Spider veins: Many of us have them and they’re extremely difficult to get rid of, since you kind of need to have a surgical procedure to get ‘em gone for good.
But, that doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to collecting these unsightly black-and-blue annoyances up and down your gams. “Spider veins are usually a hereditary condition, but there are natural methods that may help prevent them in the long run,” says Dr. Luis Navarro, founder and director of The Vein Treatment Center in New York City. “If you already have spider veins, they cannot be removed without a treatment. However, there are ways to relieve the fatigue and swelling associated with them.”
We picked Navarro’s brain to find out exactly what you need to do to soothe the spider veins you already have—and how to prevent more from forming.
Take Your Vitamins
Vitamins C and E keep blood vessels strong, preventing them from stretching and swelling, which is the cause of varicose and spider veins.
Eat Your Fiber
Not getting enough roughage can cause, well, you know. And, interestingly enough, constipation puts pressure on the lower part of the body, which can cause veins to swell, resulting in additional discomfort. So, eat that broccoli.
Try Horse Chestnut Seed Extract
This extract, which is quite popular in Europe, contains beta-aescin, among other things, making it efficient at relieving swelling and discomfort. You’ll feel the results anywhere from two to sixteen weeks, according to researchers who studied how effective this remedy is for combatting leg pain.
Raise Those Legs
Raising your feet six inches above your heart every night while you sleep helps blood flow back up from your legs, which in turn improves circulation throughout the body. (As an added bonus, this also relaxes fatigued legs.) Also, just a reminder: Crossing your legs can indeed cause spider veins and make existing ones worse. If you must cross, do so at your ankles, not your thighs.
Avoid Tight Clothing
Super tight jeans and leggings can constrict blood flow, causing veins to swell (ouch). Conversely, wearing compression socks can actually help to relieve that uncomfortable “heavy leg” feeling that often comes with having spider veins.
Image via James Darell/Digital Vision