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Can a Cream Treat Varicose Veins?

Written By Center for Vein Restoration
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While creams might briefly mask the appearance and symptoms of varicose veins and spider veins, they are not a permanent fix.

If you’ve noticed varicose veins or spider veins on your legs, you’ve probably thought about exploring home treatments. You would certainly have a wide selection to choose from; go into any drugstore and there are many creams available that promise to cure varicose veins and spider veins. But do these ointments and creams really do what they claim?

At best, these creams might provide temporary relief from some of the symptoms of varicose veins or mask the appearance of spider veins for a time. However, because they don’t treat the true underlying cause of varicose veins, these creams cannot be considered a cure. Instead of buying a product that likely won’t work, varicose vein patients should seek the advice of a vein specialist and explore one of several minimally invasive treatments.

Why Creams Don’t Work

To understand why varicose vein creams don’t work, you have to understand why varicose veins occur. Essentially, varicose veins sprout up because of a malfunction deep in the veins of the leg. These topical creams cannot penetrate deeply enough to get at the source of the problem, which is a weakened valve that’s unable to push blood flow back to the heart.

Your body depends on the valves to return blood to the heart after the arteries have pumped blood down to the extremities. When these valves lose their strength, blood lies immobile in the vein, forcing the vein walls to protrude outward from under the skin in the classic sign of a varicose vein.

The same holds true for spider veins, which are more superficial. These “webs” of blue veins can also be caused by sun exposure and heredity. Because they appear close to the skin’s topmost layer, some creams can make them disappear — but for only as long as you massage the cream on your legs. The spider veins remain under the skin even if you don’t see them. 

Many creams contain ingredients such as vitamin K, butcher’s broom, and horse chestnut. Vitamin K ointments temporarily fade the appearance of spider veins, but are not a long-term solution. Butcher’s broom and horse chestnut are said to have anti-inflammatory properties that could reduce the swelling associated with varicose veins. 

As with any home remedy for varicose and spider veins, the creams fail to address the root cause. Until that is treated, you’ll continue to struggle with varicose and spider veins.

The Treatments That Do Work

It’s easy to see why people with varicose veins would turn to a cream to treat the unsightly veins. The creams are inexpensive, non-invasive, and offer momentary relief without doing any harm. But if you’re looking for more than a brief cover-up, you should try a minimally invasive treatmebt to permanently eliminate varicose veins and spider veins.

Sclerotherapy uses a safe foam medicine injected into the vein to collapse it. The vein shrinks, and blood moves to healthy veins. This procedure is especially effective for spider veins and smaller varicose veins. Because the needle is so small, patients are not administered local anesthesia.

In laser or radiofrequency ablation, a thin catheter inserted into the vein delivers a burst of heat that seals off the vein. Blood then flows to nearby functioning veins. Laser ablation is the preferred therapy for larger varicose veins.

Those aren’t your only options. At the Center for Vein Restoration, we offer a relatively new treatment method, VenaSeal, that uses a proprietary medical adhesive to seal off the vein. Learn more about these treatments and others by contacting our office for an appointment.


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