Eliminating varicose veins and spider veins can take time. The (usually!) cooler months of October through April can be an ideal time to start a course of treatment, before the heat and busy plans for summer begin. Once veins are treated they will collapse, shrink, and later be absorbed. Temporary bruising occurs to some extent with every patient, and usually fades within 1-2 weeks following treatment. Hyperpigmentation often occurs at the site of more prominent veins. These brownish streaks or spots (often mistaken for bruising) will eventually fade with time and disappear over the course of weeks and sometimes months for some patients.
Sclerotherapy is the first treatment plan an experienced vein specialist will offer to effectively eliminate the feeder veins and many of the thicker spider veins. Once this groundwork is completed, the finer spider veins can be targeted with other treatment methods like topical lasers or radiofrequency ablation.
The successfully closed veins from sclerotherapy contain blood, and blood contains iron. As the vein shrinks, iron is released into the skin where it causes a brown discoloration; this is called “post-treatment hyperpigmentation.” The iron is slowly removed by the body’s natural scavenging system (the reticuloendothelial system) for recycling into new blood cells. People vary greatly in the efficiency of this “mopping up” operation. This causes some people to have very little discoloration that disappears quickly in a few weeks, while others have darker discoloration that takes months to disappear.
Using depigmenting prescription creams which kill off melanin-producing skin cells may temporarily mask this process, but eventually leave permanent white spots because they don’t work directly on the iron deposits, which eventually disappear.
There is no documentation that sun exposure affects healing after sclerotherapy. We used to think it would cause damage pigmentation in the past but more recent data tells us it is safe. Sun makes skin tan by stimulating melanin, whereas sclerotherapy causes temporary skin discoloration due to hemosiderin (iron deposits) – they are completely separate issues. Sun does not affect hemosiderin. It is a myth that sun exposure affects skin color after sclerotherapy vein treatment.
Not only is winter is the best time to have your veins treated to allow your body the time it needs to respond from vein treatment but doing so in the cooler months makes covering up more tolerable in our Southern California weather!
Call us today at 949-515-9377 to start your treatment plan!