When you decide to show off your gams this spring, the last thing you want to showcase is a spidery, blue-green bulge on your calves. While varicose veins can be hereditary, that doesn't mean you're stuck with them forever! We quizzed doctors for a decade-by-decade plan of attack and came up with plenty of non-surgical ways to keep the unsightly situation at bay, whether you’re in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s or beyond. From collagen-boosting moisturizers to fashionably compressive pantyhose, uncover the secrets to treating varicose veins at any age in our gallery!
1. In Your 20s
Varicose veins can be hereditary, but sitting still for hours can inhibit blood flow in legs, contributing to the formation of swollen vessels. So move around once every hour or two, and when you get home, prop up those limbs. Run an exfoliating dry brush like Earth Therapeutics Body Brush ($10; earththerapeutics.com) over them for 10 minutes to help stimulate circulation and prevent blood from pooling, which may enlarge veins, says N.Y.C. dermatologist Jeannette Graf. Apply SPF like Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Stick ($11; neutrogena.com) daily to block the UVs that cause skin to thin, making veins more visible.
2. In Your 30s
Bulges may make their debut, as faulty valves and weak vascular walls prompt a backup of blood. Pregnancy hormones and belly weight can cause dilation and stretching, allowing blood to pool, says Luis Navarro, a N.Y.C. phlebologist (vein specialist). Use an antioxidant lotion like Nivea Skin Firming Moisturizer with Q10 ($10; ulta.com) to protect firming collagen proteins, says N.Y.C. dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, and give compression stockings a try for four days or nights a week; they squeeze veins to up circulation and prevent them from appearing worse over time. Try Rejuva-Health Pantyhose ($70; rejuvahealth.com).
3. In Your 40s
To counteract the continuing loss of elasticity (and thicken skin so veins are less visible), stick to your daily SPF and switch to a body cream with ingredients like retinol or growth factors, says Dr. Zeichner. We love Paula's Choice Resist Retinol Skin-Smoothing Body Treatment ($27; paulaschoice.com). On days you ditch your hose, mask marks with a veil of warm-toned airbrush makeup, like Sally Hansen’s Airbrush Legs in Light Glow ($11; drugstore.com), which provides a lightweight layer of coverage.
4. In Your 50s+
Chances are those ropy tubes are on display, thanks to a mix of thinner skin, lagging circulation, and perhaps a more sedentary lifestyle. (If they run in your family, you're 20 percent more likely to see them, says Dr. Navarro.) Do daily doses of SPF and retinol cream. If you're also dealing with black-and-blues—because when veins are more dilated, they're at a higher risk for rupturing and bruising—consider applying a cream with vitamin K like Vita-K Professional ($10; walgreens.com), which may help reduce the bruising, says Dr. Zeichner. Upgrade to a dense creamy base for a temporary disappearing act. We recommend Dermablend Professional Leg amp Body Cover ($30; dermablend.com).