You can thank your parents and your progesterone for the road map of blue squiggles winding around your calves and over your thighs. Though no one knows exactly what causes them, visible veins are probably influenced by genetics and hormones. Standing or sitting for long periods, pregnancy, and obesity may also exacerbate blood pooling in the legs, which can cause some veins to swell and rise toward the surface of the skin.
The best option for eradicating leg veins is sclerotherapy. A solution containing glycerin, saline, or Sotradecol (a sodium sulfate compound) is injected into individual veins to irritate and collapse them. Each injection site stings for about five minutes; many doctors recommend that patients wear compression stockings for several days after the procedure to maximize results. Two or three treatments are usually necessary, and the veins will look worse before they get better (you should count on about a month before you see results). Be forewarned: You won't be vein-free forever; after a couple of years, new ones will probably form. Cost:
$300 to $500 per treatment
If your veins don't bother you enough to consider needles (or dropping several hundred dollars), try a self-tanner. One coat will deepen your skin tone enough to make leg veins less noticeable. Or try a leg bronzer, which will camouflage veins—and wash off at the end of the day. Cost:
$10 for L'Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Luminous Bronzer Self-Tanning Lotion.
Next: How to get rid of discoloration