Ever thought about improving your midlife complexion through one of those fancy laser cosmetic procedures that people sometimes talk about?

For some, midlife can signal a time to attempt to recapture some of the physical qualities we had in our younger years. We want to look good … we want to be attractive … we want people to see us as being attractive … and not (for example) as the chunky balding guy who looks like he spent too much time in the sun. Some of us try to improve our appearance by going to the gym in order to tone or bulk ourselves up. Others do something a little more drastic – like losing weight via a diet, or getting hair transplants, or by undergoing some other cosmetic procedure. Often times we are influenced by our midlife peers – by peer pressure … just like in high school, but this time someone isn’t offering us a cigarette to be cool – no. This time we are seeing what others look like after they have had “work done”.

I live in Southern California – an area that is much more foofy than other parts of the country. This means that people here tend to go further out of their way to look good – especially the women. Some parts of Southern California are worse than others in terms of what I am calling “foof”. If you spend any time in Newport Beach or Beverly Hills, then you will certainly see a lot of very perfect-looking people. And chances are – those perfect-looking people didn’t start out looking so perfect!

My current girlfriend is an Esthetician – someone who specializes in skin care and treatments. She is always doing something to make her skin look wonderful … and it works, as she is 39-years old and looks like a porcelain doll. Last week, she underwent some kind of blue chemical peel … which took the top several layers of skin off of her face. She did this to get rid of some very, very subtle dark spots on her skin called “hyperpigmentation”. This latest chemical peel was the most recent treatment she has undergone to get rid of those spots.

My girlfriend has been telling me for quite some time that I need to do something to get rid of the tiny spider veins that I have on my face. I have never even noticed them myself – you have to be maybe several inches away from me to even see them. [And there’s only one reason to be that close to me – if you know what I mean.] Anyway – it was never even remotely a priority UNTIL two things occurred recently:

1) I made the dumb mistake of looking at myself in one of those magnifying mirrors at the makeup counter when I was shopping with Honeybunny at Sak’s Fifth Avenue. I could clearly see what she had been talking about (spider veins) and they looked horrible under magnification.

2) One of my best friends (also named Greg) happened to mention to me that he recently had all the spider veins on his face removed via a Candella V-Beam™ laser at a local cosmetic surgeon’s office, and that it only cost him $1100 for three treatments.

Now I am a believer in fate – and I thought it was too coincidental for me to take critical notice of my own spider veins AND for one of my best buddies to “out of the blue” tell me that he had his spider veins removed. My buddy looks great, by the way – I was wondering what was different about him … I knew it was subtle … and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until he told me. So he gave me the contact info for the place that did his spider vein removal, and I made myself an appointment for a consultation.

Now if you are not familiar with spider veins – below on the left is a photo of what they can look like BEFORE treatment. On the right is what the same area of skin looks like AFTER treatment. [These are not photos of me, by the way.]


Spider veins are essentially very tiny varicose veins. They may or may not be visible or noticeable – it depends on where they are located (usually the face or legs). It also depends on your skin color – the whiter or more pale you are, the more noticeable spider veins can be. As for me, I have a very pale complexion – and so spider veins stand out more on me versus people with darker skin.

In terms of what causes spider veins, I have read different things. I understand that the older one gets, the more likely one is to get them. I have heard there is an element of heredity to them – that we can inherit a predisposition to getting them from our parents. Sun exposure also increases the likelihood of them developing – particularly on the cheeks and noses of pale-skinned individuals. I have heard that both the consumption of alcohol and spicy foods can increase the chances of these spider veins developing.

Whatever the reason – you notice that you now have these spider veins on your face … they are visible, and you want to get rid of them. What I did to get rid of mine was to visit a local cosmetic surgeon who has a Candela Vbeam™ laser. This is what is known as a pulse-dye laser – it selectively targets the blood vessels of your spider veins without damaging any surrounding tissue. When I went in for the consultation, a nurse actually evaluated me – and then did a small “test patch” on the side of my face to see how I would react to the laser. I did not really bruise at all – and so I made an appointment to have my entire face done. I was told by the nurse that I WILL BRUISE – and that I could expect to look “bruised” for up to one week. “Hmmm” – I remember thinking to myself, “I wonder what that means exactly.”

I called my buddy, Greg, and asked him what he looked like during that week after the treatment. He said he didn’t look too bad … that it looked like someone had attacked him with a broom … or that he had ridden a motorcycle through a bush with no helmet on. But that it was really no big deal. “Okay”, I thought – and so I then scheduled the appointment for a Thursday at 5:00 p.m.

The laser procedure itself lasted about forty-five minutes – and was only slightly painful. In the instant before the laser hit me, a tiny blast of some cooling solution from the laser machine struck my face … and it sort of keeps the experience less painful (or so I was told). The nurse basically hit my face in probably fifty or sixty different spots with this laser – and I felt fine when I left. It was not a big deal at all.

Within hours, however, I could see that I was bruising up all over my face. By the next morning I was covered in dark red or purple spots – as though someone had shot me in the face with a shotgun. Fortunately I had prepared for the worst, and was NOT going to leave the house for six days. [I had stocked up on all groceries, and was ready to endure an extended stay out of sight.] Here is a photo of what I looked like the next day. My entire face was covered in these dark red or purple dots – yikes!


Post PulseDye Treatment

Six days after the laser treatment, I was forced to leave the house for a very important customer meeting. I still had spots on much of my face – they were visible, but faded compared to the photo above … but I still looked like something was wrong. That particular customer had never met me before – so she did not know what I usually looked like … but I felt compelled to announce to her that I was recovering from a facial laser procedure. [I had considered instead asking her if she ever had the measles, but decided to leave my dark sense of humor at home.]

Another two days passed – and after a total of eight days, my face finally looked normal. Actually it looked BETTER THAN NORMAL because a large percentage of the spider veins were gone! The procedure worked! My skin now has a uniform color to it – and I’m told there is a huge visible difference. Not only did my girlfriend (the esthetician) tell me this … but my hot Latina hairdresser also mentioned how good my skin looks. I still have two more treatments to go – to clean up the remaining spider veins, but now there is no doubt in my mind about the effectiveness of this laser procedure. It definitely works!

There is one unexpected side effect though – I now notice other people’s spider veins … whereas before I was completely oblivious to them. I was in the local donut shop purchasing lottery tickets, and this older man (around 70-ish) was standing next to me and talking to me. I could not stop looking at his nose – he had a TON of spider veins. I almost wanted to tell him that the laser procedure I just went through would fix what he had going on – but I decided to keep my mouth shut. I do not want to be the cosmetic procedure salesman around town … best to keep that to myself! And I do not want people, in general, to know that I had this procedure done. ;o)

UPDATE – I had a second laser treatment roughly one month after the first treatment discussed here. If you would like to read about my experience with the second treatment, then check out the Laser Spider Vein Removal Treatment #2 article here on

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About the Author

Midlife Bachelor chronicles lifestyle, dating, and relationship experiences and advice to avoid a midlife crisis. Readers like you are often beyond young adulthood in their 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s that want to understand how dating, sex, relationships, and love fit in with our lifestyles.