You’ve seen them advertised online, you’ve passed them in the cosmetics aisle of your grocery store. You may have even purchased them in an attempt to remove your varicose and spider veins at home, but the truth is that essential oils and vein creams are simply not effective in producing long-term results or in removing visible veins.How then, and why, are they so popular among people looking for relief from varicose and spider veins?
Dr. Mason Mandy, M.D., weighed in on the discussion. Metro Vein Centers’ Chief Medical Officer says the majority of patients he sees in his New York vein clinic have tried at least one form of at-home varicose vein removal before coming in for a medical evaluation with his team of vein care specialists.“When we first meet with our patients, many of them express their frustrations with vein creams and all-natural vein remedies. They are often disappointed in the lack of results after having spent hundreds of dollars on quick-fixes they read about online. What seems to bring most patients into our professional vein treatment clinic is their search for a long-term solution they can’t find on a shelf.”
The Reason Vein Creams and Oils Don’t Work
The reason over-the-counter options are not effective is that varicose and spider veins are actually a medical issue, not just a superficial cosmetic concern. Dr. Mandy explains, “varicose veins form as a result of an underlying medical condition known as chronic venous insufficiency. This is a disease where the veins stop working properly and blood is pushed to the surface, causing the visible symptoms patients are dissatisfied with, such as bulging, twisted, or web-like veins. To really treat the problem permanently, we must treat the root cause under the surface, which oils and creams can’t do.”
The Scams You’ll See For Sale
Some of the top creams and oils we’ve seen on the market claim massive success and improbable results. We’ve got the facts: here’s why each one of them won’t work.
· Hyaluronic acid creams: Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, locking water to the skin. This is flat-out misleading when it comes to vein health, as a vein cannot be removed or subdued by hydrating the skin.
· “Anti-inflammatory” essential oils: Cypress, peppermint, and rosemary oils claim to be anti-inflammatory, but rubbing them on your skin will not reduce inflammation inside of your veins. (Fun Fact: anti-inflammatories can only work if they penetrate through to deep layers of the skin; this is why most anti-inflammatory medicine is taken orally instead of applied to the skin—topical application is an inefficient and unreliable way to medicate)
· Lavender oil: Soothes the senses and, somehow, also your painful veins through power of mind. Aromatherapy is best saved for a relaxing bath. It will not resolve your varicose veins or any other symptom of vein disease.
· Tea tree oil: As an astringent, it’s known to dry out the skin, which causes a tightening sensation. Paired with antibacterial properties, this makes diluted tea tree oil popular for acne and wound care. However, those properties are not able to reach the vein wall to tighten any bulging or twisted varicose veins. Undiluted tea tree oil, like many other undiluted essential oils, can cause contact dermatitis, scaling, excessive dryness, redness, itching, hives, and swelling.
· Collagen creams: Collagen molecules are too big to be absorbed by your skin, so the collagen in your cream can’t even breach the first layer of your skin, let alone reach your veins to strengthen vein walls.
Looking For Language Loopholes
The marketing behind at-home vein removal products can be incredibly evasive; using terms like FDA-listed where they can’t claim to be FDA-approved, touting all-natural remedies and chemical-free formulas to avoid addressing a lack of active ingredients. What they aren’t saying is often more significant than the misleading buzzwords used on their product labels. Be wary of the language used on non-medical websites: if the source is not medical, there are certain claims they cannot legally make. Keep your eyes out for the following common gimmicks and misleading marketing hacks.
· Fine print or hidden disclaimers: Check the bottom of sales pages or the last line of captioned videos. You will likely find disclaimers that reveal the source is “not claiming to diagnose, treat, or cure” any condition, and that their content or product should not be taken as medical advice or medicine. This often directly contradicts their product claims.
· Lack of FDA-approvals: This is a great indicator that a product is not proven to work, and has not been approved as a safe alternative to medical treatment.
· Blood Talk: Phrases such as “prevents blood from becoming stagnant” and “keeps blood from pooling” are clever loopholes used by non-medical sources to imply a product will remove blood clots without literally saying so; they cannot legally make this claim, as no topical treatment can penetrate the vein to clear blockages.
· Application Directions: Many vein firming creams and essential oils claim to improve circulation enough to fade, reduce, or prevent varicose veins, but require a massage to “see best results.” This massage is likely the only source of any improvements to circulation, and results will be temporary at best.
· No Explanations: Most at-home vein removal products will list benefits without explaining how or why they help; products claiming to treat signs of aging and visible veins from home will rarely go into detail about the path to results. Our board-certified vein doctors are happy to walk you start-to-finish through each treatment option available in our vein clinics.
· All Natural Remedies for Varicose Veins: Solutions that are non-medical or not FDA-approved, meaning something you wouldn’t find in a vein clinic or doctor’s office, are often labeled “all natural” instead. Check for active ingredients when you see this; odds are you won’t find any.
· Vague or Broad Language: Vein health is a specific medical concern. Some oils on the market claim to “fix” a lot of cosmetic problems or “alleviate burdensome symptoms” without specifying what symptoms or visible issues the product remedies, just that it will fix varicose veins from home. Unspecified, sweeping claims sound too good to be true, because they usually are.
The truth of the matter is that none of these vein-away creams or oils are going to be able to get to the root of the problem, because the problem is not on the surface of the skin. The reason we see bulging varicose veins or discolored spider veins is because of an underlying issue deep within the body’s tissue. While visible veins may seem like a skin issue, veins exist below the skin’s surface. Luckily, varicose veins are highly treatable using state-of-the-art, minimally invasive technology in a vein clinic.
So, how do I treat varicose and spider veins?
Vein health is a medical issue. While these more visible concerns may cause cosmetic insecurity and dissatisfaction, the symptoms we don’t see are just as important as those we do. Essential oil isn’t going to seep that deep. The best solution for venous insufficiencies or vein disease is to treat them at the root. That’s why we use state-of-the-art treatments like laser therapy, radiofrequency ablation, and sclerotherapy in our clinics. Medical injectables and lasers can safely and easily penetrate to where the issue lies.
In Dr. Mandy’s Manhattan vein clinic, he’s heard it all. From removing varicose veins with deep tissue massages, using lavender oil to soothe, all the way to firming vein cream that tightens veins from the outside-in, the misleading marketing targeting his patients is a constant topic of discussion.
“The great thing about seeing a new patient in our clinic, no matter how frustrated they’ve become with however many DIY vein removal creams they have tried, is that we get to offer them a safe, effective solution. Our vein treatments are 15 minutes or less, minimally invasive, and have little-to-no downtime following procedures. We can provide patients with the instant-gratification they’ve been looking for with vein care essential oils, and better yet, their health is improving as well. We can treat the cosmetic as well as the medical issues behind vein disease.”
Even better, due to the medical causes of vein disease, Metro Vein Centers accepts over 200+ insurance plans when providing care for their patients. “It’s far more accessible than people may realize. Most of our procedures are covered by insurance, including Medicaid and Medicare.”
We’re happy to offer a variety of FDA-approved treatment for varicose veins at each of our convenient locations across New York, New Jersey, Michigan, and Connecticut. Our team of board-certified vein specialists offer free evaluations and patient-focused care to help you get to the root of what’s causing your vein disease. Using ultrasound-guided investigation, laser therapy, radiofrequency treatment, sclerotherapy, microphlebectomy, and detailed aftercare, we’ll have you in and out and back to healthy, smooth legs in 15-30 minutes or less. We’ll work with you to create a custom treatment plan, no gimmicks, to deliver the results vein creams and oils can never produce.
Schedule your initial evaluation here, and our vein specialists will work with you to get you looking and feeling better right away. We look forward to meeting you!
Trusted insight from the nationally accredited, board-certified vein doctors at Metro Vein Centers.