Thread veins are different to varicose veins which are larger and palpable, so you can feel them in the skin. Varicose veins can signify an underlying problem with the venous pump in the legs and disease of the veins or the valves and may require surgical treatment. Varicose veins can also lead to additional problems in the skin including eczema, pigmentation and sometimes ulceration.
Thread veins are not considered to be a medical problem, only affecting the superficial veins and is more of a cosmetic problem. The actual cause of thread veins is unknown, although it is thought to be partly genetic and partly due to other factors (including prolonged standing, sunlight exposure, hormones and alcohol) however some people seem to develop a lot more than others.
The gold standard treatment for thread veins is by injection of a sclerosant (sclerotherapy) into the vein to dry and break down the wall of the vein and thereby get rid of it. It has been the best treatment for many years and considered safe and effective. Microsclerotherapy is ideal for unsightly thread veins. Small varicose veins can also be treated using foam sclerotherapy, this is performed at Cosmedic Skin Clinic by Dr Martyn King who is also a Board Member of the British Association of Sclerotherapists. For thread veins that are present on other areas of the body including the face, light based treatments can be used.