Varicose Veins and Hair Removal

Written By Center for Vein Restoration
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Want smooth legs for the summer? If you have varicose veins, you must choose your hair removal method carefully.

In the heat of summer, women frequently find themselves wearing shorts, skirts, and bikinis — and many women feel more comfortable in these revealing garments if their legs and bikini line are smooth and hairless. However, this can present a problem for women with varicose veins, as safely removing hair without harming the sensitive veins can be tricky.

While there are several hair removal choices available, some may not be suitable for varicose vein patients. In general, hair removal options that use excessive heat or razors could either cut a protruding vein or exacerbate the conditions that give rise to varicose veins. Let’s review tactics to rid legs of hair — and why varicose vein patients should approach some methods with caution.

The Best And Worst Hair Removal Methods for Varicose Veins

Preferred hair removal methods range from razors to warm waxes. Although each method has proven safe and effective in removing unwanted hair, some may pose potential risks for women with varicose veins. Here’s a look at each and how they might affect varicose veins.

Waxing. Most waxing procedures use a warmed-up waxy substance slathered on the skin. A fabric strip then removes the wax along with the hair. This method is potentially harmful to women with varicose veins for two reasons.

First, varicose veins result when the valves in the leg vein cannot work against the downward force of gravity and push blood upward to the heart. The blood remains in the vein, which causes the overextended vein to bulge from under the skin, creating a varicose vein. When exposed to high heat, veins tend to enlarge because of increased blood flow — so imagine an already-overstretched varicose vein put under further stress as heated wax hits the skin.

Secondly, abruptly pulling off the wax might damage the sensitive skin around varicose veins, possibly causing irritation and bleeding. A less traumatic alternative is sugar waxing. In this procedure, a mixture of sugar, lemon juice, oil or water is spread on the skin and removed with strips. Although the method is the same as hot waxing, sugar paste isn’t heated to the same intensity as hot wax, so it may be less damaging to varicose veins.

Epilator. When passed over the skin, an epilator device extracts hair at its root. However, the device’s strong pulling action could further inflame the delicate skin and tissues surrounding the varicose vein, causing it to bleed. Compared to an epilator, depilatory cream is gentler on the skin. When placed on the legs for several minutes, depilatory creams chemically cause the hair to dissolve.

Shaving. Cuts and scrapes from a razor are common, but even a small laceration is risky for varicose vein patients. That’s because varicose veins are highly susceptible to bleeding — especially in combination with heat — and most women shave in a warm shower or bath. It’s a better idea to shave with a razor specially designed to remove hair when the skin is dry, which will be less abrasive to the skin and varicose veins.

Laser Hair Removal. Laser hair removal uses a beam of heat aimed at a hair follicle to eliminate it and prevent regrowth. Interestingly, lasers are also used to treat varicose veins; when heat pulsates through the damaged vein, it forces the vein to collapse and fade away. For that reason, laser hair removal and laser ablation of varicose veins are sometimes done at the same time.

Laser hair removal is considered a safe option for varicose vein patients. That said, it’s important to note that patients are advised to avoid direct sunlight following laser treatment, so it’s best to begin treatment in the cooler months, as the procedure will require several rounds of treatment to remove hair completely.

Get Your Legs Ready for the Summer

Before deciding which of these hair removal methods to try, you should consult with your doctor. While you may be excited to bare your legs and bask in the sun, you must be careful not to make varicose vein symptoms worse.

The only proven way to permanently banish varicose veins — and allow you to use whatever hair removal method you choose — is a minimally invasive procedure. Here at the Center for Vein Restoration, we offer several treatment options that are quick, virtually painless, and get patients back on their feet immediately after treatment. Stop covering up and contact our office today for an appointment.

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