Have you ever heard the term Cherry angiomas? If you haven’t, that’s fine, not many people have. Many have, however, seen them on people or themselves, without knowing what they were looking at: cherry angiomas, also known as Campbell De Morgan spots or senile angiomas, are cherry red papules on the skin which contain an abnormal proliferation of blood vessels. They are called Campbell de Morgan spots in honor of the nineteenth-century British surgeon Campbell De Morgan, who was the first to note and describe them. They are the most common form of angioma and their presence usually increases with age.
Signs and symptoms:
- Cherry red and purple bumps
- Appear on torso, hands, arms, legs, face, scalp and neck
- Young angiomas are the size of a pinhead
- Usually spongy, smooth and mushroom shaped
- Painless and harmless
- Bleeding can occur upon contact Cherry angiomas on the scalp usually bleed due to accidental brushing or combing.
Although harmless, it is important to keep an eye on angiomas. If they change shape, color, or start to itch, consult your doctor immediately. The appearance of these clusters of blood vessels is usually hereditary and often happens over the age of thirty; their proliferation often increases as a person ages. They are usually red in color, but can also be blue or yellow depending on the skin.
Cherry angiomas are actually clusters of capillaries at the top of the skin that form a round dome which can also have a flat top. They are usually about a millimeter in diameter but can grow up to about two millimeters in width. As it grows, an angioma can become more rounded at the top and tends to expand in thickness. They can also bleed profusely if they are scratched or cut since the blood vessels are so close to the skin surface.
There are two causes for the formation of angiomas: the formation of new blood vessels from pre-existing vessels (called angiogenesis) and the formation of entirely new vessels, which usually occurs during the development of the embryo and the fetus (called vasculogenesis).
The cherry angiomas are benign and not a sign of cancer or other diseases. They are not to be confused with the spider angiomas which occur deeper underneath the skin and whose extensions radiate outwards in the form of a spider’s web – the occurrence of more than three spider angiomas in a person may be a sign of liver disease.
If you feel self-conscious about yours and are thinking about getting rid of them, there are two ways in which they can be removed. The first method is electrocautery – a process of eradicating the tissue by using a small probe with an electric current running through. Bear in mind, however, that this method can cause scarring. Another way of removal is with pulsed dye laser – a laser that gives off enough heat to burn the lesion off quickly and with less chance of skin damage.
The most natural removal method, however, is by using apple cider vinegar: applying it to the angiomas will dry them out and they should fall off by themselves after several weeks. Although it is more time consuming and it will take longer, this approach is incomparably healthier.
Diet modification: Eating more fruit and vegetables will reduce the chances of angiomas forming as they increase the skin’s elasticity, while processed and canned food, as well as junk food, greatly increases that possibility.
Topical herbs: Witch Hazel can reduce the probability of bacteria growing on your skin which can in turn influence angioma formations.
Drink plenty of fluids: Drinking water will keep your skin hydrated and therefore healthier. This is another important part in preserving your skin’s elasticity.
Avoid stress: Stress is a major risk factor for cherry angiomas forming. Learn to do stress reduction activities such as focused breathing, yoga, guided imagery and listening to music.
This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances.