These broken capillaries, properly named telangiectasias, or spider veins, are small red, blue or purple web-like veins (less than 2mm in diameter, flat or raised) on the surface of the skin. Though smaller than most varicose veins, spider veins are often darker and more noticeable. This is because these veins are located just below the surface of the skin. They often occur in association with larger reticular veins (2-6 mm in diameter) that are blue-green in color and can often be seen with additional lighting.
More common in women, spider and reticular veins may be triggered by pregnancy or hormonal variations and sometimes result in itching, restless leg, leg aches and throbbing. Non-symptomatic spider veins may be found on the face and chest as well as the legs. Although surface veins are considered by some to be a cosmetic problem, they can also be just as symptomatic as classic varicose veins.