Cherry Angiomas, also known as Senile Angiomas and Campbell de Morgan Spots, are a type of skin growth which appear like a pimple but can be on any part of the body, are bright red in colour and are permanent once they appear. Generally, they appear on shoulders, upper arms or around the midriff. Females of age 30 years or above are most susceptible to growth of Cherry Angiomas on their body. Although most Cherry Angiomas appear as small red dots and can easily blend in with fair skin, some can be bigger in size and appear to be like a lesion. They are not harmful and generally do not need medical attention unless they start bleeding.
The exact cause for the appearance of Cherry Angiomas is as yet unknown. However, research has shown that people having these red spots usually have a family history of them, i.e. it appears to be a genetically transferred condition. Continued exposure to harmful chemicals, polluted air etc. can also cause these spots to appear. Sometimes, after a pregnancy, the mother may develop Cherry Angiomas due to rapid formation of new blood vessels.
A Cherry Angioma can be differentiated from a mole of pimple by the following symptoms :
- It is a bright red or a deep red, as opposed to the brownish colour of a mole.
- If it is small, it can be smooth but the bigger ones tend to stick out from the skin.
- It is usually less than half a centimetre in diameter but can grow bigger with age.
Just like moles, Cherry Angiomas also just seem to appear out of nowhere. You might look down in the mirror some day and notice a small red dot which was not there before. Cherry Angiomas do not pain or itch so it is difficult to notice when it is going to appear. But if you notice small red dots on your body which grow larger over the years, you can be reasonably sure they are Cherry Angiomas.
A doctor can easily identify a Cherry Angiomas by visual inspection due to its unique symptoms. In 99 percent cases no test is conducted before diagnosis. However, sometimes, a skin biopsy may be done to confirm. A biopsy involves taking a small sample of the skin and studying it under a microscope.
The first step to diagnosis is a physical examination of these red spots. At most, the doctor may examine them under a magnifying glass. He may also ask you questions related to medical family history since Cherry Angioma has been known to be a genetic disease. If you have been pregnant previously, then you must disclose this fact to the doctor. A skin biopsy may be carried out in very rare cases before the final diagnosis.
A Cherry Angioma, though unwanted and possibly ugly-looking, is nevertheless quite harmless. You won’t even notice it is there as long as it is small. Even when it grows bigger, it does not pain or itch or give any sensation at all. However, some people choose to get it surgically removed. Removing a big Cherry Angioma can become necessary if they grow in uncomfortable places or which bleed a lot.
Cherry Angioma is said to be a genetic disease and without there being any other specific cause, there is really nothing much that one can do to prevent it. Some studies have shown that high levels of bromine in the body can cause Cherry Angioma. So, make sure you stay away from sources of bromide like pesticides, hair colours, plastics etc. to prevent the growth of Cherry Angioma.
Types of Cherry Angioma :
The word ‘angioma’ basically means a skin growth caused due to blood vessels. Cherry Angioma is itself a type of Angioma, the other two being Spider Angioma in which small dots appear close together on the skin making it look like a spider’s web; and Venous Lakes which are bluish growths ap pearing on lips and ears. There are no further sub-types of Cherry Angioma.
Cherry Angioma, by itself is pretty harmless. It can be compared with a mole on any part of the body. Just like a mole appears and stays with you throughout their life without causing any harm, a Cherry Angioma also does not cause harm, except that it may make you look less attractive. Sometimes, Cherry Angioma can bleed due to constant rubbing with coarse cloth but it is nothing more than a normal skin wound. However, if they bleed quite frequently, a doctor should be consulted.
Home Remedies :
As long as the Cherry Angioma is not bleeding or changing in appearance at short intervals, it can easily be treated with the following home remedies :
- Iodine – A deficiency of Iodine can cause these red spots. As soon as you notice the first one, increase the iodine content in your daily consumption and prevent more from appearing.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – One of the most effective methods of removing a Cherry Angioma is by applying a cotton ball soaked in Apple Cider Vinegar to the angioma. Do it regularly for a few days and chances are that it will fade away or fall off.
- Tea Tree Oil – Try applying a few drops of tea tree oil mixed with vinegar to the Cherry angioma to dry it out until it disappears.
Treatment is generally not required for Cherry Angioma, but for complicated cases, the following procedures for treatment may be used :
- Cryosurgery – The Cherry Angioma is frozen with some liquid nitrogen such that the extreme temperature kills it. This is one of the easiest and most popular forms of treatment.
- Electrocauterization – The angioma is burned through an electric current which is passed to it through a tiny probe. This is a little risky method as the rest of the body is also at a risk to the current.
- Laser Surgery – Again, an effective but expensive treatment with uses pulsed dye laser to burn the angioma. This treatment can also leave scars or bruises.
- Shave Excision – This procedure involves shaving off or slicing off the lesion layer by layer till it is completely removed. This is often used as an alternative to a cutting out the lesion which is a bigger surgery.
Cherry Angiomas and Cancer :
Cherry Angiomas are non-cancerous and have never been known to have any link to cancer whatsoever. But many a times, a cancerous growth is assumed to be a Cherry Angiomas and is ignored. The difference between the two is that while Cherry Angiomas grow and change colour, it usually happens over a period of years. On the other hand, a cancer growth on the skin will follow an irregular pattern, grow at a rapid pace and change appearance very frequently.