Should You Worry if Your Skin Has Little Red Bumps Like This One on It?
Marks on our bodies tend to freak us out. The worry isn’t unfounded: New moles (and changes in existing ones) can be signs of skin cancer. So any girl’s got to wonder: What about those little bright red dots or bumps on my bod: Worrisome or totally normal?
First, the lingo: Those skin growths—which are usually the size of a pinpoint, sometimes a bit bigger—are called cherry angiomas. And the good news is, they are completely benign, says Gary Goldenberg, M.D., an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
“These growths represent a collection of small blood vessels and can look red, deep blue, or purple,” he says. They pop up, he explains, when there’s an overgrowth of blood vessels in one area.
Both men and women can be prone to cherry angiomas, and it all comes down to genetics. (So if you’re wondering if they’ll show up one day, skin-check Mom or Dad.) Most people develop the suckers in their late twenties, and they can continue to pop up throughout life. Docs aren’t sure as to why the spots make themselves known at that particular time, but Goldenberg says it’s likely that that’s when we’re genetically programmed to develop these lesions. Had ‘em your whole life or don’t see any just quite yet? “In some patients, they may appear sooner or later in life,” says Goldberg. Great.
For the most part, there’s no need to do anything about your cherry angiomas (besides embrace them). Though if the marks tend to bleed easily if traumatized, you should see your doc to rule out anything more serious, says Goldenberg. And if the bumps are in places you’d rather they not be (like on your face), they can be treated for cosmetic purposes, he notes.
You can zap ’em away with a nearly-painless treatment using a pulsed dye laser like a VBeam, says Goldenberg. The device produces light that destroys abnormal blood vessels. Just keep in mind, though, that this can get kind of pricey. According to RealSelf, a community-driven website with stats on cosmetic and aesthetic treatments, the average cost of one session is $375, and it may take multiple sessions if you’ve got more than one spot you want removed. Plus, cherry angiomas can come back even after you have them lasered. Hey, at least they’re harmless.