Spider veins (telangiectasias) are clusters of tiny blood vessels that develop close to the surface of the skin. They are often red, blue, or purple; and they have the appearance of a spider web. Although they can appear anywhere on the body, spider veins are most commonly found on the face and legs. They usually pose no health hazard but may produce a dull aching in the legs after prolonged standing and indicate more severe venous disease.
The exact cause of spider veins is unknown, although heredity, pregnancy, trauma, aging, sun damage and hormonal influences are believed to be primary factors contributing to the condition.
More than 40% of women have some form of varicose vein condition including spider veins, with an increased incidence of venous disease as one gets older, so that up to 80% of women have some form of venous disease by age 80. Women are slightly more prevalent than men to have varicose and spider veins.