Face Lift

The Scoop on Treating Facial Veins

Reviewed by Mitchel P. Goldman, MD

Unsightly, bulging veins may appear on the face — often around the eyes or temples.

Facial veins are not harmful, but their presence may be bothersome.

Exactly what causes them is not fully understood, but genetics, pregnancy and hormonal influences may play a role.

If you are concerned about facial veins, see a specialist for a complete evaluation. Dermatologists, dermatologic surgeons, facial plastic surgeons and/or vascular surgeons often treat varicose veins. The first step is an evaluation to make sure the vein is not associated with any underlying medical issues.

Some people may choose facial fillers to plump up the affected area and hide the bulging veins, but this is more of a Band-Aid approach that doesn't truly address the underlying cosmetic issue.

Courtesy of AAFPRS

Laser treatment can dramatically improve the appearance of facial veins. The laser energy damages the vein, creating scar tissue that ultimately shuts the vein down. The results are usually immediate and tend to be long lasting. Several treatment sessions may be needed.

In some cases, sclerosing or foaming injectable agents can be used to shut down facial veins, but there are risks when using these agents so close to the eyes.

Facial Spider Veins Be Gone

Another type of vein — the "spider" vein — can also show up on the face, often around the nose. Spider veins are tiny superficial purple or red blood vessels that can be treated with lasers or intense pulsed light (IPL). Some doctors also use sclerotherapy agents to treat facial spider veins, but this has its share of risks, including ulcerations or lesions.

IPL selectively damages the small spider veins, which are then harmlessly absorbed by the body. Several IPL treatments are often required to get rid of spider veins.

Insurance will only cover the cost of removing veins if they are causing symptoms. Cost varies based on the type of treatment, the size and scope of the treated area, and the number of sessions required. If the cost is prohibitive, financing plans are likely available.

About the Reviewer of this Article

Mitchel P. Goldman, MD, is the founder and medical director of Goldman Butterwick Fitzpatrick Groff & Fabi: Cosmetic Laser Dermatology in San Diego. There, he directs the fellowship program accredited by the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. He also is a Volunteer Clinical Professor in Medicine/Dermatology at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Goldman is the 2013-14 President of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. He is founder and past president of the American College of Phlebology and past president of the San Diego Dermatological Society and the Sonoran Dermatology Society.

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