We are often asked to treat patients with varicose veins and thread veins and can do this very successfully.
However there are some cases either where varicose veins, or thread vein treatment is not completely successful or where there are so many veins to treat that it takes a very long time to get an improvement.
For larger varicose veins where the veins are blue and bulging on the skin there is little that can be done other than some form of surgical treatment, which is usually very successful and quite quick.
For the thread or spider veins however, the treatment process can take a long time especially if the patient has a lot of veins to deal with. The paradox is that when treating spider or thread veins the veins can often look worse before they look better. The marks from treatments, such as injection sclerotherapy, can last several months in some cases.
During this time ladies like to know how they can cover up their legs with camouflage or concealer to improve the appearance when out in public.
The obvious thing is for patients to wear long skirts or trousers – in fact it is a fair bet that ladies who wear trousers in warm weather probably have a vein problem of some degree! However there are times when clothing isn’t suitable and a more sophisticated concealment method is required.
Fortunately there are some quite simple methods which can achieve this. Application of a layer of fake tan can work quite well for short periods of time – for example if the patient is attending a specific social function during the course of veins treatment and needs to cover up the marks after surgery or sclerotherapy for a short period of time. Fake tan is quite cheap and readily accessible in most High Street beauty parlours. The downside is that the skin tends to look a little unnatural and the effects do not last long. However for short-term use it can be effective.
For longer term use there are specific cosmetics which can be used at home by patients when they are going out with bare legs. Most of these cosmetics are not widely available in the High Street shops and are the type used by professional make – up artists. Usually they are water-resistant and don’t rub off on clothing. A lot of these types of specialist cosmetics have been developed to hide serious skin blemishes such as extensive birthmarks on faces or in patients who have major medical disfigurements after serious burns for example, but they work just as well on concealing thread veins !
The British Association of Skin Camouflage has a good website with more information about palate based creams that can be tailored to an individual skin tone to conceal specific blemishes in public.
Most of the ‘pallette cosmetics’ do require a certain amount of practice to get the correct combination of colours to match the individual skin tone and a consultation with a specialist camouflage artist can also be helpful as a way of learning how to get the right foundation layer to apply to the skin. With a little practice most patients can get a good result after applying these specialist make ups themselves until the treatment marks have worn off and the legs look better without make up.
This post was written by Eddie Chaloner, a Consultant Vascular Surgeon who runs a specialist vein clinic in London called Radiance Health. Radiance specialises in minimally invasive treatments of varicose veins, thread veins, spider veins, and leg ulceration.