blue veins in leg

Why Are Veins Blue?

Red blood is carried around your body by arteries and veins—so why do they show up as blue under your skin?  There’s a simple answer to that. 

Usually, blue veins are nothing to worry about. But sometimes they can be the sign of poor vein health. Read on to find out all about what your vein color means and vein warning signs to look out for. We’ve even included simple tips to keep your vein health in tip-top shape!

Why Your Veins Are Blue

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

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.

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

  • Genetics
  • Skin color
  • Medical conditions
  • Hormones
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Exercise

When to Watch Out for Vein Color

If you’ve always had blue veins, you don’t have much to worry about. However, there are cases where your vein color could signify a bigger problem. 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 venous insufficiency.
  • If your blue veins are accompanied by ulcers. Blue veins in your legs coupled with ulcers are a sign of vein disease.

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

Blue Veins Are Normal—These Veins Are Not

Although everyone has blue veins, very visible 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:

  • Gnarled, raised veins
  • Swelling in legs and ankles
  • Heaviness in legs
  • Dry, hardened skin on legs
  • Cramping or aches in your thigh and calf
  • Leg pain that dissipates after walking

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms along with your blue veins, it’s time to call a medical professional as these 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:

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. 

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!):

  • Leafy Greens: kale, spinach, collard greens
  • Antioxidant-rich Snacks: blueberries, strawberries, pecans, dark chocolate
  • Healthy Fats: avocados, olive oil, salmon

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 the narrowing of 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.