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Why Spider Veins May Suddenly Appear

Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but much smaller, and are caused by a backup of blood flow in the vein. They are often red or blue and close to the surface of the skin, creating a web-like or “starburst” clusters. Spider veins are common on the legs or the face and can cover a small or large area of the skin. When these veins suddenly appear, it may be for a variety of reasons. It is estimated that 50 percent of adult females and 10-15 percent of adult males are affected by spider veins, but still it is hard to entirely understand the onset of spider veins and why they occur.

What causes spider veins? [Video]


Though these veins may not set on as suddenly, aging can cause spider veins to appear. As our body weakens and our skin wrinkles, blood flow may become more difficult, causing the buildup that produces spider veins.

Intense Sun Exposure

Exposure to UVA/UVB rays can cause a sudden onset of spider veins. For those with fair skin, spider veins can occur on the face and nose from prolonged exposure to the sun without protection.

Hormonal Shifts

Spider veins tend to be more common in women because hormonal changes are often associated with the sudden appearance of the veins. During puberty, pregnancy, menopause and while on birth control, women are likely to develop spider veins. Pregnancy can also cause spider veins because of the natural increase in blood flow in the body. Typically, these will go away after delivery.


Alcohol causes your blood vessels to dilate and, with heavy drinking over a prolonged period, this may permanently cause spider veins. Many studies have shown that smokers are also more likely to develop spider veins.

Weight Gain

Being overweight puts more pressure on your legs which could cause spider veins. Doing leg workouts and losing weight can help alleviate any pain associated with the veins and possibly help them go away. If recent, quick weight gain has occurred, spider veins may suddenly appear.

Injuries/Lack Of Movement

Any injury sustained that may put pressure on your legs or blood vessels can cause a back up and allow spider veins to form. Also, if you live a sedentary lifestyle, especially if you sit with your legs bent or crossed frequently, spider veins may form from a lack of circulation.


Unfortunately, as with most things, you can’t help genetics. A history of spider veins within the family puts you at greater risk to develop them. About half of all people with spider or varicose veins have a family member who has them as well.

If you’ve recently noticed a development of spider veins on your legs or face, Zimmet Vein & Dermatology offers Sclerotherapy and pulsed light rejuvenation treatments to help minimize or eliminate the appearance of spider veins. Contact us today for a personal consultation.

If you would like to learn more about the procedures and treatments by Austin TX Cosmetic Dermatologist, Dr. Steven Zimmet, please contact us at (512) 485-7700.

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