It may be winter, but in sunny San Diego, dermatology should always be on your mind since it’s usually warm enough year-round to wear cute shorts and fashionable skirts. If you have varicose veins or spider veins, though, you might feel self-conscious showing off your legs. Issues with your leg veins shouldn’t just be of cosmetic concern; if you ignore them, they can grow thick and knotted, leading to an increased risk of blood clots, ulcers, or worse.
At Cosmetic Laser Dermatology, our board-certified dermatologists are the leading authorities on leg vein treatment, better known as sclerotherapy. Dr. Mitchel Goldman, the founder and director of Cosmetic Laser Dermatology, has even published several medical textbooks on sclerotherapy, many of which have been translated into five languages and are now in their 6th edition.
As part of a comprehensive plan, sclerotherapy vein treatment is one of the most effective options we can offer, especially when you follow the steps in a post-procedure recovery plan.
What is Sclerotherapy?
If you suffer from unsightly spider veins or swollen, painful varicose veins, sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive vein treatment that could help eliminate these unsightly veins. During the procedure, your doctor will inject a sclerosing agent into the targeted blood vessel, which will harden for a few days until it collapses. Following that, your body will gradually flush the remains of the destroyed vessel from your body.
Though your sclerotherapy treatment results could vary depending on the extent of your unwanted leg veins, sclerotherapy is effective enough that as much as 90% of the injected veins disappear after just a single 15–20 minute session. If you have an extensive network of unwanted veins, 2–3 sclerotherapy treatments spaced 2–3 months apart may be necessary to have maximal clearance.
You can expect virtually no downtime after a sclerotherapy session. Any side effects are few, mild, and short-lived, with some patients experiencing bruising, itching, and a temporary increase in blood vessels around the treated area. To optimize the results of your vein treatment, however, it’s a good idea not to make the following mistakes after your sclerotherapy treatment.
To learn more about sclerotherapy, please visit WebMD.com.
Mistake 1 — Not Wearing Compression Stockings
Our doctors recommend that you wear a graduated compression stocking after sclerotherapy treatment 24-hours a day during the first week, which means that you do not remove the stocking for seven days, even when showering or bathing! A graduated compression stocking ensures that your treated vessels remain collapsed and cannot rebuild. This promotes faster healing and disappearance of the vessels. We will fit you with the ideal graduated compression stocking during your sclerotherapy treatment session. Proper fitting is important to achieve the best results.
While patients are not required to wear the stockings throughout the second week, it is recommended to continue wearing them while you are standing for another week or two to get optimal resolution of the unwanted veins..
Graduated compression stockings also help prevent clots from forming more deeply in the veins because they don’t allow your blood to stagnate. Research suggests that you get better aesthetic results after wearing the stockings. If you are not compliant and remove the stockings before the recommended time, you might not achieve optimal results and treated veins may reoccur.
Mistake 2 — Spending Time in the Sun
At a minimum, you should not spend a significant amount of time in the sun for 2–4 weeks, if not longer, following your sclerotherapy session. You certainly should make sure that any inflammation is gone, but, even then, problems can arise if you spend too much time in the sun too soon.
Excessive sun exposure can cause discoloration where you had the vein treatment, which is an unwanted yet preventable side effect. If you have olive or dark skin, be very careful about this because darker skin is more susceptible to discoloration.
If you must spend time in the sun — doing prolonged exercises such as biking, for example — then use 50+ SPF sunblock. However, tanning is prohibited, whether at the beach or in a tanning bed.
Mistake 3 — Exercise
Physical activity, such as regular walking activities, can help your healing and recovery after sclerotherapy treatment. This type of activity stimulates your blood circulation, which usually means fewer post-procedure adverse effects and less discomfort. The more exercise the better!
Mistake 4 — Taking Vitamins and Other Supplements
If you take iron supplements and increase your stores of iron too much, it can result in the staining or discoloration of your skin. Although this is harmless and eventually fades, it’s better to avoid it.
Mistake 5 — Heat
It is best to avoid hot activities for 1–2 months after your sclerotherapy procedure. Hot tubes, saunas, and hot yoga will all dilate the blood vessels in the skin and disrupt the resolution of your treated veins.
Contact the Sclerotherapy Specialists at Cosmetic Laser Dermatology in San Diego
If you’re thinking about sclerotherapy as a treatment for leg veins, be sure to avoid the above mistakes that could reduce the effectiveness of the vein treatment as well as your recovery, healing, and aesthetics. For more information about sclerotherapy, contact Cosmetic Laser Dermatology. Contact us online or call (858) 365–3622. We’re in San Diego’s UTC area, minutes from La Jolla, Del Mar, and Downtown.
Next, read our blog, What Types of Veins are Right for Laser Vein Treatment?
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