Q How can I get rid of varicose veins?
A Non-surgical treatments are the gold standard, particularly endovenous laser therapy. This gently seals the vein by applying thermal energy, which causes the vein to scar and after a period of time the body resorbs the vein and it disappears.
This laser procedure is about 98 per cent effective over five years and doesn’t have the associated risks of surgery.
Endovenous laser treatments are undertaken at specialised clinics and cost between $3000 and $4000 (after Medicare rebates) for a full treatment plan, including scans and follow-up consultations.
Most patients see results within a few weeks. The important thing to understand is you can’t judge the severity of the varicose veins just by looking at them, so I’d encourage patients to get an ultrasound scan to check.
Even if you have a consultation and get the scan done, you can obviously decide not to go ahead with treatment but at least you’ll know how bad your varicose veins are.
When left untreated, varicose veins can progress to complications such as swelling, aching and throbbing, ulcers, deep venous thrombosis and skin pigmentation, so it’s best to consult your GP. ZY
Q Do coffee products work on cellulite?
A No, in my opinion, coffee doesn’t work to remove cellulite and is actually better on the inside than the outside. In fact, drinking coffee boosts metabolism, especially pre-exercise, burning more free fatty acids and helping with weight loss and creating a leaner body — so in that way it may help with cellulite.
In general, topical agents tend not to help with cellulite, except fake tan, which can minimise the appearance. What does work is losing weight and increasing muscle strength and tone in the legs as this strengthens and tightens the underlying support.
Cellulite is difficult to ‘cure’. It’s an anatomical defect, due to the skin being tethered by fibrous septae to the underlying muscle layer. This tethering creates the indentations and surface irregularities on the skin’s surface.
It’s mainly genetic, made worse by weight gain as it exacerbates the puckering by increasing the volume in the fat compartments. Some skin-tightening radio-frequency laser treatments may help soften the appearance of cellulite but multiple treatments are usually required and the cost for several sessions starts at about $2000.
It works by melting fat and tightening the fibrous septae, therefore reducing the drag on the outer skin layer, making it look smoother and less like cellulite.
Q Can I use apple cider vinegar at home to reduce the appearance of age spots?
A Yes, you can, thanks to the natural acid in apple cider vinegar and in fruits such as lemon and papaya. As an at-home treatment, do a patch test with the apple cider vinegar first and wait 1-2 minutes to see how it feels.
If it’s fine, apply it twice daily on clean skin using a cotton pad. Leave it on for 30 minutes then rinse with warm water. It usually takes six weeks to see a result. If you have sensitive skin, use half water, half apple cider vinegar. Some beauty salons also offer natural peels with papaya and pineapple enzymes.
For people wanting medical options — via a qualified skin therapist or doctor — products and treatments such as bleaching creams or laser treatments can fade the spots gradually.
These treatments make skin more sensitive to UV damage so it’s vital to wear sunscreen. And always see your GP if anything looks suspicious.