Varicose veins are twisted veins that can be blue, red, or skin-colored. The larger veins may appear ropelike and make the skin bulge out. Varicose veins are often on the thighs, the backs and fronts of the calves, or the inside of the legs near the ankles and feet. During pregnancy, varicose veins can happen around inner thigh, lower pelvic area, and buttocks.
Spider veins, or thread veins, are smaller, red in color, and usually found on the legs or the face. They tend to look like tree branches or spider webs. Spider veins can usually be seen under the skin, but do not make the skin bulge out like varicose veins.
Varicose veins and spider veins more likely affect woman than men. They are often painless and do not cause health problems.