How to Cover Up Spider Veins or Varicose Veins

From Makeup to Sclerotherapy

Dermablend Leg And Body Cover
David Valenzuela/Flickr

Varicose veins are gnarled, enlarged veins. Any vein may become varicose, but the veins most commonly affected are those in your legs and feet. That's because standing and walking upright increases the pressure in the veins of your lower body.

For many people, varicose veins and spider veins — a common, mild variation of varicose veins — are simply a cosmetic concern. For other people, varicose veins can cause aching pain and discomfort.

Sometimes varicose veins lead to more-serious problems.

Self-care — such as exercising, losing weight, not wearing tight clothes, elevating your legs, and avoiding long periods of standing or sitting — can ease pain and prevent varicose veins from getting worse. Other options range from using makeup to sclerotherapy.

Compression Stockings

Wearing compression stockings is a good first approach to try before moving on to other treatments. They steadily squeeze your legs, helping veins and leg muscles move blood more efficiently. The amount of compression varies by type and brand.

You can buy compression stockings at most pharmacies and medical supply stores. Prices vary. Prescription-strength stockings also are available.

Covering Up with Makeup

Veins -- as well as scars -- can be camouflaged with long-lasting body makeup specially formulated to cover tattoos, spider veins, scars, stretch marks and bruises.

You'll want to choose a concealer that matches the color of the skin on your legs (this will likely be different from your face). Once applied, body makeup should be set with a powder so it won't come off on your clothes.

Some of the best body makeup on the market today is Dermablend Leg and Body Cover (buy it from Amazon.com) and Cover FX (buy from Amazon).

Buying online is optimal because you can send back whatever doesn't work for you. But if you want to try a good product in-store, check out Dermablend's store locator.

Can I Get My Spider or Varicose Veins Removed Permanently?

If you don't respond to self-care or compression stockings, or if your condition is more severe, your doctor may suggest one of these varicose vein treatments, according to the Mayo Clinic:

  • Sclerotherapy. In this procedure, your doctor injects small- and medium-sized varicose veins with a solution that scars and closes those veins. In a few weeks, treated varicose veins should fade.

    Although the same vein may need to be injected more than once, sclerotherapy is effective if done correctly. Sclerotherapy doesn't require anesthesia and can be done in your doctor's office.

  • Foam sclerotherapy of large veins. Injection of a large vein with a foam solution is also a possible treatment to close a vein and seal it. This is a newer technique.
  • Laser surgeries. Doctors are using new technology in laser treatments to close off smaller varicose veins and spider veins. Laser surgery works by sending strong bursts of light onto the vein, which makes the vein slowly fade and disappear. No incisions or needles are used.
  • Catheter-assisted procedures using radiofrequency or laser energy. In one of these treatments, your doctor inserts a thin tube (catheter) into an enlarged vein and heats the tip of the catheter using either radiofrequency or laser energy. As the catheter is pulled out, the heat destroys the vein by causing it to collapse and seal shut. This procedure is the preferred treatment for larger varicose veins.
  • High ligation and vein stripping. This procedure involves tying off a vein before it joins a deep vein and removing the vein through small incisions. This is an outpatient procedure for most people. Removing the vein won't adversely affect circulation in your leg because veins deeper in the leg take care of the larger volumes of blood.
  • Ambulatory phlebectomy. Your doctor removes smaller varicose veins through a series of tiny skin punctures. Only the parts of your leg that are being pricked are numbed in this outpatient procedure. Scarring is generally minimal.
  • Endoscopic vein surgery. You might need this operation only in an advanced case involving leg ulcers if other techniques fail. Your surgeon uses a thin video camera inserted in your leg to visualize and close varicose veins and then removes the veins through small incisions. This procedure is performed on an outpatient basis.