How to Treat and Prevent Varicose Veins
Learn what causes varicose veins, plus easy ways to mask them.
For more long-lasting removal, your dermatologist can perform sclerotherapy on spider veins and smaller varicose veins. The
procedure involves injecting the offending vessels with a detergent-based solution, which irritates their linings, causing
the veins to close and eventually disappear. Typically, you feel pain as the needle goes in. However, a new solution, called
Asclera, approved last year by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, may take away that sting. “The substance has anesthetic
properties,” says Weiss. Sclerotherapy isn’t cheap. You’ll need about two to six treatments at $250 to $500 a pop, which insurance
generally doesn’t cover. To quickly cover post-sclerotherapy bruising—and even tiny veins—try Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs ($14
Large varicose veins call for more aggressive treatment: endovenous laser ablation. A doctor inserts a laser fiber or radiofrequency catheter into the damaged vein to destroy it. This onetime treatment costs about $5,000, but it is often covered by insurance, since in rare cases varicose veins can cause blood clots and ulcers.
Both sclerotherapy and laser ablation may cause some bruising. To minimize this, avoid taking anything that can thin your blood, like aspirin, Motrin, or gingko, for one week before your appointment. Hirsch says that eating pineapple for a few days beforehand may also help, since “the fruit contains an enzyme called bromelain, which may help minimize swelling.”