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why do veins appear blue under the skin

Blood is always red, actually. Veins look blue because light has to penetrate the skin to illuminate them, blue and red light (being of different wavelengths) penetrate with different degrees of success. What makes it back to your eye is the blue light. Meanwhile, here s what happens to the blood in your body:
The pumps blood to your lungs to pick up oxygen. The oxygen-rich blood is then pumped out to your body through your arteries. It s bright red at this point. From your arteries, the blood flows through tiny blood vessels called capillaries, where it gives up its oxygen to the body s tissues.

Your lips have a lot of these capillaries, which is why they re red. Your blood, now exhausted of its oxygen, is dark red as it now returns to your heart through your veins. This article has been corrected from the original version. Follow Life s Little Mysteries on Twitter @. We re also on. Your blood is always red, even when it is deoxygenated, so why do your veins look blue? They aren t actually blue, but there are reasons why veins look that way: Skin absorbs blue light:P Subcutaneous fat only allows blue light to penetrate skin all the way to veins, so this is the color that is reflected back.

Less energetic, warmer colors are absorbed by skin before they can travel that far. Blood also absorbs light, so appear dark. Arteries have muscular walls, rather than thin walls like veins, but they likely would appear the same color if they were visible through the skin. Deoxygenated blood is dark red:P Most veins carry deoxygenated blood, which is a darker color than oxygenated blood. The deep color of blood makes veins appear dark, too. Different sizes of vessels appear different colors:P If you look closely at your veins, for example, along with the inside of your wrist, you ll see your veins are not all the same color.

The diameter and thickness of the walls of the veins play a part in the way light is absorbed and how much blood is seen through the vessel. Vein color depends on your perception:P In part, you see veins as more blue than they really are because your brain compares the color of the blood vessel against the brighter and warmer tone of your skin. What Color Are Veins? So, if veins aren t blue, you may be wondering about their true color.

If you have ever eaten meat, you already know the answer to this question! Blood vessels appear reddish-brown in color. There isn t much difference in color between arteries and veins. They do present different cross-sections. Arteries are thick-walled and muscular. Veins have thin walls. Reference: Kienle, A. , Lilge, L. , Vitkin, I. A. , Patterson, M. S. , Wilson, B. C. , Hibst, R. , Steiner, R. (1996). P Why do veins appear blue? A new look at an old question. PApplied Optics, 35(7), 1151-1160.

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