An Overview of Cherry Angioma

These skin growths are most common in adults over the age of 30

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A cherry angioma is a bright red or purple spot on your skin that's made up of blood vessels. These spots often appear on the torso, but they can develop anywhere, including the arms, legs, chest, and even the scalp.

Cherry angiomas are benign (noncancerous) skin growths and are extremely common in adults over 30.

Also Known As:

  • Cherry hemangiomas
  • Campbell de Morgan spots
  • Senile angioma
how to treat cherry angiomas

Verywell / Laura Porter

Cherry Angioma Symptoms

A cherry angioma is classified as a bright, cherry-red or purple spot, which is due to the dilated capillaries they’re made up of. They can range widely in size, from a tiny dot to several millimeters in diameter.

Cherry angiomas are commonly round to oval-shaped. They can be smooth and flat, or they can develop as a raised bump on the skin. It’s also possible for a cherry angioma to start out small and flat and grow into a larger bump. This shouldn’t cause alarm—it’s still harmless.

Cherry angiomas may also occasionally bleed, especially if irritated by clothing or other external factors. Again, this is a normal symptom and shouldn’t make you worry.

Causes

Cherry angiomas are one of the more common skin growths and, while it’s possible for children to have them, they're most common in adults over the age of 30.

Genetics play a role in how likely you are to have cherry angiomas. If your parents and grandparents have them, there’s a good chance you will, too. Exposure to certain chemicals and gases in the environment can also cause cherry angiomas to appear in clusters. They're also more common in certain climates.

It’s also possible that hormones play a role in the appearance of cherry angiomas, as they're often discovered after childbirth. This is believed to be linked to the increase of prolactin, which is the hormone that stimulates breastmilk production.

Older research published in the International Journal of Dermatology found more than 50% of adults have cherry angiomas on their skin. It's normal to get more of them as you get older.

Diagnosis

Doctors often diagnose a cherry angioma just by looking at it. They may request a biopsy if they suspect it's a potentially harmful skin growth instead.

Your doctor may also want to check for a different type of skin growth called spider angiomas. These are closely similar to cherry angiomas, appearing as small red dots surrounded by thin capillaries (giving them a spider-like appearance).

Most common during pregnancy and in children, spider angiomas that appear suddenly and in groups may be a warning sign for liver damage. If your doctor isn't sure which type of angioma you have, they may run blood or imaging tests to check your liver health.

Treatment

Cherry angiomas don’t typically need to be treated. However, if they're bothering you or bleeding frequently, they can be treated in non-invasive ways that cause minimal to no scarring. These treatments are also relatively painless.

Common removal methods include:

  • Electrodesiccation: The spot is touched with an electric needle that destroys the blood vessels.
  • Liquid nitrogen or cryotherapy: Using a probe, cold gas is sprayed on the angioma, causing it to fall off in a few hours.
  • Laser: A concentrated laser beam targets the angioma and shrinks it, eventually causing it to disappear.
  • Excision: Large cherry angiomas may be removed with a sharp razor in a procedure that takes less than 10 minutes and involves local anesthesia.

With any treatment procedure, it’s possible that a cherry angioma will grow back over time. If so, you can get it removed again.

A Word From Verywell

Depending on where they are on your body and how many of them you have, you may feel self-conscious about cherry angiomas. But almost everyone has one or more of them by age 70, making these skin growths a frequent issue many people deal with.

If you think you have a cherry angioma, and especially if you have a spot that's grown and changed over time, mention it to your doctor so they can confirm whether it's a cherry angioma or something more serious.

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  2. Askari N, Vaez-Mahdavi MR, Moaiedmohseni S, et al. Association of chemokines and prolactin with cherry angioma in a sulfur mustard exposed population--Sardasht-Iran cohort study. Int Immunopharmacol. 2013;17(3):991-5. doi:10.1016/j.intimp.2012.12.016

  3. Plunkett A, Merlin K, Gill D, Zuo Y, Jolley D, Marks R. The frequency of common nonmalignant skin conditions in adults in central Victoria, Australia. Int J Dermatol. 1999;38(12):901-8. doi:10.1046/j.1365-4362.1999.00856.x

  4. American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. Angiomas.

  5. MedlinePlus. Cherry angioma. Updated October 14, 2018.

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