Does Varicose Vein Cream Work for Treating Varicose Veins & Spider Veins?

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Varicose Vein Creams: The Truth About Whether They Work?

Do Varicose Vein Creams Work? 

Millions of people suffer from varicose veins. These twisted, enlarged veins are usually found on the legs and can cause pain, discomfort, and are often very unsightly to say the least. When the look bothers you more than the symptoms, it is not surprising that many, like yourself, are looking for effective remedies for their varicose veins. They turn to creams or ointments as they are often advertised on magazines, online and even on the television.

The question is: Do creams work to treat varicose veins or even spider veins? This blog post will explore the science behind varicose veins, the claims that creams make, and the evidence to support their effectiveness

varicose vein cream

Why do we get varicose veins?

It’s crucial to know the causes and mechanisms behind chronic venous (vein) disease before we can assess the effectiveness of creams. When the opening, referred to valves in these veins are damaged or weakened, blood pools within them and pressure increases in the veins themself. This point is very important as the valves within the veins are already damaged, giving rise to these gnarly looking varicose veins. The veins become twisted, enlarged, bulge and it is important to note that these are abnormal veins.

Some of the myths of varicose vein creams:

Topical creams for varicose venous disease promise many benefits. These include reducing pain, reducing the size and prominence and improving overall vein health. The creams usually contain a mixture of active ingredients such as horse chestnut seed, troxerutin, flavonoids and vitamin K. Most of them are plant based. The idea is that these ingredients help strengthen blood vessels, reduce inflammation and ultimately improve blood circulation, therefore improving symptoms. In theory this may seem very promising.

The Evidence for effectiveness of varicose vein creams

Scientific studies are necessary to reach reliable conclusions. How the science translates to results is based on how many individuals can be studied within a standardized group. While personal experiences and anecdotal evidence may give some insight into the effectiveness of creams for varicose veins, they cannot be relied upon. The research conducted on the topical treatment of varicose veins is very limited and has produced mixed results.

Some studies show a modest improvement of symptoms after topical creams, including reduced pain and swelling. These studies are often limited by small sample sizes, short study durations and the lack of control groups. It is therefore difficult to draw any definitive conclusions. The quality and formulation can also vary between creams, making it difficult to compare the results of different studies. 

Placebo Effect:

When evaluating the effectiveness of creams to treat varicose veins, it’s important that you consider the possible influence of the placebo. The placebo is when performing an act or consuming or using  a substance with the main benefit being psychological rather than physiological. Applying a cream to the affected area and massaging can temporarily relieve symptoms and give a feeling of control. Even though it may not cause any changes to the underlying tissue. The psychological effect may cause individuals to believe that their symptoms have improved, even though the active ingredients in the cream are having little or no effect.

Symptom Management vs. Vein Treatment:

It is important to distinguish between creams that reduce the symptoms of varicose veins and medical treatments which treat the varicose veins in the first place. Laser treatments and sclerotherapy are more effective and often fix the problem of varicose veins for good. Creams tend to be more symptomatic, offering temporary relief, rather than treating the underlying problem.

The evidence on whether creams work to treat varicose veins is not conclusive. Although creams may temporarily relieve symptoms for some people, there is no consistent scientific evidence that supports their long-term efficacy. You should manage your expectations and think of creams as an additional measure to relieve symptoms, not a solution for varicose venous.

We’ll explore the different aspects of using creams to treat varicose veins.

Active Ingredients and Mechanisms of Common Varicose Vein Creams

Many creams are formulated with a mixture of active ingredients which have therapeutic effects. Herbal extracts are often found in creams for varicose legs. These include witch hazel, arnica and gotu kola. These herbs may have anti-inflammatory and blood circulation promoting properties, which could reduce swelling and discomfort.

Horse Chestnut Extract: Horse Chestnut seed extract is widely used in creams to treat varicose venous. It contains a substance called aescin which, according to some, improves the tone of blood vessel walls, reduces inflammation and increases blood flow.

Troxerutin (bioflavonoid): Troxerutin, a bioflavonoid, is commonly included in creams for varicose venous. It may strengthen blood vessel walls and reduce capillary permeability, as well as provide antioxidant effects. This could help alleviate symptoms of varicose venous.

Vitamin K: Vitamin K plays a role in blood clotting. Vitamin K is claimed to help reduce the appearance of varicose veils by reducing the visibility of broken blood vessels. The scientific evidence to support this claim is very limited.

Possible side effects:

Although creams to treat varicose veins are generally safe to use topically, it’s important to be aware of any possible side effects and follow the instructions given by the manufacturer. Certain ingredients may cause skin irritation, redness or allergic reactions in some individuals. Before applying the cream on a larger surface area, it is best to do a patch-test. If any adverse reactions are experienced, the cream should be discontinued.

Limitations on Creams

a) Limited penetration: Creams have a limited ability to penetrate deep enough into the skin to reach affected veins. Creams that target varicose veins, which are found beneath the surface skin, may not be effective.

b) As previously mentioned, there is a lack of scientific consensus regarding the effectiveness and safety of creams to treat varicose venous. It is difficult to make definitive conclusions regarding their efficacy due to the lack of large-scale, well-designed clinical trials.

c) Complexity of Varicose Venous Disease: Varicose veins are caused by a variety of factors including genetics and age. Hormonal changes can also be a factor. Creams can provide some symptomatic relief but are unlikely to treat the underlying causes.

Alternative Treatment Options to Creams

While varicose vein creams may help to relieve some symptoms of pain and swelling for some people, there are alternative tried and tested treatments that can permanently resolve both the pain and discomfort of varicose veins, as well as significantly reduce the appearance of the disfigured veins under your skin.  

Endovenous Ablation (EVLA). 

Endovenous ablation is a minimally invasive laser procedure that closes off the vein affected from the inside. This is an effective option for treating larger varicose veils.

Radiofrequency Ablation

This minimally-invasive procedure uses radiofrequency energy and heat to seal off the affected veins. This method is used to treat larger varicose veins and involves inserting an ultra-thin catheter into the vein.

Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy, also known as sclerosing therapy, is a medical procedure that treats varicose venous. During the procedure, a sclerosing agent is injected into the affected veins. This causes them to collapse, and then gradually fade. Sclerotherapy works well for spider and varicose smaller veins.

You can find a full list of proven and effective treatments as well as other considerations related to these treatments such as time involved, time to heal and whether you can claim medicare on the treatments

Modifications to your lifestyle  

Making lifestyle changes can help manage varicose venous disease in addition to creams. Lifestyle changes can include:

    • Regular Exercise – Walking, Swimming, or Cycling can improve blood circulation, muscle tone and reduce the severity of varicose veins.
    • Weight management – Losing weight and maintaining a healthy body weight can help relieve pressure on veins. This may prevent the development of varicose venous.
    • Leg Elevation – Elevating your legs for short periods of time above heart level during the day will help to reduce swelling and improve the blood flow.

Compression stockings 

 
Consult a healthcare professional such as a Phlebologist  to get an accurate diagnosis. You can also discuss treatment options depending on the severity of your varicose veins. Here at Doctor Vein, we can assess your situation and determine the best course of action based on your medical history, your symptoms and your expectations.
 
 

What about spider veins and creams? 

Spider veins (also known as telangiectasias) are damaged veins that appear as blue, red or purple just under the skin’s surface. They resemble spiderwebs  and can be extensive and unsightly.

 

can spider veins be helped by creams?
While “spider veins” don’t usually come with painful symptoms, people do prefer to treat them to reduce the visibility on their skin. 
 
Similar to varicose veins, creams have limited effect on spider veins. If you are interested in reducing or removing the appearance of spider veins, you should consider medical treatments such as Direct Vision Sclerotherapy or Facial Laser Treatments after consulting your Vein specialist or  Phlebologist
 

Most common creams available and on the market in Australia

Here are some commonly mentioned creams for varicose veins in general, please note we do not recommend or endorse any of these only list them as a helpful research tool:
    • Venorex
    • Varicose Veins Control Cream
    • Reviva Labs Varicose Vein Lotion
    • Medix 5.5 Varicose Vein Cream
    • Botanic Hearth Varicose Vein Defense Cream
    • VeinityRX Varicose Vein Cream
    • Veinlite Cream
    • Dr. Venessa’s Formulas Vein-Maxx Cream
    • Reshape + Vein Fix Varicose Vein Cream
    • Herb Pharm Vein Health Cream

Fastest and surest way to get rid of Varicose veins 

A combination of diet, exercise and treament is fastest and surest way to do away with your gnarly varicose veins. 
 
Possible medical treatments are list below but which one best suits your condition will need to be discussed with your doctor, as well as fully considering the risks and possible side effects.
 

Interested in finding out more to treat your varicose and spider veins? 

You can talk with our friendly staff or read our comprehensive FAQ sheet with all your questions on what is involved in treatment. 

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