By the time I'm 40, I will be see-through!
September 20, 2012 6:29 AM   Subscribe

Is-This-Normal filter : I am a few short months away from turning 30, and have noticed while looking in the mirror and at body parts I can see without one, that over my whole body my veins/arteries are a lot more visible than they were before. Is this a normal part of aging? Can it be stopped, or mitigated somehow? Deets inside.

I am female, overweight, vegetarian, have been slightly anemic my whole life, but otherwise healthy. I have maintained my weight (for the most part ) for the past 4-5 years, no major changes in diet or exercise levels. I do have very pale skin, but that hasn't changed.

The veins aren't popping out of my skin, but I can see them underneath a lot more than in the past, as if my skin is becoming more translucent.

If this is 'a thing', has anyone done anything to help prevent it? More moisturizing? Exercise? Losing weight? Less caffeine? More iron? OR, is this not 'a thing', and should I bring it up during my next check-up?

Thanks in advance.
posted by Fig to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: This is completely normal, and being overweight accelerates it.

I don't have any sources to cite at the moment, but my wife has been through this with her dermatologist, and that is all he told her about it, too. Losing weight might slow it down, but I don't know if you can reverse it.

My wife is also very pale and bruises easily, FWIW.
posted by TinWhistle at 6:43 AM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Even NIH says this is a thing:
With aging, the outer skin layer (epidermis) thins, even though the number of cell layers remains unchanged.

The number of pigment-containing cells (melanocytes) decreases, but the remaining melanocytes increase in size. Aging skin thus appears thinner, more pale, and clear (translucent).
posted by anaelith at 7:12 AM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

In recent months, my sons and I have used excess vein showiness as an indicator of dehydration. Caffeine makes dehydration worse. My experience is that proper hydration is not merely a case of getting enough fluids. You also need electrolytes (which shouldn't really be news: that is the same reasoning behind drinks like gatorade) and some other things seem to impact it, like fats.

So perhaps you can try working on better hydration practices and see if that has any positive impact? Even normal processes of aging can usually be slowed, which is part of why people who exercise and eat right tend to get read as younger than they really are.
posted by Michele in California at 7:42 AM on September 20, 2012

What anaelith said, but to answer the other part of your question, although there's nothing I'm aware of that can prevent it, you can treat it with plastic surgery, if you really hate how it makes your hands look.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 2:38 PM on September 20, 2012

Spray-on tan, baby. Seriously, I'm not being flip, I actually do think that this is something that people do to deal with it. For your face, creams that contain retinol promote cell growth and some people swear by them.
posted by selfmedicating at 8:02 PM on September 20, 2012

Eh, it's aging. If you're fair, just you wait till your in your fifties, and then it looks like you have a road map on the inside of your upper arms and across your boobs. And it's only one of the MINOR indignities.
posted by BlueHorse at 9:27 PM on September 20, 2012

Response by poster: Yeah, the d├ęcolletage /boobs/upper arms is where I've noticed it the most. This aging process is not going to be fun. Maybe I'll try out a spray tan... Thanks all!
posted by Fig at 5:09 AM on September 21, 2012

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