Sometimes being a woman is just plain hard.
It just kind of seems like we get the short end of the stick on every deal. Having to bear life, menstruate every month, and carry around heavy boobs, which come with their own slew of problems. The tenderness and pain around your period isn't great, and the sagging, stretch marks, and those pesky blue, varicose, or spider veins that just decide to show up one day can take some getting used to.
But don't get me wrong, all of these features showing up on your breasts are very common — even the veins. But if it's something that is really bothersome to you, there are plenty of ways to treat and prevent them.
That's why we spoke with some experts in dermatology and vein treatment to get you the inside scoop on how to get rid of the appearance of breast veins.
What Causes Boob Veins?
Veins can appear on women's breasts for a multitude of reasons. "Pregnancy, genetics, menstruation, lactation, and oral contraceptives can all result in increased blood volume and enlarged breasts with more visible veins," Dr. Shereene Idriss, a board-certified dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York City, tells InStyle. "Other factors can also include sun damage, aging skin, breast augmentation, and, in some cases, breast cancer too."
According to Dr. Jennifer MacGregor, another board-certified dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology, the reason that trauma and surgery can cause visible veins is because it "stimulates extra blood vessel development as a part of the healing (and scarring) process." She adds that scarring and stretch marks can also be a result of the trauma and surgery.
How Can I Prevent Visible Veins From Developing on My Chest?
While there is no guarantee of completely preventing veins from forming, there are a few ways to be proactive. Both Dr. Idriss and Dr. MacGregor say that sun damage can lead to the development of veins and stress the importance of applying sunscreen every morning.
"I also recommend antioxidant use in the morning and retinoid use in the evening — a solid skin care routine as you would do on your face," says Dr. MacGregor. "Reduce mechanical stress to the breasts by wearing supportive garments during activities and use of compression or support garments after breast surgery is essential." She also says that the use of silicone sheets when recovering from surgery is crucial in order to heal correctly.
A proper-fitting bra can also make a huge difference. But unfortunately, a lot of women own ill-fitting undergarments without even realizing. Dr. Idriss highly recommends finding a bra that fits right and offers lots of support, adding that rapid and frequent weight fluctuation can also lead to visible veins.
However, sometimes visible veins are inevitable, especially when factors like genetics and pregnancy come into play.
How Can I Get Rid of These Veins?
Listen, everyone should accept their body and skin the way it is. But, we get that's much easier said than done. If it's something that bothers you, there is no shame in seeking a doctor's opinion about treating the veins.
"Vascular lasers are all very effective at reducing blood vessels in the skin, including both the fine red ones and the larger purple-blue ones," Dr. MacGregor shares.She also says that if the treatment is done correctly by an expert, you should see results after 2 to 3 treatments. But the price depends on the area you're treating and how many treatments you receive.
While we're big proponents of doing whatever makes you feel good and confident in your skin, if you're seeking treatments purely for cosmetic purposes, there are definitely some things to take into consideration. And it is always important to make sure there are no other underlying health issues or reasons behind the appearance of the veins.
"Personally I believe if patients are interested in treating breast veins, they [should] get evaluated by a breast specialist first and undergo the appropriate imaging," says Dr. Idriss. "As the majority of breast veins are normal, treatment is more often than not purely cosmetic. Given that any intervention comes with risk, especially in breast tissue, I recommend that any treatment be closely monitored."
However, if they suddenly grow more pronounced or become symptomatic, Dr. Idriss recommends consulting a breast specialist right away. "I usually refer my patients to a breast specialist if they present with rapidly changing breast veins in order to rule out any underlying issues."
Dr. MacGregor adds, "It’s rare to have a complication from veins on the chest, and it’s usually the appearance that brings people in for treatment. If there are associated red/thickening scars, then early treatment is essential to prevent development of keloids, a type of vascular growth."
Are There At-Home Treatments?
If you're not looking to drop a ton of money but would still like a solution to veins, there are a few at-home treatments you can try. Dr. MacGregor recommends anti-inflammatory and anti-redness topicals you can buy over the counter that contain azelaic acid, niacinamide, sunscreen, and antioxidants, such as Rhofade, ivermectin, and metronidazole. These products — along with sunscreen, retinoids, and a proper-fitting bra — can diminish the appearance of veins.
But at the end of the day, as long as your breast veins aren't a result of an underlying issue, there is no problem in just accepting the veins in all their glory. "Breast veins are absolutely normal, and I usually encourage my patients to understand their function and appearance," says Dr. Idriss.
So hey, flaunt it if you got it!