“Getting old isn’t for the faint of heart.”
This quote, commonly credited to actress Mae West, perfectly describes the aging process. Although aging has its upsides — wisdom, life experience, indifference to others’ opinions — facing the physical aspects of the aging process takes optimism, courage, and grit.
Varicose veins are one of those physical aspects. Usually present on the legs, these deep blue or purple bulging veins may not be how you wish to present yourself to the world. In addition to their pronounced appearance, varicose veins can cause pain and discomfort, and they are likely to worsen over time.
Could a blue light therapy pen for varicose veins make a difference? Read on to learn more.
What Are Varicose Veins?
Before we definitively say whether using a blue light therapy pen for varicose veins is worth the effort, let’s explore what happens in your body when varicose veins appear.
The cause of varicose veins is the weakening of the vein walls and one-way valves that open and close to control the passage of blood. Increased blood pressure, swelling, and inflammation stretch and weaken the veins and valves. This leads to the development of varicose veins.
The most common symptoms of varicose veins include:
- Twisted, bulging veins, usually in the legs
- Dark blue- or purple-colored veins, visible through the skin
- Itchiness around bulging veins
- Leg cramps, especially at night
- Aching, throbbing, discomfort, or pain in the legs
- A sensation of heaviness in the legs and feet
These symptoms are often accentuated by remaining in one position for too long, including sitting or standing for long periods of time. You may be able to alleviate some of the pain and discomfort by lying down and stretching your legs. If that doesn’t work, try elevating your feet.
Because these symptoms are so difficult to deal with, some people have tried using a blue light therapy pen on their varicose veins.
What Is Light Therapy?
Light therapy works by penetrating the layers of the skin with specific wavelengths of light — usually red light and blue light. Each wavelength has its own strengths and effects on the cells in your body.
Light therapy has the potential to promote healing, reverse signs of aging, treat and prevent acne breakouts, strengthen the skin, reduce inflammation, and treat a wide variety of skin diseases, such as eczema, psoriasis, and actinic keratoses.
Blue Light Therapy for Varicose Veins: What Does the Science Say?
Unfortunately, as of this writing, research has not shown the effectiveness of blue light therapy for varicose veins.
Limited studies have tested the use of intense pulsed light, or IPL, and lasers on spider veins, a related but less severe condition. Spider veins are caused by the widening of the blood vessels in the body and can occur independently or as a byproduct of varicose veins. They often occur on the legs, but also on the face, chest, and feet.
The aforementioned studies involving IPL and laser therapies on spider veins tested the effectiveness of professional medical treatments performed in a clinical setting. This is quite different from treatment with an at-home device, like a blue light therapy pen for varicose veins.
One recent study tested four types of IPL and laser therapies in a medical setting, and participants saw a substantial improvement in the appearance of facial spider veins. The study did not include varicose veins, however.
Another publication recommends laser and light therapies as potential adjunctive treatments for vein issues, being used to clear up minor unresolved problems after conventional methods address varicose veins.
Blue Light Pens
So, what about a blue light therapy pen for varicose veins?
As of this writing, no published studies have tested the effectiveness of blue light therapy on varicose veins. Many medical professionals frown upon claims that blue light pens or other at-home light therapy devices can treat varicose veins since no published evidence currently exists to support their use. However, some believe blue light therapy could be a useful tool for treating spider veins that appear on the feet and face, but not on the legs.
The safety of light therapy has been demonstrated by hundreds of researchers and clinicians. So if you’d like to try a blue light therapy pen for varicose veins, there shouldn’t be much risk if you follow the product’s directions. However, it’s always best to speak with your doctor before trying a new therapy, especially one that involves your blood vessels.
Light therapy pens are spot treatment devices, so if you want to treat a large area, consider investing in a larger handheld device, or a standing or mounted panel.
Blue Light Therapy Pen for Varicose Veins: Final Thoughts
Using a blue light therapy pen for varicose veins might not eliminate your varicose veins, but it’s possible they could produce some positive results. Varicose veins are partially the result of chronic inflammation, and studies have demonstrated blue (and red) light therapy effectively treats inflammatory skin conditions.
If you decide to try a blue light therapy pen for your varicose veins, remember to temper your expectations. If blue light therapy pens have trouble treating spider veins on the legs, then it’s not unreasonable to assume they would have trouble treating larger and deeper varicose veins.
Again, be sure to speak with your doctor before trying this therapy, and follow all instructions for any light therapy device you use to avoid unexpected side effects.