Don’t spend too much time in the sun; your veins will thank you.
Though sunny weather can improve your mood, too much of it can negatively affect your veins. While it’s common knowledge that sun exposure can lead to sunburn and increased risk of skin cancer, it can also worsen conditions such as spider veins, and even cause new venous issues altogether.
This doesn’t mean that you should avoid spending time in the great outdoors, but it’s important to know the risks of sun exposure and how to properly protect yourself.
How Sun Affects Veins
In general, varicose and spider veins are products of poor circulation between the heart and the legs coupled with weakened vein walls, which creates visible, uncomfortable veins. Warmer temperatures can aggravate these conditions, causing veins to dilate, enlarge, and distend even further. This can also worsen the swelling and associated discomfort.
If you don’t already have varicose veins, however, you probably won’t develop them from spending too much time in the sun. That said, you’re still at risk of spider veins, which can sometimes appear as a result of prolonged exposure to sunlight.
Spider veins are a cousin of varicose veins that typically manifest themselves as red or blue spindly lines running along the skin. Overexposure to the sun can break down the collagen in your skin and weaken the blood vessels; the skin then becomes less elastic and the tissues become weaker, making it easier for spider veins to emerge. Some people tan in an effort to hide them, but doing so will likely make them more conspicuous and lead to to other issues in the long term.
Dress Right and Block Sun
You don’t need to avoid the sun altogether, but try to limit your time outside, particularly between the hours of 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM, when the sun’s rays are most powerful. Avoid clothing that exposes excessive amounts of skin, or invest in a quality wide-brimmed hat.
Vein conditions or not, sunscreen should be a crucial step in your routine. Apply some sunscreen 15 minutes before you head outside, and remember to reapply approximately every two hours. Don’t just focus on problem areas for vein conditions like the feet and legs; apply sunscreen anywhere you have exposed skin, even the ears and top of the head.
Even Vein Procedures Won’t Protect You
Even if you recently underwent a vein procedure, you should still take this advice, since the sun’s rays can be detrimental in these situations, as well. To hasten your recovery and ensure complete healing, you should have the procedure done in the fall or winter, so that you’ll have less cause for concern once the summer arrives. Regardless of when it happens, keep sun exposure to a minimum for the following three to eight weeks, and always remember to wear sunscreen.
Of course, a variety of factors can affect how prone to vein conditions you are, from genetics to weather and beyond. If you’re concerned about your veins want to discuss next steps, schedule an appointment with your doctor.