What is a Cherry Angioma?
A cherry angioma, also referred to as a cherry hemangioma, Campbell de Morgan spots, or senile angiomas, is a common skin growth containing an abnormal proliferation of tiny blood vessels. These growths are benign and do not cause any discomfort. Cherry angiomas are usually found in adults 30 years of age or older. There is no known cause for why cherry angiomas appear. You should consult your dermatologist if you notice any changes in the characteristic of a cherry angioma or if you are having new skin growths.
What do Cherry Angiomas look like?
Cherry angiomas, as the name suggest, are cherry-red in appearance. Cherry angiomas, however, can also have a bluish and even a purplish hue. Some Cherry angiomas are flat, while others are slightly raised above the skin. Cherry angiomas are usually bright red due to the collection of small blood vessels. They range in size and shape, from being circular to oval-shaped. The size varies from being as tiny as the point of a needle to as large an an inch in diameter.
Cherry angiomas are unique in appearance but can be confused with spider angiomas which look like a red mole. An experienced dermatologist, however, can tell the difference between the two lesions. With spider angiomas, their color is not as bright red and fades when touched. Also, cherry angiomas may occasionally bleed, and become irritated, especially if aggravated by clothing or other external factors.
What is the cause of Cherry Angiomas?
Cherry angiomas are caused by a proliferation of endothelial cells. Endothelial cells are the cells which line the blood vessels. Cherry angiomas are formed from the dilation of the venules (these are tiny superficial blood vessels). As the venules dilate they become red and swollen. When these venues break, they become visible on the surface of the skin as a cherry angioma.
Cherry angiomas are a condition which is prevalent in adults over 30 years of age. Also lesions seems to get larger and more pronounced as individuals get older. In addition, there is a high incidence of cherry angiomas in pregnant women. This is said to occur due to fluctuations in hormone levels during pregnancy. Genetics is another factor believed to cause cherry angiomas. There are other factors as well such as liver dysfunction, and elevated levels of bromide within the body, in addition to environmental changes such as excessive sun exposure.
Do Cherry Angiomas Cause Physical Discomfort?
Cherry angiomas are a benign condition which usually goes unnoticed. There are times, however, where cherry angiomas may cause some discomfort. If Cherry angiomas become irritated from excessive rubbing, rupture, or bleed, they can be annoying and uncomfortable.
When to seek medical advice for cherry angiomas
Cherry angiomas are very common and there is no need to be concerned. If you develop new lesions or red spots, you should consult a dermatologist to determine if those red papules are in fact cherry angioma or another lesion or skin cancer. In addition, If you notice a change in the appearance of a red mole or lesion, you should schedule an appointment with your dermatologist. Your dermatologist will be able to tell you if the clinical changes in appearance warrant further evaluation and treatment. Your dermatologist may choose to perform a biopsy of the lesion and send it to a lab for histological review to rule out skin cancer or other dermatological condition. If you are concerned about a new or changing skin lesion, it is always best to contact your dermatologist, like Dr. Michele Green, to get the best medical advice.
Cherry Angioma Removal Options in NYC
The treatment and removal of cherry hemangiomas is usually done for cosmetic reasons. Most people who have cherry angiomas may choose to have them removed since they are unhappy with their cosmetic appearance. Cherry angiomas are not an indication of any underlying health issues or medical condition. There are times however, that removal of a cherry angioma is needed due to the lesion getting irritated and bleeding.
V-Beam /Pulsed dye laser treatment
Cherry Angiomas can be effectively treated with the V-Beam, Pulsed Dye Laser (PDL). The V-Beam laser is one of the most effective treatments for removing cherry angiomas. This laser technology has also been used for many years to effectively treat other skin conditions such as rosacea. The Pulsed Dye laser is considered the “gold standard” in dermatology for treating anything “red” and is able to treat broken blood vessels, stretch marks, bruising, keloids, acne, acne scars, leg veins, among other conditions. The V-Beam (PDL) utilizes laser light energy to target the redness focusing in on the red capillaries (collection of blood vessels) inside the angioma.
The V-beam laser works by delivering quick pulses of laser light energy to destroy the cherry angioma. The laser is unique as with each pulse of the laser the light energy emits a special colored dye to effectively treat the specific issue without damaging the surrounding skin. The laser light energy emitted from the V-beam is quickly absorbed by the blood vessels inside the angioma. The body’s natural healing process takes over as the blood vessels break up the area is slightly pink or scabbed for a few days. Your skin care routine for the treated area should be mild cleansing with gentle soap and water and an application of aquaphor ointment for a few days. The redness and any possible bruising will resolve completely, in a few days, eliminating the cherry angiomas.
Cryosurgery is another treatment option for removing cherry angiomas. This procedure was once very popular in dermatology. However, its popularity has diminished over the years as more effective means of treatment such as Cryosurgery also known as Cryotherapy should only be performed by aboard a certified dermatologist. Cryotherapy entails the use of liquid nitrogen. Liquid nitrogen needs to be stored carefully as it can be combustible. To remove the cherry angiomas the liquid nitrogen is gently applied unto a cotton swab; the swab is then gently pressed against the cherry angioma. The liquid nitrogen freezes the area on contact which can sometimes cause a blister. The blister then heals by forming a scab once the scabs fall of it should remove the cherry angioma which would have dried up from the freezing.
Shave Excision is an unpopular form of treatment for cherry angiomas due to the possibility of scarring. With an excision the area is prepped usually with a local anesthetic then a scalpel is used to shave off the lesion. There can be downtime with the shave removal as the wound needs time to properly heal.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is an effective light treatments for removal of cherry angiomas. Also known as the Photo Facial laser, the IPL works to reduce the redness and vascularity present in hemangiomas. The IPL emits light energy which is absorbed deep into the dermis unlike most other lasers IPL uses the 560 wavelength to target the treatment area. After the treatment the collection of blood from the dilated vessels dissipates a few days after treatment leaving clear skin. There may be a faint area of discoloration in the skin in the area where the hemangioma was previously located. This discoloration will fade over time with the use of proper skin care and sunscreen in the sun exposed areas.
Electrodesiccation, also known as electrocautery, is another treatment used often in removing cherry angiomas, pre-cancers, skin tags, skin cancer, and other benign skin growths. Although this treatment is quick, some individuals may experience some slight discomfort during treatment. Depending on your pain threshold, your dermatologist may recommend applying a topical anesthetic to the treatment area for 30-45 minutes before having the treatment performed. The topical anesthetic numbs the area before electrodessication so that you will not experience any discomfort during the treatment. The hyfrecator machine uses a tiny needle which heats up and destroys the blood vessels upon contact. Electrodesiccation treatment typically causes the skin to scab, which heals in a few days. It is important to refrain from prematurely picking the scab and allowing the skin to heal naturally, as forcing the scab can cause hypopigmentation or scarring.
Natural Remedies For Cherry Angioma Removal
Cherry angiomas can also be removed using natural remedies such as applying apple cider vinegar to the lesions. Other home remedies include iodine or tea tree oil to remove cherry angiomas. Removing cherry angioma using natural remedies has a down side, as they may not be effective and there is no scientific data to prove that these natural remedies are successful.