Spider naevi represent swollen blood vessels also known as telangiectasia under the surface of the skin. They are often found on children’s faces and more common in women. Many pregnant women, or women using hormonal contraception, have spider angiomas, due to high estrogen levels in their blood
The central red dot is the dilated arteriole and the red “spider legs” are small veins carrying away the freely flowing blood. If momentary pressure is applied, it is possible to see the emptied veins refilling from the centre
Dr Clayton uses laser to treat these lesions with excellent outcomes.
A vascular laser such as the pulsed dye laser or KTP laser ( Dr Clayton uses V-Beam) can target the blood in the central small artery, causing it to shrink.
Laser treatment may not be available on the NHS.
These treatments may hurt a little but do not usually need any local anaesthetic. They may leave a small permanent scar like a dent in the skin, which is less common after laser treatment than after electrodissication. About a third of spider naevi come back after treatment.
Cosmetic camouflage can be useful if there are many spider naevi which are causing embarrassment. Camouflage is a type of special make-up, which is matched to the colour of the person’s skin and which is water resistant.