Why Your Veins Bulge As You Get Older

Bulging veins can be alarming, particularly if they have taken you by surprise. Perhaps you noticed your veins looking a little more prominent for the first time in your legs while applying lotion, or in your hands while working at the computer. These are common areas for veins to become more visible, especially with age, and Healthline reports that, generally, bulging veins are more of a cosmetic issue rather than a medical one.

The older we get, the thinner and less elastic our skin becomes, causing veins to appear more pronounced. As we get older, the Vein Institute states that we lose volume in our skin, especially in the hands and face, making aging the most common cause of thinning skin. Sun damage, genetics, and lifestyle factors can also affect skin's appearance. For instance, if your immediate family members have bulging veins, you have a higher risk for developing them as well.

Medical conditions that can cause bulging veins

While bulging veins are typically benign, there are certain medical reasons your veins may be more pronounced. According to Healthline, blood pressure fluctuations can cause veins to swell and shrink. Phlebitis, which is inflammation of the veins, can indicate a blood clot or an autoimmune disease.  

Varicose veins are another reason you may notice bulging and more visible veins. These twisted, colorful, and sometimes very large veins can be found in the hands, but are more often found in the legs, as standing puts more pressure on the veins in the lower body (via Mayo Clinic). While most varicose veins are only aesthetically bothersome, for some people they can cause excruciating pain and can even lead to more serious medical conditions. Aging is the most common culprit for developing varicose veins, as over time the valves in the veins weaken, allowing blood to leak back into the legs or hands (via Vascular & Interventional Associates). 

If you are concerned about the appearance or health of your veins, speak with you doctor who can recommend the best medical or cosmetic treatments for your condition.