Sometimes, spider veins may initially seem to get worse following laser treatment. This is only a temporary side effect due to the discoloration and inflammation caused by the procedure.
Laser treatment is supposed to help remove your spider veins, so you might be a little alarmed to find them appear darker right after the procedure. But rest assured: This is a temporary effect.
According to cosmetic surgeon Javad Sajan, MD, your veins might look more noticeable after the treatment due to the swelling the lasers cause. But this hyperpigmentation should resolve within a few days to a couple weeks.
Here’s what else to know about the healing process after laser treatment.
Doctors typically perform spider vein laser treatment with intense pulsed light therapy or a similar laser, Sajan explains. Due to the strength of the light, “immediately following treatment, the veins can swell slightly, which can make them temporarily appear worse.”
Laser treatment works partly by irritating the affected blood vessels, so they may appear inflamed following the procedure.
Eventually, these blood vessels will retract and break down in the bloodstream. But in the meantime, this inflammation may also include redness or darkening of the veins. Your skin will also feel more sensitive in the interim.
According to Sajan, any darkened veins should generally lighten up again within 2–10 days.
Keep in mind that spider veins typically require several treatments before they fade completely, he says. Many people usually see noticeable results within a few weeks after treatment, though.
The time it takes for you may vary based on factors like:
- the size and severity of the spider veins
- how many laser treatments you’ve had
- your overall health
There are a few steps you can take to boost blood flow and speed up the healing process, including the following:
- Follow the instructions given by your doctor: Sajan says that some professionals may suggest that patients soothe the skin with calming creams or other medication.
- Keep the area covered and out of the sun: Since being in the sun is one of the top causes of spider veins in the first place, Sajan says, keeping the treatment area out of the sun is vital to ensure they heal properly and don’t get worse.
- Wear compression stockings: Compression stockings can reduce swelling, promote circulation, and prevent the formation of blood clots.
- Stay physically active: Regular exercise and avoiding extended periods of sedentary activity can help blood flow optimally.
These measures can help soothe the inflammation and discoloration initially caused by the lasers and support the veins in continuing to break down. These steps can also help prevent new spider veins from forming.
Typically, you’ll need several laser treatment sessions before your veins disappear completely. So, after any initial hyperpigmentation fades, it may be time to schedule another appointment if your veins are still visible after several months.
You may need up to six sessions before your spider veins are completely gone.
For best results, experts sometimes combine the laser treatment with the more common method of removing spider veins, sclerotherapy. If laser treatment isn’t delivering the results you desire, talk with your clinician about trying sclerotherapy.
Sclerotherapy involves injecting the veins with a specialized chemical solution that dissolves them.
Endovenous laser treatment is another more invasive method that might help remove larger spider veins on the legs or those that are challenging to remove by other means. It involves making an incision in the skin so that the laser can penetrate the vein more directly.
Spider veins might sometimes look darker following laser treatment due to the discoloration and inflammation the procedure can cause.
This effect is only temporary and should fade within a couple of weeks. If your veins still appear dark after a month or so, you may need another laser treatment session. It typically requires several sessions to get desired results.