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Price Awareness: Thread vein treatment

By Georgia Seago
13th May 2022

Welcome to the second instalment of Price Awareness – our new series where we break down the actual cost of tweakments so you can figure out which options are best for you.

Thread veins – those annoying little red lines that tend to congregate around the nose and cheeks – are often referred to as ‘spider veins’ or ‘broken veins’, because they look as though your veins are leaking blood. They’re one of the common and unwelcome marks that age bestows upon us, but they’re very easily treatable. Here are the most effective options and what they’ll set you back.

A note – some IPL and laser systems are not suitable for dark skin tones, so if this is you, make sure you find a practitioner who has solid experience in different options for thread veins on dark skins.

What influences the cost of thread vein treatment?

As with any tweakment, several factors affect the price. For thread vein treatment, these will be:

  • Treatment area – How widespread are your thread veins, and are they on the face, body or both?
  • Practitioner’s device of choice  If you end up going for laser or IPL treatment to eliminate your thread veins, the price of treatment will be affected by the device your practitioner uses, and they’re not cheap – especially the highest-spec models. Whether they’ve bought it outright or are leasing it, expect your practitioner to pass on some of that cost to you.
  • Practitioner’s experience  A practitioner who specialises in vein treatment or solely performs procedures in this area of medicine is likely to charge more for their expertise than an all-round aesthetic practitioner who has other streams of income from multiple treatments. In most cases, clearing thread veins tends to be straightforward, so any practitioner listed on our site who regularly works with laser, IPL or the other technologies listed below, should be just fine.
  • Location  Those of us in the capital will always pay a premium on just about anything, tweakments included. If you live somewhere where the cost of living is generally lower, the price of tweakments is likely to be lower, too.
  • How many treatments you’ll need  With a top-notch device, many cases of thread veins will only need one round of zapping, though additional sessions may be required if the kit isn’t as powerful, or if you have a great many thread veins. If you can, it’s probably worth paying for treatment with one of the newer, more powerful devices.
  • If the veins come back – Even if they can be cleared in one go, it’s possible that fresh thread veins might pop up in the same area (the specific veins that have been zapped won’t come back), especially if you’re prone to them. So bear in mind that you might have to repeat the treatment in the future.

What are the options for thread vein treatment, and what do they cost?

  • IPL – Delivers flashes of intense pulsed light to break up the red haemoglobin pigment in the thread veins so that your body can disperse it. Slightly ouch-y but the discomfort is short-lived: £150-£195
  • Laser – Works similarly to IPL but uses a different form of light. Concentrated beams of light are fired, using one specific wavelength, to shatter the pigment and the body gradually gets rid of it. Can be pretty painful but it’s fine with anaesthetic cream: £150-300
  • Microwave treatment – Also called microcoagulation. A microwave current is passed through the thread vein, delivering heat energy which forces it to close up and disappear almost immediately: £75-£250
  • Electrolysis – A fine needle probe is inserted into the thread veins and sends a pulse of electricity into them, which cauterises them. It can clear up to 60-80 per cent of thread veins and you can find a specialist through the British Institute and Association of Electrolysis: £50-£150
  • Sclerotherapy – Involves injecting a salt-based solution into the thread vein to irritate the lining and cause it to collapse. More suitable for thread veins on the body than the face because there’s a risk of inadvertent injection into important facial vessels that can lead to serious complications. If you want to be extra sure you’re in good hands, look for someone who belongs to the British Association of Sclerotherapists: from £250

With all these factors considered, expect to pay at least £150 to have your thread veins treated. The more widespread your thread veins, the more it’ll cost, and if you’re particularly prone to developing them, you’ll likely have to pay again here and there.

You can find out everything you need to know about thread veins in our in-depth factsheet, downloadable for free here.

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