What are thread veins?
Thread veins or "spider veins" are very small veins in the skin itself. They look like thin bluish red lines in the skin. (varicose veins are bluish lumpy veins underneath the skin but the skin itself is normal).
Thread veins do not cause any symptoms but because they are so visible, people often dislike their appearance and feel unattractive because of them. They can be associated with varicose veins but can occur even when there are no varicose veins.
Why do people get thread veins?
Thread veins are extremely common. Most people have some (although they may not want to tell you). There is often an inherited component, for example, identical twins often have the same type of thread veins in the same areas of the body. So if your parents have had thread veins you can blame them. Hormonal factors can contribute, so that thread veins often appear in pregnancy (usually they go away again afterwards).
Women who have had several pregnancies are more likely to develop thread veins than those who have never been pregnant. Thread veins can be associated with varicose veins. Lots of other things can sometimes cause thread including injuries and cuts, exposure to sunlight (usually on the face) exposure to radiation, for example radiotherapy treatment of cancers can sometimes cause thread veins in the skin.