Blue Veins: An Illinois Vein Specialist Explains Why Your Veins Are Blue

Usually, blue veins are nothing to worry about. But sometimes they can be a sign of vein disease. Read on to find out all about what your vein color means and what causes veins to be more visible. We’ve even included simple tips to keep your vein health in tip-top shape!

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Why Are Veins Blue?

Arteries and veins carry red blood around your body—so why are veins blue?  There’s a simple answer to that. 

Veins look blue because of the way our eyes process light waves and color. When red light hits your skin, its longer wavelengths reach deep into where your veins are located. The red blood in veins absorbs the light. Blue light doesn’t travel as deep as red light does due to its shorter wavelengths. This means that it’s deflected from the skin. Our eyes catch that deflection and process the color blue. Thus, veins look blue instead of red.

Sudden Prominent Blue Veins - What Does It Mean?

sudden prominent blue veins on legs

Dark-colored or blue veins are normal and healthy, although it can be a bit strange seeing sudden prominent blue veins pop up on your skin. 


Veins can become more visible due to various reasons, including decreased body fat, aging, genetics, physical activity, pregnancy, sun exposure, and certain medical conditions.


When the body fat decreases, or the skin becomes thinner, the vein color can then become more visible because there is less tissue covering them. Physical activity and increased blood volume during pregnancy can also cause the veins to become more visible. Moreover, prolonged sun exposure can make the skin thinner, making the veins more apparent.


Blue veins are common on the chest and legs. Other factors that impact the color and visibility of your veins include:

Certain medical conditions, such as varicose veinsspider veins, or deep vein thrombosis, can also cause veins to become more visible.

What Does It Mean When Your Veins Are Really Blue – Are Blue Veins Healthy?

“Why are my veins so blue?”. Blue veins are, in most cases, nothing to worry about like if you’ve always had blue veins for example. However, there are cases where your vein color could signify a bigger problem like when you notice sudden prominent blue veins. Here’s when to get that strange vein color checked out:

If you've never had blue veins before

If a vein suddenly and rapidly turns blue, it could be a sign of blood pooling in your circulatory system or deep vein thrombosis.

If the vein color is changing

 Seek medical help if your vein color changes from blue to a darker blue, purple, or even green as this can mean you are suffering from venous insufficiency.

If your blue veins are accompanied by ulcers

Blue veins in your legs and ulcers are signs of vein disease.

If the vein hurts

If your blue vein begins to hurt, it’s best to call a doctor.

When Are Blue Veins Dangerous?

Person with blue veins

Although everyone has blue veins, very visible bulging blue veins may indicate vein disease. This is not something to take lightly as vein disease can lead to serious complications and even death. Keep an eye out for unusual veins and symptoms, such as:

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms along with your blue veins, it’s time to call a vein specialist as it could indicate you have vein disease

3 Tips for Healthy Veins

If your blue veins aren’t accompanied by any pain, discomfort, or other discoloration, chances are your veins are healthy. Keep them healthy by practicing habits that support good vein health, such as:

1. Daily Exercise

One of the best ways to ensure good vein health is to stay active. Exercise gets your blood flowing and can help improve your circulation, leading to healthy veins. Even something as simple as taking a daily walk can make a big impact on your vein health. 

2. Balanced Meals

Health starts in the kitchen. When you put nutrient-rich food in your body, those nutrients work with your body to boost your health. Try adding these foods into your diet (your veins will thank you!):

3. Avoid Smoking

Smoking and second-hand smoke are detrimental to your vein health. Studies have shown that the carbon monoxide and tar from cigarette smoke affect the ability of veins to properly carry blood throughout your body and affect the quality of your veins. This can lead to serious vascular diseases and coronary heart disease. Immediate effects of smoking include narrowing veins, which may lead to hardened veins in the future. 

Check on Your Vein Health for Free

The Gilvydis Vein Clinic is here for you. We know that healthy veins can lead to a better quality of life, which is why we want to help you stay on top of your vein health. 


If you suspect that you have varicose veins or spider veins, come into our clinic for a free vein screening. We’re known for our reputation in excellent vein care and leading customer service. You can rest assured that we will provide you with the best possible outcome for your veins and for you.

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We’re proud to be one of three vein centers in Illinois  with an IAC accreditation. Get back on your feet with a team of vein specialists who help you understand your vein treatment options.

Get back to yourself.

We’re proud to be one of three vein centers in Illinois  with an IAC accreditation. Get back on your feet with a team of vein specialists who help you understand your vein treatment options.