These appear as reddish-purple flares of veins visible just under the skin. Sometimes they appear after pregnancy, although the fact that we are upright seems to be the major cause. Sun exposure can play a part, as can standing, genetic factors and excess body weight.

These can be treated by microsclerotherapy, a longstanding technique that involves injecting a medicine directly into the vein to "stick them together" from the inside. It's a bit like injecting glue into a hosepipe. Most people require three treatments spaced two weeks then four weeks apart. The results normally last for many years.

Whilst most little veins are amenable to treatment, some veins are fed by a bigger, sometimes varicose vein. In this case treatment of the larger vein may be the only way to deal with the smaller ones, in which case we can refer you to a specialist.