You’re So Vein: Tips for Great-Looking Gams

by Kezia on June 3, 2008

I’m not one to disparage my pale skin. For me, alabaster trumps tawny any day. While I appreciate and admire the beauty of other hues and colors, I don’t covet them. Tanning isn’t an option and my experiences with all varieties of self-tanners have been complete wastes of money and time. (After a panic-attack inducing Mystic tan session I looked like a jaundiced Oompa Loompa.)

When it’s warm, I like to wear dresses and sandals. I’m big on self-acceptance, but veiny legs and feet bum me out. Unless you’re genetically blessed, pale skin often means spider veins: red, purple and blue wispy blood vessels. If you’re like me, and spider veins grace your legs and feet, blame your parents. According to Seth Matarasso, clinical professor of dermatology at UCSF, “90 percentish of unsightly blood vessels are genetic.” Source MSNBC.

So, what can you do?
To prevent more visible veins from forming, elevate your feet when possible and wear, ahem, support stockings. I googled “support stockings,” expecting to find bandage-like, orthopedic leg wear. Instead I discovered, which offers an impressive assortment of “fashionable solutions for truly healthy legs.”

Hide ‘em
Try masking veins with a shimmering lotion; while they won’t hide everything, they have a nice diffusing effect. I like Jergens Soft Shimmer Moisturizer (just $4.39 on or Ultima II Glowtion ($8.99 on ebay). If you’re adept with self-tanner, a gradual one can help minimize color contrast.

Zap ‘em
Don’t be fooled, there are no creams, lotions or serums that treat spider veins. If you and your leg veins simply can’t co-exist, consider sclerotherapy. It’s a fairly painless procedure in which a dermatologist injects a solution into a blood vessel until it closes down. Results vary and last 3-4 years. I had sclerotherapy for a cluster of veins on my right calf about 4 years ago. I’m focusing on debt reduction, but would do it again if I had the cash. Learn more about sclerotherapy.

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missmilki June 3, 2008 at 3:51 am

I’m ghostly white and have exactly the same problem…well, the veins haven’t really developed yet they’re just starting! but I do have oddly mottled blueish legs especially if it starts to get cold! I hate fake tan…I think its all those people with streaky orange legs that turn me off…but I do use that Johnson’s summer lotion in light to medium (gradual tan…Dove do one too) just to take the blue away…mostly just for special occassions cos I’m lazy! Its great stuff, if you’re careful with it it doesn’t streak and it isn’t really a noticeable tan but it takes the scariness away!!!

jennine June 3, 2008 at 4:03 am

oh my… i have viens, and my skin tends to be more tawny than alabaster…so what’s my excuse???

well, my mom got the sclerotherapy a few years back, she says it works great. i’m not sure if i’m ready for that, so, i’ll have to stick to stockings as shimmer lotion!

Kezia June 3, 2008 at 8:46 am

oh, i didn’t mean to imply that tawny limbs are anything short of gorgeous. of course anyone can be cursed with spider veins, they just tend to show up more/stand out on pale skin.

Rachel June 3, 2008 at 12:04 pm

I wasn’t a huge fan of self tanner until I met Bare Escentuals. It comes out of the bottle in a strange green-ish brown color that helps in the application process. It takes about a day to develop and is pretty tame, sheer color. No streaky orange marks…

Emily June 3, 2008 at 4:30 pm

what a cute, creative play on words…carly simon’s a fav of mine and i’m mildly obsessed with fake tanning (i’m much opposed to skin cancer and wrinkles).

kezia June 3, 2008 at 11:18 pm

hmmm…i do like bare escentuals…maybe i’ll give self-tanner one more change.

Charlotte June 4, 2008 at 4:33 am

If the problem is not serious enough to go sclerotherapy then I bet you can feel free to show your legs anytime you want! If you feel more comfy with the tights go wear them but it is summertime and you should show your legs, with or without veins!

Francis Girard June 4, 2008 at 5:22 am

im super pale - even my english rose standards, im scared of fake tan and im yet to get veins (at 30) so its not too bad. i do find i am envious of my boyfs sth american tan at times esp in summer. xf

Cammila June 4, 2008 at 11:51 am

I definitely relate to you on this one! I’m so pale, a make-up artist once incredulously mixed shade after shade trying to make a concealer that would match my skin, apparently shocked that there’s no yellow component to my coloring.

Sometimes I use Sally Hansen’s Airbrush Legs in Light Glow. Applied over moisturizer, it’s basically just makeup for your legs. It offers a little more coverage than shimmer moisturizer, it doesn’t rub off on things once it’s set, and it washes off in the shower.

Kezia June 4, 2008 at 4:12 pm

I hear you, charlotte. I’m anti body shame and will absolutely wear summertime dresses- in all my veiny glory. :-)

Kezia June 4, 2008 at 4:13 pm

thanks for all the wonderful comments & tips, lassies. you rock!

sabina June 9, 2008 at 5:59 am

avon has a spider vein cream - I find it somewhat works, although I am not very regular with application. I also eat the food supplement rutin, to stop new spider veins from forming. hope this will help someone. x

Claire June 12, 2008 at 4:02 am

I had a course of sclerotherapy last November and the veins are already starting to come back! (a cluster at the back of each knee) It’s pretty expensive and if there’s an underlying problem they will return. Can’t afford to have it done again but the most uncomfortable part was being wrapped up in sticky bandages all over your legs for six hours after each session. A light professional spray tan (with the colour custom mixed) for special occasions is the only way for me! Wish I didn’t care but I’ve had too many “ugh, what is that on your leg?” charming comments…

wib August 16, 2008 at 7:25 am

MAC makes an amazing prod called Skinsheen Leg spray… gorgeous! not a tanner, just a nice veil of color and subtle sheen.

Kezia August 17, 2008 at 7:57 pm

Oooh! I’ve heard of the Skinsheen spray from MAC. I’m dying to try it!

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