Spider angiomas that affect the skin are unsightly and, hence, for cosmetic purposes, one may consider different treatment approaches to get rid of these blemishes.
A spider angioma refers to a bunch of dilated blood vessels that radiate from a central red spot. These are located just beneath the surface of the skin. This abnormal clustering of blood vessels with a red dot at the center resembles the appearance of a spider; hence, the name. The chest, neck, and facial area are the three common sites where spider angiomas generally occur. In children, spider angiomas disappear quite soon. However, those occurring in adults persist and do not go away easily.
Excessive exposure to the sun, hormonal changes that are common during pregnancy, thyroid problems (hyperthyroidism), and liver problems are some of the factors that can cause spider angiomas. Women taking oral contraceptives are also prone to spider angiomas. In case these appear suddenly on multiple sites, undergoing a liver function test is recommended in order to rule out any serious concern.
Getting Rid of Spider Angiomas
In most cases, a spider angioma clears away without any medical treatment. Although it is not something that will disappear quickly, seeking active medical treatment is usually optional. However, in spite of being harmless, a spider angioma occurring on the facial area is likely to attract negative attention and hence people tend to look for treatment options to remove these blemishes. Following are some non-invasive procedures that may help diminish the pronounced appearance of a spider angioma.
→ Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
Intense pulsed light, also known as photo-facial, is an easy way to get rid of spider angiomas. This form of non-surgical treatment has been very effective in clearing away these clustered blood vessels and improving the appearance of the afflicted skin patch. This skin treatment involves targeting the affected part of the skin with intense pulses of non-coherent light. The different wavelengths of light generate heat on touching the skin, which helps destroy the problematic blood vessels. This, of course, aids in the process of substantially decreasing the appearance of a spider angioma.
→ Pulsed Dye Laser (PDL)
Quite a few dermatologists prefer to use pulsed dye laser to treat these dilated blood vessels (also called spider nevus). PDL is recognized worldwide and is one of the most successful treatment options for spider angiomas. It has a superior efficacy of over 97%. In this procedure, the affected part of the skin is exposed to an intense burst of light. Upon absorbing the bright light, the dilated blood vessels eventually get destroyed.
In this procedure, a solution is introduced into the affected part of the skin using an injection. The injected solution dismantles the abnormal grouping of blood vessels and diverts the blood flow to restore proper circulation. This special sclerotherapy solution damages these dilated blood vessels, leading to their breakdown. As these blood vessels are no longer necessary, they are gradually reabsorbed by the body. Around 1 to 3 sessions of scelerotherapy may be necessary to eliminate spider angiomas.
Spider angiomas affecting the facial area are often treated with electrocautery. It just takes a few seconds to complete this procedure and usually just one sitting of electrocautery is enough to see the desired result. In this procedure, an electrode is heated by passing a low voltage current through it. The heated electrode is then momentarily put on the affected portion of the skin to burn it off. This superficial burning may cause a tiny wound but it does destroy the dilated blood vessels just underneath the skin.
In order to maximize the efficacy of the medical treatment options mentioned above, it is advised to refrain from sun exposure before and during the course of the treatment. Also, after attending all the treatment sessions, limiting sun exposure is necessary for long-lasting results.
→ Herbal Remedies
Herbs that have a long history of use for treating skin problems may also help to get rid of spider angiomas. Taking herbal extracts of horse chestnut, hawthorn, and ginkgo biloba orally help to reduce the dilation of blood vessels, which may consequently contribute in fading out their conspicuous appearance gradually. Topical ointments containing these herbs are also found to be helpful in clearing away spider angiomas.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.