Do you want sexy legs but are fretting over spider or varicose veins? Don't wait till next spring to say good riddance! Shape tells you what to do - now.
Here's why you should act now. A brownish "shadow" can show for several weeks or more after spider veins are removed, and for large veins, special hose may need to be worn, making fall the perfect time to treat them. "You'll want to cover up with pants while skin heals," says Susan H. Weinkle, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Here's what you need to know:
The basic facts about varicose or spider veins
Your calf muscles help push blood toward the heart through veins and capillaries. Inside these vessels are little trapdoor-like valves that help prevent blood from flowing backward and collecting in the legs. With varicose veins these valves don't work properly: Blood pools, causing veins to bulge, and the resulting pressure permanently dilates the vein. Spider veins are like varicose veins but smaller. They begin as tiny capillaries and appear as blue or red squiggles.
What to look for if you're concerned about varicose or spider veins
Family history If relatives have varicose veins, your odds are higher.
Dull aching Pressure from pooled blood can cause a bothersome throbbing feeling that runs through your legs.
Thick, ropelike or twisted veins Varicose veins can protrude from the skin. Spider veins are tiny, flat weblike lines.
Simple solutions for your sexy legs
Maintain a healthy weight. Extra pounds put additional pressure on leg veins, which can weaken vessel walls.
Avoid crossing your legs. It slows blood circulation and also increases pressure inside the veins in your legs.
Rotate your ankles and stretch your legs. Do so periodically if you stand or sit a long time. If possible, take a quick walk. The movements boost blood flow and keep veins healthy.
Wear compression hose. These snug-fit stockings increase circulation and help prevent blood from pooling. Try Jobst Mild Support Pantyhose ($20; healthylegs.com).