Why Are The Veins On My Face So Visible

posted in: Skin Care

Many people have prominent veins on their faces, some appear as red spider veins and some appear as bulging blue ones. They’re not necessarily dangerous, and they can be treated.

Why do blue and red veins stand out so vividly? They’re called spider veins or varicose veins. Veins that appear so prominently rarely have symptoms except headache, nor do they cause other health conditions. Generally their aesthetic appearance is all that bothers most people.

What are these veins, and why do they stick out so badly? For that matter, what do veins do? What are the treatments to make them not so prominent? Here’s what you should know.

Why Are Veins on Face So Visible - Vein Solutions

What Do Veins Do?

Arteries carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the muscles and tissues of the body. Veins return de-oxygenated blood back to the heart from the muscles, tissues, and extremities. Once in the heart, the blood is pumped into the lungs for re-oxygenation, returned to the heart, and pumped back into the body in a never-ending circle. The veins return blood to the heart by means of valves.

The valves prevent the blood from flowing back into the muscles and tissues, so the blood continues to fight its way upward toward the heart. Deep veins are located next to arteries deep inside the legs. Superficial veins lie just beneath the skin which gives the appearance of spider legs. Blood pools in these veins causing them to bulge.

Why Are Veins Located In The Face?

Blood circulation is important in the face. Otherwise, the eyes, nose, jaws, ears, and other facial parts wouldn’t work. Veins begin at the scalp and forehead, travel down by the eyes, ears, and nose, thence to the jawline and into the jugular vein.

Because these veins are necessarily just beneath the skin, any change in colour in the face is visible. It’s what you see when someone blushes or hears a terrible thing that drains all the colour from the face. It’s also what makes the face colour up from a colossal sneeze.

Why Do They Swell?

Bulging facial veins are often located on the forehead, temples, or on and beside the nose. The aged, whose skin has lost its moisture and elasticity, have thin skin. Genetics plays its part as well.

Reasons these veins swell encompass sun exposure, the hormonal changes during pregnancy, high blood pressure, and any kind of pressure such as a hard sneeze, great gusts of laughter, vigorous exercise, and hard vomiting.

What Are Capillaries?

Capillaries connect arteries and veins. While the arteries carry oxygenated blood throughout the body and the veins carry it back to the heart, the capillaries switch out the oxygen and carry out the carbon dioxide. The capillaries then take this waste product to the liver and kidneys for waste removal. They return the clean blood to the lungs for re-oxygenation and the heart for re-circulation.

Capillaries are about the size of a strand of human hair. Breakages can be caused by any kind of pressure on the chin, nose, and forehead. They can be caused by popping zits, heat on the face in the form of steamy showers, sun damage to the skin, and even rubbing allergy-irritated or crying eyes. Ruptured capillaries are visible beneath the skin.

It’s easy to mistake broken capillaries for bulging facial veins. The capillaries branch out into spider legs, so they’re often called varicose or spider veins. Your doctor can tell you which they are, although broken capillaries form no more problem than enlarged facial veins.

Blue Veins on Face

Now that we know what veins are and what they do, it’s time to address their colour. We’ve all seen elderly ladies with paper-thin skin with blue veins in their foreheads. Some younger ladies get them, but the majority of blue facial veins appear in senior ladies. Why are they blue?

The answer is in the skin and how the light hits it and is returned. Let’s consider the skin first. Translucent or see-through skin is common and inherited. It can also be caused by health conditions. For instance, you see translucent skin in red-heads or those suffering the effects of cancer.

Ageing causes translucent skin. You’ll see it mainly in the face and hands of the elderly. Some people are born without melanin or the pigment that colours skin. Others lose it due to age, some medications, or health conditions.

You’ve noticed that when you cut yourself the blood is dark red. As it’s oxygenated and passed through the heart, blood is a bright cherry red. As it’s returned, it’s de-oxygenated and has carbon dioxide in it. It’s dark red at this point. Once recirculated through the lungs and heart, it returns to being cherry red. So why are veins blue?

It’s about how the veins appear when seen through the skin. When light hits the skin, it’s absorbed and then tossed back out. This happens millions of times in as little as a nano-second. Since blue takes up more room in the colour spectrum, the human eye sees it faster than it sees any other colour.

The deeper the veins, the less they are seen through the skin. The veins just beneath, however, reflect this blue in the light spectrum. This is true despite the colour of the blood running through them.

The brain also has something to do with this perception of blue veins. For example, have you gotten into an argument with someone who sees a blue van when you see a purple van, and it’s the same van? The subtle shades in the colour spectrum might not be processed by the brain, so it only sees a blue van. If the veins in the face are surrounded by a good tan, the brain will pick out the blue in the colour spectrum.

Red Veins

Remember that capillaries are the size of a strand of human hair. Blood pumps through them which can put a strain on them. Remember also that rubbing the face in a cleansing routine, blowing the nose or sneezing hard, hot showers, and other contact can cause these delicate little vessels to burst.

The red colour comes from de-oxygenated blood. As the blood returned to the heart and lungs is denuded of its oxygen, the blood is darker red in colour. When the capillaries burst, this dark red blood is cast into the surrounding tissues. This is why it appears like spider legs.

Treatment Options

We’ve gone over what these blue and red facial veins are, what they do, and why they appear as they do. Can anything be done to improve their appearance? Does this improvement require surgery? Is there a natural means of improving their appearance? Yes, only in severe circumstances, and yes.


This involves injecting glycerine and lidocaine into the bulging veins. The colour will lighten as if you were wearing pantyhose or disappear altogether. The number of veins and their prominence dictate how many treatments you’ll have, but on average you’ll have two to four treatments in an eight week span of time.

Hot baths or showers should be eliminated for the first two days following treatment. Warm showers or baths is recommended. Avoid vigorous exercise for the same time period, although walking is approved. Do not take aspirin or ibuprofen for 24 hours following treatment.

Lasers And Intense Pulsed Light Therapies

The only difference between these vein solutions is the depth to which the light or laser goes. The single frequency light zeroes in on the vein in question and reduces its size. It’s then reabsorbed back into the face, leaving the person with clearer skin. The skin isn’t damaged. The same class of laser is used on spider veins.


In severe cases of bulging veins, a surgeon will make a tiny incision. He’ll either tie off the vein or remove it altogether. Surgery is usually the last resort after everything else has failed.

Natural Means Of Vein Treatment

Lifestyle changes in addition to natural methods of vein treatment are good ways to treat the problem without medical intervention. Exercise to keep the blood moving smoothly throughout the body. It’s when the body is inactive that blood pools in the veins causing them to bulge.

An anti-inflammatory diet helps to prevent blue and red veins as well as healing them. The typical Western diet consists of processed foods, trans fats, refined white sugar, and alcohols. These equal damaged arteries, low blood circulation, high blood pressure, and weight problems. All these contribute to bulging blue veins.

High fibre foods such as vegetables with skins on, fresh fruits, and whole grains like oats are high in fibre. This keeps the heart healthy and pumping blood normally.

Foods high in antioxidants like berries, citrus fruits, and green vegetables keep the veins strong, improve the health of the arteries, and decrease inflammation. Especially consume Vitamin E, because it fights blood clots and acts as a natural blood thinner.

Eat foods high in magnesium to prevent blood from pooling in the veins and blood pressure troubles. Bananas, sweet potatoes, avocados, and leafy greens provide needed potassium and magnesium.

A lot of studies have gone into essential oils and their many benefits to the human body. Essential oils are the substance inside every plant that gives it the fragrance and taste specific to that plant. The essential oils are extracted and then used for a variety of things from flavouring foods to aromatherapy to healing health conditions. They even have a beneficial effect on bulging veins and spider veins.

For example, cypress essential oil improves blood circulation which reduces varicose veins. It’s safe to rub right into the veins in question.

Horse chestnut seed extract or HCSE is known for reducing vein symptoms like swelling and itching. It is also known for preventing the bursting of capillaries with their red spider legs.

The same is true of Sea Pine essential oil, Grape vine essential oil, and Yarrow essential oil. All are safe to rub into the veins in question.


You can do a few things to prevent these bulging blue veins and red spider legs from appearing on your face. The first is to get up and move. Even gentle exercise gets your blood moving back toward the heart which lessens the stress on veins. If nothing else, get outside and walk around the block.

Eat a healthy diet that includes anti-inflammatory foods. Spicy foods stimulate the blood to better circulation. Add lots of antioxidants for heart health and the health of the veins.

Bathe in only warm water instead of steaming hot water. Gently rub cleansers into the face instead of scrubbing. When you wipe your face of tears or sweat, don’t wipe. Blot. It’s gentler. Don’t use abrasive cleansers on the face. Use gentle creams that do the same job.

If these preventive measures fail to correct the problem, then you’ll need a doctor’s advice. We detailed above the medical solutions to the problem. Once the problem is corrected, keep up these preventive measures so another vein won’t bulge or redden.

Final Thoughts

It’s important to understand that bulging blue veins and red spider veins are cosmetic in nature. Only if they cause headaches or another physical symptom do they need to be medically investigated.

Varicose veins and spider veins generally appear in seniors and in women more than in men. There are ways to minimise the appearance of bulging blue veins and spider veins without treatment.


Related Articles