Thread veins can appear anywhere on the body, and they look like tiny spidery lines that appear through the surface of the skin. Red, purple or blue in colour, they can be rather noticeable. But what causes them?

• The tendency to develop thread veins can be hereditary, so if one or both of your parents are prone, you could be, too.

• Hormones can also be responsible for the formation of thread or varicose veins. Oestrogen can cause veins to become more dilated, and therefore visible through the skin, which is why pregnancy or indeed the contraceptive pill can contribute to their appearance.

• Weight can also cause problems. If the ‘weight’ is in fact a baby, it can put pressure on the pelvic veins, which in turn increases the pressure on veins elsewhere. If the weight is excessive stored fat, this too can put increased pressure on the heart and the blood within the veins.

• Standing up or sitting down for too long can also cause problems. The blood in the legs is unable to reach the heart, as it relies on the pressure of leg muscles to do so.
Thread vein removal is possible, although it is not always possible to prevent new ones from appearing.