functioning properly. This causes blood to pool in the vein. Over time, the increasing pressure of excess blood will cause the vein to branch out, resulting in spider veins.
Spider veins that appear on the face are usually caused by tiny blood vessels bursting. This comes as a result of increased pressure or sun damage.
There are several different factors that increase a person’s risk of developing spider veins.
Genetics is the number one culprit. Up to 90 percent of people who have spider veins have a family history of them.
Another big contributor is pregnancy. The extra weight of the fetus, as well as an increased blood volume, puts more pressure on leg veins during pregnancy.
For some women, spider veins will disappear after pregnancy, but they can be permanent for others.
Other risk factors for developing spider veins include:
- Being female
- Being older
- Being overweight
- Sitting or standing for long periods of time
- Previous vein damage or blood clot
- Oral contraceptives
- Hormonal treatments
- Excess pressure on the face from forceful coughing, sneezing or intense pushing during childbirth
- Sun damage
Treatment for Spider Veins
Treatment for spider veins is usually sought out for cosmetic reasons. But they can sometimes cause symptoms in some people including itching, swelling, and a burning sensation.
It’s especially important to talk to a doctor if you are experiencing any related pain or swelling. This may be an indication of a much more serious underlying condition.
Spider veins will not disappear on their own. If you are looking to get rid of them, the sooner you address the problem, the easier it will be.
Medical Treatment Options for Spider Veins
Sclerotherapy is thought to be the safest and most effective medical procedure for the majority of those suffering from spider veins.
Sclerotherapy involves injecting a solution directly into the vein. The solution causes the vein to close up, forcing blood to reroute through healthier veins. The collapsed vein is reabsorbed into the surrounding tissue and eventually fades.
Spider veins treated with Sclerotherapy fade within a few weeks. In some cases, several injections are required.
What is the Best Home Remedy for Spider Veins?
– and what do they all have in common
Some seek out home remedies because of the cost of medical treatment. Others find these health care alternatives to be more in line with their own values, beliefs, and philosophies toward health and life.
Regardless, there is no shortage of home remedy suggestions to treat spider veins.
From Witch Hazel and cayenne pepper to crushed garlic and essential oils, there are a million ‘miracle cures’ floating around the Internet. And most don’t work.
All of these home remedies treat the symptoms of spider veins. None of them will actually get rid of spider veins. While some alternative remedies will help with those experiencing inflammation, itchiness, and burning, others promote good blood circulation.
It should also be noted that many of these home remedies can potentially cause more harm than good. It’s important to consult a medical physician before trying them.
Some have had luck at using light therapy to treat spider veins. This is definitely experimental, but clearly low risk.
Vicks For Spider Veins
Vicks Vaporub falls into the category of home remedies. And like all other home remedies, using Vicks for spider veins will not make them go away.
It does, however, have some properties that will help with blood circulation, as well as the inflammation, burning, and itchiness some people experience with spider veins.
Camphor and menthol produce a cooling effect that will help to alleviate the itching and burning sensations. Eucalyptus contains a natural chemical called 1,8-cineole, which has anti-inflammatory properties.
The application of Vicks Vaporub stimulates blood circulation. But then again, so does applying any lotion or balm. Those benefits have more to do with the action of rubbing it in than the product itself.
So it’s more the act of massaging the skin where the spider veins are that helps, as opposed to the Vicks in particular.
There are no magic elixirs out there. You will not get rid of spider veins without medical intervention.
If you are looking to relieve the inflammation and discomfort of spider veins, then Vicks Vaporub could be a good option to try.
If you are looking to get rid of spider veins, consult your physician.
You have no control over your genetics or your age. But you can make choices that will improve your blood circulation and help to alleviate the pressure that causes spider veins. You can also minimize your chances of developing new ones.
If you suffer from, or are in a high risk group of susceptibility to spider veins, make sure you do the following:
- Manage your weight
- Avoid sitting for extended periods (especially cross-legged)
- Drink lots of water
- Get regular massages!
- Eat Fish – Your blood circulation’s best friends are Omega-3 fatty acids you can find in tuna, mackerel, salmon and sardines
A lifestyle adjustment, rather than a band-aid treatment, will be more beneficial to you in the long run.