Cherry angiomas

What Is a Cherry Angioma?

Cherry angiomas are round (circular or oval) skin growths that appear bright red (hence the name cherry), are usually small in size, most commonly develop on the torso/trunk and most often are non-cancerous. According to a report published in Case Reports in Dermatology, they’re caused from tiny bulging blood vessels and abnormal proliferation of skin cells but usually don’t cause any pain or long-term health problems. (2)

Some people also refer to cherry angiomas as senile angiomas, capillary angioma, cherry hemangioma, Campbell de Morgan spots or simply cherry red skin papules/moles. Because most cherry angiomas are normally benign (non-cancerous) and not harmful, most doctors choose to leave them alone unless there’s reason for concern.

Adults over 30 years old are most likely to develop cherry angiomas, especially if they have family members who also suffer from similar skin papules. (3) Cherry angiomas affect people differently, varying in color and size, sometimes darkening with age or lightning depending on someone’s exposure to the sun, and in some people emerging in more than one location as they get older.

Cherry Angioma Symptoms

Due to their bright appearance, your doctor or dermatologist should be able to tell you have a cherry angioma without needing to do any extensive testing. While most people form cherry angiomas on the abdomen and trunk, it’s also possible for them develop on the shoulders, upper chest, scalp, face, neck and arms, especially with older age.

What do cherry angiomas look like? Common signs and symptoms that you’ve developed a cherry angioma are:

  • Having a bright “cherry red” growth, mole or papule on your skin. Sometimes cherry angiomas can be other colors besides bright red, including red, blue, purple or even black.
  • Some cherry angiomas are raised while others are flat and blend into the skin more smoothly. With age, angiomas tend to become more raised.
  • Cherry angiomas are usually small, sometimes even as tiny as a pinhead. In some cases, cherry angiomas can become larger, but most are under a quarter inch in diameter.
  • It’s possible to notice bleeding, swelling and other signs of irritation in some cases. This is most likely to occur if you scratch, pick or rub the angioma, or if you shave over it and break open the top layer.
  • Most times the angioma feels firm to the touch, especially in the center.
  • Although the brightness of a cherry angioma might fade and darken at times, the appearance of angiomas should stay mostly consistent over time. If you notice changes in size, texture or surrounding area (this goes for other skin growths, beauty marks or skin lesion as well), tell your doctor since this can be a sign of another problem.
  • If your angioma seems rounder and darker in the middle but has signs of redness spreading from the center, you might actually have what’s called a spider angioma (more on this below) rather than a cherry angioma.