But did you realize that they're also common on the face? They range in obviousness from visible veins to a slight pink flush, and often you can't see them, but they add a red cast to the face and can make other pigmentation, like brown sunspots or red acne scars, look darker.
"Facial spider veins are tiny blood vessels -- also known as capillaries -- that get swollen and become visible through the surface of the skin. They're also commonly called 'broken' capillaries, although they're not actually broken -- just enlarged," says LA dermatologist Dr. Jessica Wu.
While triggers range from sun exposure to pregnancy and rosacea, some folks just have the unlucky genetic card and are prone to get them regardless of their lifestyle.
"Facial spider veins can be caused by a number of things, but the most common is excess sun exposure -- which causes opening and dilating of the blood vessels and simultaneously weakens and damages collagen so veins lose the ability to shrink back down to the normal size that is invisible to the naked eye," says Dr. David Bank, director of The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic and Laser Surgery in New York.
Today, the most effective treatment for patients bothered by troublesome facial spider veins can be found in the dermatologist's office.
"Smaller facial veins can be treated with IPL laser, which also reduces overall redness and improves the texture of your skin. Larger individual veins can be treated with the V-Beam or Diolite lasers," advises Dr. Wu.
The drawback? Laser treatments are expensive and not covered by insurance. They can range anywhere from $200 to $500 a session, depending on how much area you're having treated, as well as what part of the country you live in.
Enter Bremenn -- the company made famous for quick-fix treatments like Hylexin undereye circle cream, Instant Forehead Smoother, Boob Job in a Box and Butt Lift in a Box -- and their new Facial Spider Vein Cream, the first of it's kind, which the brand claims will improve the appearance of veins with plant extracts of marigold, licorice, horse chestnut and butcher's broom that all act as natural anti-inflammatories.
And surprisingly, the company says they happened upon the formula by mistake.
"We had been looking for a spider vein formula for the legs for years, and one of our researchers found evidence of a very effective formula for spider veins. But it only worked on facial spider veins, which, it turns out, are physiologically different from the spider veins on your legs. She was disappointed, but we were ecstatic!" says Gina Daines, marketing director for Bremenn Research Labs.
Bremenn immediately went to work testing their new formula on patients looking to improve facial spider veins.
"We've seen clinical results after using this cream twice a day for two weeks. The improvement is 21 percent better in that short amount of time," head research scientist Dr. Amy Heaton tells StyleList.
And while the cream was created to be a spider vein spot treatment, Dr. Heaton says that patients with redness associated with conditions like rosacea can apply the lotion all over the face to tone down redness as well.
But we wondered; does science really support the claim that this cream could potentially minimize facial spider veins?
StyleList asked Dr. Bank and Dr. Wu for their expert dermatology opinions.
"These active ingredients may possibly have some collagen-stimulating effects that could support the structure intensity of blood vessel walls, and theoretically over an extended period of time rebuild some of the damaged collagen which may diminish the appearance of spider veins. However, without seeing scientific proof demonstrating its effectiveness, it's hard to say how effective this product really is," says Dr. Bank.
Dr. Wu also considers the product's claims with caution.
"A cream that contains anti-inflammatory ingredients could potentially reduce excessive blood flow to the affected areas, making facial spider veins less obvious. This is the rationale behind some rosacea creams. However, this would only work for very small veins. Once veins are dark red or purple -- or have been there for several months or longer -- they usually require laser to make them less obvious," says Dr. Wu.
Sounds like the only way to find out if this one works is to play guinea pig. We're so curious that we'll be trying this one out ourselves, and reporting our results in a couple of weeks!
But before you start smoothing vat-like amounts over those pesky spider veins on your legs, take note that the cream won't be nearly as effective in that area. Leg spider veins linger far deeper and are caused by pressure that stops circulation -- like repeatedly crossing your legs for long periods of time. On the other hand, facial spider veins are much smaller, closer to the skin's surface and easier to treat -- as they're caused by inflammatory conditions like acne, rosacea and post-sun exposure.
The cream costs $79, and can be found at Sephora, Bloomingdales, Ulta and Macy's, as well as online.
While the price may seem steep, it's still a fraction of the cost of the multiple-hundred-dollar laser treatments at the dermatologist's office, which was the only other option available for facial spider veins before this product.
But rest easy. As much as those little spider veins on your face may bother you, Dr. Heaton has a most interesting observation about them after working on the cream development.
"People never notice spider veins on each other, but they'll obsess over their own in front of a magnified mirror. Chances are, no one knows about yours."