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    Laser Therapy

    Smaller spider veins in the face and legs can be treated with surface laser therapy. During the procedure, laser energy is applied to the skin’s surface directly above the spider veins. Bursts of light cause the veins to contract and the blood in them to coagulate (thicken and clot). The procedure is performed in a doctor’s office and doesn’t require anesthesia. Instead, since laser energy generates heat, the physician may apply a cooling solution or use another method to cool the skin.

    Prior to treatment, the physician examines the spider veins and surrounding area. Sometimes, a calibration test is performed at this time to determine how much laser energy is needed. Before applying the energy, the physician cleanses the skin with a mild antiseptic to eliminate any surface oil or bacteria.

    The actual procedure takes 15 to 60 minutes. Laser light is applied in short, precise bursts. You may feel a slight burning or stinging sensation, much like a rubber band snapping against your skin. It’s also possible that you’ll hear a “zapping” sound and smell smoke as the laser works. After the procedure, antibiotic ointment is applied to the treated area to protect against bacteria.

    Following treatment, you may have some redness and swelling where the laser was applied. This will disappear in a few days, and the treated area will become bruised-looking. This discoloration gradually fades in 5 to 10 days. Ice packs and over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to reduce any pain or swelling.

    Sometimes, the laser light actually changes the color tone of your skin, either darkening or lightening it. In the case of skin darkening, creams can be used to lighten the affected area. For lightened areas, medical tattooing is an option to consider.

    Sources: National Women’s Health Information Center, the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.