Are you thinking about adding leg exfoliation to your beauty routine? If so, you’re on the right track. Leg exfoliation is an easy way to get softer, smoother, more attractive legs. But there are important things to know. Before you chose your exfoliation method, read our leg exfoliation pros and cons.
What is Exfoliation?
Exfoliation is the removal of the top layer of dead skin cells.
Our skin creates fresh skin cells monthly. But sometimes old skin cells remain, giving the skin a flaky, rough appearance. Exfoliation gently removes these dead cells. It also inspires new skin cell growth.
The Benefits of Exfoliation for Your Legs
Some benefits of exfoliation are legs that:
Look softer, smoother, and more polished
Have improved circulation by bringing blood to the skin’s surface
Can have a reduction in the appearance of cellulite
Have increased collagen production over time
Will better absorb skin moisturizers
Develop fewer shaving-related ingrown hairs
Moisturizing Your Legs Isn’t Enough
Putting moisturizer or oils over dry, flaky skin won’t help much. That’s because these products can’t penetrate dry and scaly skin cells. Most of the moisturizer simply sits on top of the dry skin. This helps nothing. And you’re throwing money away.
But exfoliate your legs and watch them drink in the moisture.
Sometimes you can get too much of a good thing. Even drinking too much water each day can have a negative effect on your body. You don’t want to exfoliate every day. Your skin needs time to recover. Exfoliate at healthy intervals.
Your exfoliation products should work for your skin type. Is your skin dry, normal, or oily?
Then, be sure to apply moisturizer after exfoliation to avoid dryness or irritation. The best time to moisturize is just out of the shower when the skin is slightly damp.
Know Your Skin Type
If you exfoliate too harshly, or too often, for your skin type, your skin can become reddened or even damaged.
If your skin is sensitive, it may sting or burn after exfoliation. This is your skin’s way of telling you to be gentler.
If your skin is dry and flaky, you may be tempted to over exfoliate and irritate deeper layers of skin. When you exfoliate manually, use a gentle massaging touch—never scrub.
If your body is well hydrated, it will respond to exfoliation better.
Remember These Exfoliation Tips
Never exfoliate right after shaving
Don’t exfoliate over a sunburn
Don’t exfoliate over an open cut or broken skin
Do give special attention to knees and ankles
Massage legs at the same time to improve circulation
Also, never exfoliate if you easily get dark spots on your skin from bug bites.
There are Two Types of Exfoliation
When you exfoliate your legs, you can use either a physical exfoliation method or chemical exfoliation.
Chemical exfoliation uses gentle acids or enzymes to dissolve the dead skin.
Know the pros and cons of each method to find which one works best for your skin.
Physical exfoliation uses a tool to remove dead skin cells. You can also use a mineral salt scrub.
Works well for normal, thicker, more resilient skin
Is rougher than chemical exfoliation because it involves gentle scrubbing
Four Tools Used for Physical Exfoliation
A natural loofah is a dried tropical gourd.
Gently and effectively exfoliates dead skin
Doesn’t irritate healthy skin
Can buy in bulk and change frequently for safety
Is a breeding ground for bacteria
Can trap bacteria in pores during exfoliation
Can be the source of infections
Holds dead skin cells and old dirt and grime
2. Dry Brush Exfoliation
Includes use of a shower brush or natural bath bristle. Use it on dry skin. Brush skin upward toward the heart.
Excellent for normal, non-sensitive, skin
Provides a more rigorous exfoliation, if needed
Can easily control exfoliation pressure
Will increase circulation
Even light pressure may be too harsh for sensitive skin
Can cause irritation or bleeding if overused in certain area
3. Exfoliating Gloves
Gentle on the skin with no redness or irritation
If they develop an odor, you need a new pair
Must wash out and let dry completely after each use
4. Mineral Salt Scrubs
First, rinse skin in warm water. Then apply scrub to legs by hand with a circular motion. Rinse off in a cool shower.
Can use up to two times a week
Exfoliates and cleanses
Helps with skin circulation and detoxification
Softens skin and improves hydration
Can be irritating if done more than 2-3 times/week
Does not moisturize the skin
You can buy chemical exfoliants which are made of mild acids.
Different chemical exfoliants include:
AHA acids like glycolic or lactic acids, derived from fruit, sugar or milk, are good for dry or sensitive skin; can use them every other week
BHA acids, like salicylic acid, are good for oily, acne-prone skin
Extremely mild enzyme-based acids are derived from fruits
Gentler than physical exfoliation
Good for sensitive or skin
Can use with a gentle washcloth
Does not involve scrubbing
Can moisturize skin and will not over-dry it
Can help prevent ingrown hairs
It’s important to follow label directions to avoid irritation or dark spots
Look for Spider Veins on Your Legs
Now that you’re focusing on making your legs more beautiful, take time out to look for spider veins.
Spider veins appear near the surface of the skin. They usually appear as thin red, blue, or purple lines on the ankles, thighs, or calf.
They rarely cause any health problems, but they are unsightly.
You cannot remove spider veins with exfoliation, but they can be removed with sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure that requires no anesthesia.
And you can usually exfoliate your legs once the injection site has fully healed.
Summer is the time to relax and have fun. Whether you’re lounging around the pool or shopping in your local farmer’s market, you want to look and feel your best. Before the heat sends us running for shorts, sundresses, and bathing suits, is a great time to get your legs ready for summer.
Here are some ways to get your legs looking their best and feeling great.
Get Rid of Unsightly Spider Veins or Varicose Veins
While spider veins and varicose veins usually don’t pose a health risk, they are never attractive to look at. And varicose veins can make your legs feel achy, heavy, and tired. They can ruin your lazy strolls through unexplored towns or make you self-conscious about showing off your summer legs.
The good news is that there are treatments available which can eliminate these unsightly and sometimes painful veins. Now is a great time to have a consultation with a vein specialist to see what they can do to eliminate them.
Happily, there are minimally invasive outpatient procedures that can reduce or eliminate both spider and varicose veins.
Procedure and recovery times are short, and the results make you feel and look fabulous!
Exfoliate Your Legs
There’s no time like the present to exfoliate the dry skin on your legs. The cold winter temperatures and harsh indoor heating may have left your skin feeling tight, dull, and dry.
An easy way to rejuvenate the look of your legs, and give them a fresh summer glow, is to exfoliate your legs.
Exfoliate once a week if your skin is dry or sensitive, or more frequently, if your skin is oily.
Cleansing scrubs and loofahs work wonders in the bath or shower.
When you exfoliate, you remove dead skin cells and keep them from building up on the skin. This makes room for the fresh new skin cells that appear every 27 days or so.
After removing the dead skin cells from your legs, be sure to follow up with a good moisturizer; exfoliation can sometimes leave your skin feeling drier or sensitive.
Exfoliation not only makes your skin look better but also helps your skin absorb moisturizers. Without removing the dead skin cells, moisturizers only sit on top of the skin and cannot do their important work below the surface.
It’s important to know that exfoliation can make your skin more susceptible to the harmful effects of UV rays. So be extra sure to use sunscreen on your legs when you go outside.
Moisturizing your legs year-round will keep the skin soft and glowing.
Moisturize every day right after your shower while your skin is still damp. This will keep your skin well hydrated.
But be sure not to over moisturize your legs. It’s possible for your skin to become dependent on the moisturizer and create less moisture on its own.
Stop Taking Long Hot Showers
Long hot showers are extremely relaxing, but they can make your skin feel dry and tight.
Prolonged exposure to hot water will not only remove too much natural oil from your skin, but it can make your legs swell.
When you shower, keep the water temperature a bit lower—especially after a day of summer heat.
And at the very end of your shower, try an invigorating cooler rinse. This will help muscles and increase vein function.
Improve Your Nutrition
With all the fresh, seasonal vegetables and fruit available, the summer is a natural time to improve your diet. Your skin and body will benefit from good nutrition.
Foods that will improve your overall skin health include:
Antioxidants—found in berries
Vitamin E—found in almonds and sunflower seeds
Omega-6 fatty acids—found in soybeans and corn
Omega-3 fatty acids—found in salmon and mackerel
Eat lean meats and fish to get lots of healthy fats and protein.
Good nutrition also contributes to vein health in your legs and feet.
Vitamin C keeps veins strong and increases your body’s manufacturing of collagen and elastin.
Flavonoids can reduce swelling and aches related to varicose veins. Rutin, a powerful flavonoid, is found in cranberries, grapes, oranges, and asparagus.
It’s always important to stay well hydrated, but it’s particularly important to stay hydrated during the summer months. People lose lots of fluid through sweating, which makes dehydration even more likely.
Drinking too little water can cause leg and abdominal cramps and urinary and kidney problems.
Signs of dehydration include:
A simple rule of thumb is to strive for eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily—and even more in the warmer months.
Exercise Your Legs for Better Health
Strong leg muscles are important for your overall health. They not only help keep your legs attractive and less prone to injury—they also help manage arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease.
In the summer, strong and well-toned legs look great and make it easier and more fun to participate in summer activities.
Keep legs strong by exercising them year-round. If you don’t enjoy going to the gym, try walking. Walking every day is a great way to build leg strength and endurance.
Try to aim for 5 miles a day, but any amount of walking helps.
Select a Hair Removal Method
There are many ways to remove leg hair. If you’re not a big fan of razors, with their accompanying burns and cuts, you can try various depilatory products, an epilator, or even waxing.
Laser hair removal also is a popular alternative for removing hair from legs. However, even laser hair removal isn’t permanent. The time the treatments last will depend on your age, skin type, and other factors.
Now that you know how to get your legs ready for summer, enjoy these blog posts on summer skin and vein care:
We all want to take good care of our health. But no one wants to visit a doctor unnecessarily. However, you may wonder with leg pain—when should I see a doctor?
Here are helpful facts about when to contact a doctor about your leg pain.
Legs Are Complex
Legs comprise many biological structures, including veins, bones, tendons, cartilage, and nerves.
Vascular problems affect the blood vessels, including arteries and veins. Endovascular and vascular surgeons specialize in vascular problems in the body, excluding the brain and heart.
Musculoskeletal problems involve bones, ligaments, joints, and tendons. An orthopedic surgeon or orthopedist generally treats them.
Neurological problems involve nerves and the nervous system. Neurologists specialize in these medical issues.
Of course, the doctor or specialist to treat your leg pain depends on your specific leg problem.
If You don’t Know the Cause of Your Leg Pain – Where to Start
If you don’t know the cause of your leg pain, start by visiting a general practitioner. They will direct you to the best specialist for treatment if necessary.
At times, the medical problem isn’t in your leg at all—even if the pain is. Sometimes a person feels leg pain when the pain source is in another part of their body.
Sciatica pain is a good example of this; leg pain originates from a nerve pathway that starts in the patient’s spine.
Sciatica is often treated by exercise but see your general practitioner or a neurologist.
Sometimes, the cause of leg pain is obvious, such as with varicose veins. You can see the twisted veins right there on your leg. And you can feel the discomfort or pain.
If this is the case, you can start by immediately contacting an endovascular surgeon to assess and treat the problem.
So, let’s first look at the onset of the pain to determine what action you should take.
Acute or Chronic Leg Pain
How a pain starts, and the duration of the pain tells you something about the cause of your leg pain and whether you should contact a doctor.
Acute pain is sudden, sharp, and intense and lasts awhile. It warns of an immediate problem in the body and calls for immediate attention.
Chronic pain may start off more slowly and gently but can worsen and become a daily irritant. If you don’t know the cause of your chronic pain, and it has lasted for several days, it’s time to see a doctor.
But unless you’re in great discomfort, it’s probably fine to just schedule an appointment.
When To See a Doctor Immediately
If There’s Acute Leg Pain from an Injury
If you have pain in your leg caused by a deep cut, or an injury that leaves an exposed tendon or bone, immediately get to an emergency room or urgent care.
Not only are you prone to developing a serious infection, but you need emergency care to ensure your leg heals properly.
X-Rays or other tests may help your doctor make a complete diagnosis and then treat the leg properly so it can heal completely.
If You Have Any of the Following Unexplained Leg Pain Symptoms
You may feel it’s safe to ignore these symptoms for a few days, but it’s not.
Get immediate medical care if you have:
Swollen legs accompanied by breathing problems
Sudden inability to stand or put pressure on leg
Sudden severe leg pain
Calf pain after sitting for a long time—often after a long car trip or plane ride
If You Suspect Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
The most common reason people experience calf pain is from a muscle injury. However, calf pain can be a sign of DVT—especially if it occurs shortly after a lengthy plane or car trip.
A deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot in a deep vein, usually in a leg. The blood clot can travel and lodge in the lungs, making this a potentially life-threatening situation.
You want this problem treated as soon as possible. The usual treatment is medication and wearing compression stockings.
Pain, cramping, soreness, or tenderness in the calf muscles are the most common DVT symptoms. You probably won’t feel a sharp or stabbing pain. You may think you have a muscle cramp but are actually feeling the formation of the deep vein clot.
Other DVT symptoms include swelling, redness, or discolored skin in the affected leg. The leg may also feel warm to the touch.
If you experience any of these symptoms shortly after your plane ride, contact your doctor. If you can’t reach your doctor, seek emergency care immediately.
Time to See a Doctor – But It’s Not an Emergency
Chronic unexplained leg pain is also a reason to see a doctor.
Call for an appointment if your leg pain is:
Not going away after a few days
Sometimes All Your Leg Needs is Rest and TLC
Many of us experience leg pain from time to time. This includes muscle soreness from overuse of your legs or the occasional leg cramp.
Muscle cramps can be extremely painful.
They can be caused by:
overuse of muscles in hot weather
Gentle massaging and stretching can help leg cramps, as will a heating pad.
If you’ve been using your legs a lot, it’s common to have sore leg muscles and minor swelling.
For this, try to stay off your legs. It will help to apply ice to the swollen or painful area for 20 minutes to reduce inflammation, three times a day.
Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, can help you feel better too.
Varicose Veins Are a Common and Treatable Cause of Leg Pain
Varicose veins are a leg condition that, according to the Society for Vascular Surgery, affects 35% of adults in the US. They are most common in adults over 50. And genetics can play a role too.
Varicose veins are twisted, blue/purple veins under your skin. They are most common on the legs, ankles, and feet.
Varicose veins aren’t always a health risk, but they can become quite painful and they’re not pretty to look at.
Many people with varicose veins wonder if genetics played a role in their development—or if it destines them to get varicose veins if a parent has them. Is the answer all in your genes? And if it’s true that genetics plays a role in varicose veins, is there anything you can do to help?
To quote Sam Kean, an American science writer, “Genes are like the story, and DNA is the language that the story is written in.” But can you change your story?
According to the National Human Genome Human Research Institute, a genome is another name for the entirety of your DNA. Your DNA determines your specific genetic code and all the information needed to build and develop the one and only you! Each person has their own unique genome.
Learning about your own genome will provide insights into your own health and help you make healthful choices throughout your life.
So, there are things you can do, and good choices to make, to help yourself stay healthy. This applies to vein health as well.
First, A Word About Varicose Veins
If a person has chronic venous insufficiency, they will develop varicose veins. Chronic venous insufficiency is a condition that makes it difficult for blood to flow back up to your heart easily. This occurs due to a problem with the tiny valves in the veins, or a weakening of the vein walls.
Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) usually affects veins in the legs. Blood flows in both directions and pools in the legs. The veins enlarge. We easily seen these enlarged veins since they usually bulge out of the skin. These veins are varicose veins.
Is Chronic Venous Insufficiency Caused by Genetics?
Varicose veins are more likely to occur as a person ages. But what role does genetics play? Do gender, hormones, and ethnicity play a role?
Let’s see what the studies say.
Researchers have reported that they believe genetic factors play a big role in the development of varicose veins.
If both parents had varicose veins, the risk for children of developing them was 90%.
If one parent had varicose veins, the risk for children developing them was 25% for males and 62% for females.
When only one parent had varicose veins, there seemed to be no correlation between the sex of the affected parent and the varicose veins in children.
They concluded their findings excluded a sex-linked pattern of inheritance.
Women have a greater chance of developing varicose veins than men do. How much genetics plays a role in this, and which genes are involved, is still to be determined.
Ethnicity and Varicose Vein Development
In a study of 2,211 people, chronic vein disease (the earliest stage is spider veins) “appeared to be more common in non-Hispanic whites than in Hispanics, African-Americans, and East Asians.” However, the study went on to say that these results were most likely linked with social habits; they did not seem to be linked to genetics.
Varicose veins were present in 33% of woman and 17% of men, with no ethnic differences
It concluded that the presence of varicose veins varied by gender but not by ethnicity.
Hormones and Varicose Vein Development
Today, it is an accepted fact that women’s hormones can play a role in the development of varicose veins. During pregnancy, elevated hormonal levels of estrogen and progesterone can thin the walls of veins, making pregnant women more susceptible to chronic venous insufficiency. Estrogen can also cause damage to the valves inside veins.
Menopause also will affect the health of women’s veins, but in the opposite way. During this time, a woman’s hormone levels decrease. This makes the walls of the veins thicker, less flexible, and more constricted.
How To Help Prevent Hereditary Varicose Veins
Clearly, there are some things about varicose veins that are out of our control—they are written somewhere in your DNA! But there are things you can do to help prevent them.
Keep at a healthy weight
Exercise—walking is great for vein health
Try to avoid sitting or standing still for long periods of time
Wear compression socks or stockings
Eat a healthy diet, including complex carbs and protein
Avoid salty food
Drink lots of water
If you have varicose veins . . .
If you have varicose veins that are simply unattractive, or that are causing you discomfort, make an appointment to see us at NJVVC. At our state-of-the-art vein center, you can have a complete vain evaluation, and receive treatment for your varicose veins.
Do you have clusters of red, blue, or purple veins on your ankles or feet? Are these veins thin and close to the surface of the skin? If so, it sounds like you have spider veins. Many people come to our vein center asking about the spider veins on their ankles and how to treat them.
What Are Spider Veins?
Spider veins develop when blood gathers in the veins that exist near your skin’s surface. These veins have stopped working efficiently because they are weak or damaged. Blood backs up and pools, causing the veins to become visible.
Why Are Spider Veins Commonly Found on Ankles and Feet?
Ankles and feet are prone to developing spider veins. Slower blood circulation and increased pressure on veins causes feet to swell. This encourages the formation of spider veins.
You also find spider veins on the thighs, calves, and face.
What Factors Influence the Development of Spider Veins?
• Sitting or standing for long periods of time
• Sunlight exposure
What Do Spider Veins on Ankles Look Like?
Spider veins have a specific look. They seem to gather and branch out from a central location. Each vein is usually less than 1mm in diameter.
This common grouping of veins often resembles a branch, a spider, or a spiderweb. Now you know where the name “spider veins” comes from!
When blue and/or red spider veins are on the inside of the ankle or foot and form a crown-like pattern, it is called corona phlebectasia. This is associated with advanced vein problems. People with corona phlebectasia should visit a vein doctor for a complete diagnosis and treatment plan.
Symptoms of Spider Veins
Spider veins on the ankles, although unsightly, usually don’t indicate a serious health problem.
Sometimes they are itchy or painful. But most often, spider veins are mainly annoying from a cosmetic standpoint. Understandably, people want unattractive spider veins treated.
In rare cases, spider veins contribute to the formation of large skin sores, or ulcers. This problem is most likely to occur near spider veins on the ankles and requires immediate treatment.
Treatment for Spider Veins on Ankles
Excellent treatment exists for unattractive spider veins on feet and ankles.
You can try some simple things at home to ease minor discomfort and prevent additional spider veins from forming.
Unfortunately, untreated spider veins will worsen over time.
To eliminate existing spider veins, visit our office for safe and effective treatment.
Ways to Prevent Spider Veins on Your Ankles
When sitting, keep your feet elevated above your heart. This will improve your circulation and can even reduce the size of spider veins in your ankles and feet. Use a recliner or put pillows under your feet in bed.
Wear compression socks. Compression socks will improve your blood circulation and reduce pressure on leg and foot veins. Your feet will not swell, reducing the development of more spider veins.
Try not to stand for a long period of time. And try to stand on your tiptoes at workable intervals. This will improve leg muscles and blood circulation in spider veins.
Exercise more. Increase your physical activity to reduce vein discomfort. Regular-paced walking will improve your spider vein health.
Learn useful massages for your ankles and feet. Our doctor can discuss what type of massage will work best in your situation.
Visit Our Office for a Spider Vein Evaluation
Patients come to our office for accurate diagnosis and state-of-the-art treatment of spider veins and other vein issues.
At NJVVC, we know the importance of thoroughly understanding your vein health. We perform comprehensive vein evaluations so we can successfully treat your spider vein problems.
Sclerotherapy Treatment for Spider Veins
Before our doctor treats your spider veins, he will make sure they aren’t associated with varicose veins. If our doctor finds this connection, he will first treat your varicose veins; this will keep the spider veins from reappearing after treatment.