Thread veins are tiny veins that can appear through the surface of the skin in red, blue or purple web-like clusters. You may find them appearing on your thighs, ankles or feet, although some people find them developing on their face.

Anyone can get thread veins, although women are more likely to develop them than men, particularly during their childbearing years. If you have a family history of spider veins, then you are at a higher risk of developing them, and although it is difficult to establish a definite cause, some environmental factors are also though to contribute to their development:

Alcohol – excessive alcohol consumption is thought to cause these spider veins, particularly on the face.
Sun damage – again, the face is at risk as it is generally exposed more than the body.

Pregnancy – hormonal changes combined with weight gain make pregnant women susceptible to spider veins.

Prolonged standing – if you stand all day the circulation in your legs could suffer and you may find spider veins appearing on your feet and ankles. Sitting down too much can have a similar effect as you need to walk to keep your blood flowing in your legs.

Although they are difficult to predict and not always possible to prevent, thread vein removal is possible with the help of laser therapy.