With the exception of the linear veins on the side of one’s nose or the lower part of one’s cheek next to the mouth, almost all facial veins are the result of long term sun exposure. Most of my patients claim they ‘don’t go out in the sun’, but, unless there is an intricate network of tunnels beneath Philadelphia, all of the people that come to me get lots of incidental sun exposure. Most people only ‘count’ the sun they get at the beach, while playing golf, or while playing tennis. The truth is that we get most of our sun-exposure while doing things we don’t even think about: going to the mailbox, getting into and out of our car, and most importantly while driving around. Although car windows block the UVB, 70% of UVA comes through car windows, bathing us in UVA while we drive. This is important because UVA is great at making red veins come out on our face. Most people that drive a lot have many more veins on the left (driver’s side) of their face than on the right. The reason it’s difficult to tell we are getting exposed to UVA is that it’s invisible.
Spider veins are often the most prominent of the five changes that typically occur in sun-damaged skin the others being: wrinkles, enlarged pores, brown spots and sagging skin.
Most sun-induced spider veins on the face occur on the cheeks, nose, and chin. Quite noticeably, the area under the eyes (shielded by the brows or glasses/sunglasses) is often spared. Once veins come, the veins that are there seem to stimulate the growth of more veins at a much faster rate than if no veins were there in the first place. Thus, people feel like their facial redness ‘snuck up’ on them over a very short period of time. Once this happens the veins seem to multiply at a very fast pace. Facial veins acquired from the sun flush more easily than other veins in response to a host of stimuli such as: exercise, alcohol, hot and cold weather, and hot beverages like coffee. These factors that cause flushing of veins already there don’t make more veins come, they just make the veins one has acquired from the sun more noticeable. Avoiding these stimuli is impossible, and I always smile when docs suggest avoiding hot, cold, exercise, alcohol, hot beverages…what’s left? Facial redness and flushing due to the acquiring veins from sun exposure is called rosacea, and is often accompanied by another symptom of long-term sun-exposure-enlarged and over-active pores resulting in the pimples associated with rosacea.
The good news is that facial veins are among the easiest veins to remove by laser treatment. Lasers that are absorbed by hemoglobin in blood, the pulsed-dye laser or KTP laser, are the most effective at removing facial redness. After even a single laser treatment, a significant improvement can be seen in most people, although a series of treatments are necessary to remove virtually all of the veins, and help keep them away for extended periods of time. Whether people need further treatments once most of the veins have been removed is strictly a function of continued sun-exposure; thus, sunscreen and UV-blocking window film for the car are crucial for prolonging the need for further laser treatments to maintain improvement.
To answer your specific questions or schedule a consultation, call Dr. Bernstein today at 610-645-5551.
Dr. Bernstein was also the FIRST physician in the US to get the Deka Synchro HP Laser for his spider vein patients.
Dr. Bernstein was the FIRST physician in the WORLD to get the Candela V-Beam/Perfecta laser and has published extensively on its use for the treatment of rosacea, spider veins, port-wine stains, scars, and facial rejuvenation.