What Makes Veins Appear Blue?

Advanced Dermatology, PC Blog What Makes Veins Appear Blue?

Look down at your hands and seek out some visible veins. You’ll notice that they are blue in color, but why? When it comes to your circulatory system, there are always two things that are certain: your blood is red, yet your veins appear blue underneath the skin, not red. For most folks, these are just the facts of life, but for those that are inquisitive, the stark contrast in color can be alarming and very confusing. Well, fear not! Today we’re here to uncover the mystery.

  1. Light Absorption – Remember that light spectrum you learned about way back when in grade school? Something about how each color had its own light wavelength? Well, when light penetrates your skin deep down to the veins, only blue light is reflected, absorbing all other colors. This explains why the color blue is so striking when examining your veins.
  2. Deoxygenated Blood – When blood is depleted of its oxygen, it appears darker in color, almost brown. The superficial veins that you can see through the skin mostly carry deoxygenated blood back to the heart in order for it to recharge and circulate new, oxygen-rich blood back to your organs. When blood hits the oxygen-filled air, it becomes bright red, which is another reason the blue/red contrast is so heavy.
  3. Color Perception – Your brain will naturally compare the dark tones that have been absorbed into your blood vessels to the warmer tones that have been reflected off your skin. This makes them appear even more blue than they really are, based on your perception of color.

Are there any bright blue veins visible on your legs that you’d rather do without? If so, Advanced Dermatology has everything you need to create a personalized plan to get your vascular health under control.

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