Varicose Veins and Your Skin

June 22, 2016

Varicose veins are unsightly and uncomfortable, but did you know they can also take their toll on your skin? Changes to pressure inside the swollen vessels can impact the surrounding skin and tissue, creating a host of problems that can become permanent if left unchecked. If you are seeing those bulging veins begin to form on your lower leg, it is important to understand the skin changes that can occur and why early treatment may be the best way to ward off potential skin conditions and injuries.

Why Varicose Veins Occur

To understand how varicose veins cause skin changes, it is helpful to understand why these swollen vessels appear in the first place. Varicose veins are caused by faulty valves inside the veins. These valves are normally responsible for keeping blood moving in a single direction inside the vessel, back to the heart. When the valves stop working properly, blood can pool inside the vessels, leading to swelling and varicosity over time.

The lower leg veins are the most vulnerable to varicosity because they have the challenging job of moving blood against gravity and the body to the heart. Because they are most vulnerable to stress and strain, they are also the most likely to become damaged over time. Other factors like heredity, long periods on your feet or weight gain can also contribute to the problem.

How They Impact the Skin

When veins become varicose, it affects how efficiently blood can move inside of them. Blood is responsible for carrying oxygen and important nutrients to all the areas of the body, including the skin. When oxygen and nutrients are not delivered as efficiently, it can impact the health and appearance of the skin.

One of the first signs you might notice is skin that is itchy or irritated around the area of the varicose veins. Over time, the skin in the area can start to thicken and become discolored, due to increased pressure in the vein that also affects surrounding skin and tissue. Skin may appear brown and tight in the area, making it more susceptible to injuries.

Potential Complications

If the skin changes remain unchecked for a period of time, the discoloration in the skin can become permanent. The discoloration may even persist if you undergo a treatment to eliminate the varicose veins in the area. This discoloration can be very noticeable and unsightly, causing some people significant cosmetic embarrassment.

The area can also become vulnerable to injuries, which can evolve quickly into large open sores known as venous ulcers. These sores typically appear around the ankle, where blood flow tends to be at its weakest. The sores can be painful and prone to infection, making them difficult to treat. In fact, venous ulcers have a very high recurrence rate, which means even if it appears the wound has fully healed, it can continue to reopen and cause problems.

Treatment Options

Because skin changes can become very difficult to treat and even permanent in some patients, treating the varicose veins before these complications occur is generally preferred. At Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin, we offer a variety of minimally-invasive vein treatments designed to eradicate both spider veins and varicose veins of all sizes. These procedures involve little or no discomfort and patients are generally able to return to regular activities as soon as treatment is over.

Don’t let your varicose veins lead to skin changes and other complications. Seek treatment now before your vein condition becomes worse. Contact Vein Center of Florida & South Baldwin today at 800-910-8346 to find out which vein treatment is the best fit for you.