Red Spots

Lots of women have been Going Red lately. “Go Red” is a campaign to raise awareness of heart disease in women. Some women I see are often going red for a different reason: they’re covered in little red spots called cherry angiomas.

Cherry angiomas are tiny lumps of overgrown blood vessels in the skin. Their name derives from their often bright or deep red color. Like a cherry. Get it?

In your thirties and forties you might have a few. By the time you’re 80, you’ll probably have many (hence their other, more unfortunate name: senile angiomas). They cluster on the chest and back and can number in the hundreds. Although they grow on men and women equally, women are more likely to see a physician to have them checked.

Cherry angiomas are harmless, but many people hate the way they look. Fortunately, they’re easy to treat. Each little red spot represents a tiny, tangled knot of blood vessels. Treatments destroy the tiny vessels, making the red spot disappear. Treatments include:

Liquid nitrogen: A blast of icy cold air freezes the vessels. Often a blister develops the next day and can leave a lightened spot.

Electrocautery: A zap of electricity burns the vessels. It can sometimes leave a tiny scar.

Laser: The blood in the vessels absorbs a blast of light energy, exploding the tiny vessels and removing the spot. The ruptured vessel can cause a bruise that lasts for weeks.

All three methods are effective at removing the red spots, although each hurts a little and each usually requires multiple treatments. The more destructive the treatment, the more likely it is to work the first time, but the more likely it is to leave a scar.

It can be difficult to determine if a red spot on your skin is a harmless cherry angioma or if it is a skin cancer. If you have spots that are changing, bleeding, or multiplying quickly, or if you have any concerns, then you should see a physician.

Photo: Bensonkua (flickr)

20 thoughts on “Red Spots”

  1. That is very interesting. I’ve never heard of cherry angiomas. I don’t think I have any of them and I hope I never develop cherry angiomas in the future. This is the first time I’ve visited your website and I am looking forward to reading more. Have a terrific Monday!

  2. I love the cherry photo to illustrate cherry angiomas. It’s funny that in derm we’re so food descriptive. I actually always picture beautiful cherries in my mind when I explain cherry angiomas to a patient! What conditioning. Thanks for the chuckle.
    Cynthia Bailey MD

  3. I’m 31 and 2 years ago I had an angioma develop in my ear. I had no idea what it was, but when it grew to the size of a small pea in the space of two months, I went to my dermatologist and he removed it with laser.

  4. Hi, your blog is cute. Could you please advice me how I can protect my hair form dirt, smoke-pollution. I travel 5 hours daily in a college bus. And I apply oil regularly. I’m not able to judge what kind of scalp I have. Maybe it’s dry, because I see some white flakes on it after I shampoo and apply conditioner. And I’m worried about my hair at sidewards on my head. I knew that every boy loses it in teenage. Now I’m 18 1/2 years old. I lost an inch on both sides of my head. If I shampoo daily, I’m worried whether I may lose more at the sides. Please suggest a good remedy for my hair. I’ve tried to maintain my hair by washing it daily with drinking water as sebum attracts dirt. But the idea was deniable before achieving success. Practiced it for many days. One day, I saw the white flakes again. So I started thinking that my hair is dry. Can I continue with washing my hair just with water daily or it better to use shampoo for my hair type or oil. Please reply. Thank you.

  5. This is such a cute name for a skin condition. I bet it doesnt look as cute though…

  6. Hm. I always called them “Strawberry Cysts” myself, because they reminded me of the skin tags I also called cysts, but they were red like strawberries.

    I’ve actually been getting them and skin tags since I was a very small child. My mom gets a lot of both too, always has, and my maternal grandma also had a lot.

    I just had one removed from my head and another under the breast. Mom has one on her head too up in the hair but they won’t remove it because apparently it’s right on top of some major blood vessels.

  7. Christina says:

    Hmmm I wonder if this is similar to telegentasia or if it’s the same thing at all since I have telegentasia and lasers was the recommended solution.

  8. Christina says:

    whoops I totally spelled that wrong. Telangiectasia hahaha@Christina

  9. Wow, that’s interesting.

    I’ve been getting more and more and hate them! I knew there had to be a way to get rid of them, but hadn’t looked into it yet.

    Thanks for the info!


  10. I have a bunch of them & always wondered what the were. I have always had a lot of moles (I prefer to call the beauty marks) so this just looked like a red one. They don’t bother me & they are small so I’ll skip all of the painful proceedures thankyouverymuch.

  11. Oh finally I know what that red spot on my boob is that has been there for as long as I can remember. Thanks for that. 😀

  12. Nice article. I would like to know how much each treatment costs approximately?

  13. Oh finally I know what that red spot on my boob is that has been there for as long as I can remember. Thanks for that. 😀

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