A cherry angioma is a mole-like skin growth made up of small blood vessels, or capillaries. Cherry angiomas can vary in size. The causes of cherry angiomas are largely unknown, though experts believe they tend to be genetic.

Angiomas are benign tumors that result from an overgrowth of capillaries. Cherry angiomas are the most common type of angioma.

It is rare for children to develop these noncancerous lesions. Cherry angiomas most commonly appear in middle-aged adults.

Cherry angiomas are also known as senile angiomas or Campbell de Morgan spots.

These benign tumors are related to aging and tend to increase in number as a person becomes older. They occur in 75 percent of adults over the age of 75.

The appearance of a cherry angioma should not usually cause concern, as they are almost always harmless.

However, if you notice a sudden outbreak of several lesions, visit a doctor, as they could be another type of angioma. Although rare, these spider angiomas could signal a developing problem, such as liver damage.

Do cherry angiomas turn cancerous?

Cherry angiomas are typically benign. However, any changes in how a mole looks can potentially be a sign of skin cancer.

Doctors also advise seeking medical attention if the angioma begins to bleed, feel uncomfortable, or change in appearance. Those who wish to have a doctor remove the lesions for cosmetic purposes should schedule an appointment and review their options.

Cherry angiomas get their name from their appearance. Their bright red color occurs due to the dilated capillaries.

However, cherry angiomas can vary in color, regardless of a person’s skin type or tone, and may appear blue or purple. If a person applies pressure to them, they do not usually turn white, or blanch.

They tend to be more noticeable in lighter skin tones.

These angiomas can also vary in size but commonly grow to be 1-5 millimeters (mm) in diameter. As they get bigger, the angiomas usually form round, domed shapes with smooth, flat tops.

The growths can appear anywhere on the body but most often on the chest, stomach, and back. Multiple cherry angiomas often appear in groups.

Similar-looking skin growths

It is easy to confuse cherry angiomas with spider angiomas, which also have a signature red mole. The difference between the two is the distinctive, reddish extensions that spread out from the red spot of the spider angioma.

The extensions look similar to the threads in a spider’s web. Spider angiomas also commonly blanch, or lose their color, when compressed.

Depending on a person’s skin tone, they may look red or purple.

The causes of cherry angiomas are largely unknown, though experts believe they tend to be genetic.

Age contributes heavily, and cherry angiomas increase in number and size after middle age.

They are also associated with pregnancy.

Cherry angiomas and bromine exposure

Some research suggests exposure to bromides may be a cause of cherry angiomas.

Bromine is a chemical element in many everyday items, including baking ingredients, prescription drugs, and plastic.

At present, there is little firm evidence to support this theory. Researchers needs to conduct more studies in this area.

One older study, for example, followed two laboratory assistants who developed cherry angiomas after exposure to bromine compounds. However, this is a very limited sample and the study, which was not a controlled study, took place in 2001.

If someone is often in prolonged, direct contact with bromides, they should speak with a doctor about possible harmful effects. However, evidence based research recommends more controlled studies are needed to confirm the link between the two.

Most often, treatment for cherry angiomas is strictly cosmetic, as they pose no serious threat.

While it is possible to remove angiomas, they can sometimes return after treatment. Here are four common options for treating angiomas:


This method involves cutting or shaving the lesion from the skin. The doctor will usually apply a local anesthetic first to minimize pain.

There may be some pain and discomfort after the procedure, however. Excision can also result in some scarring.


Electrodesiccation is a method, also known as electrocautery, that involves burning off skin growths. Dermatologists commonly use this for benign tumors, serious skin cancers, and pre-cancers.

First, the doctor will likely inject a local anesthetic. Then, they will touch the abnormal tissue with an electric needle to destroy the blood vessels and scrape off the angioma.

The doctor then dresses the wound, and it remains that way until the wound heals.

As with excision, this method can cause some discomfort after the procedure. Electrodesiccation usually leaves a small, white scar.


This is another common method used to treat skin growths that works by freezing off the tissue. The doctor will spray or swab liquid nitrogen on the area to freeze it.

This causes the angioma to blister or peel before falling off. In some cases, the angioma may scab before removal. This treatment might be less effective than others.

Laser removal

A laser passes through the skin, and the blood vessels in the angioma absorb the beam. After the treatment, the angioma should disappear, or turn gray or darker color.

People should see improvement after each treatment for cherry angioma, although a single treatment may be enough to treat smaller angiomas.

Results may vary by skin tone.

Removing cherry angiomas at home

Doctors do not recommend that people attempt to remove a cherry angioma at home for a number of reasons.

Firstly, a doctor needs to confirm that the skin growth is a cherry angioma and not a lesion that needs a more careful look.

Secondly, attempting to shave, cut, burn, or freeze a cherry angioma can be very painful and lead to infection or more significant scarring if done by an amateur. Doctors receive professional training to remove skin growths, and they do so in sterile environments using sterile tools.

Anyone who wishes to undergo a cherry angioma removal for cosmetic reasons should consult their doctor to discuss the options.

There are a number of home remedies that claim to use apple cider vinegar, iodine, or tea tree oil to shrink or remove cherry angiomas. However, no scientific evidence confirms that any of these natural solutions are effective.

Talk to a doctor to check for safe methods before taking or applying any new medication.

Below are some commonly asked questions about cherry angiomas.

Why am I suddenly getting cherry angiomas?

The sudden development of multiple and extensive cherry angiomas is known as eruptive cherry angiomas.

This can occur due to:

However, it is also possible a person is suddenly getting cherry angiomas simply due to aging or genetics.

What medical conditions are cherry angiomas linked to?

Cherry angiomas are usually benign and are not directly linked to any particular medical conditions. However, they are often associated with the following:

  • liver transplants
  • graft versus host disease
  • cerebral cavernous malformations (this sees a person have abnormal clusters of blood vessels in the brain)
  • people who have familial nevus flammeus (this is a type of birthmark that runs in families)

Do cherry angiomas mean liver disease?

No, the appearance of cherry angiomas does not mean a person has liver disease. However, they are often associated with liver transplants.

Another type of angioma, called spider angiomas, can signal the development of liver damage.

What can be mistaken for cherry angioma?

Cherry angiomas are usually easy to diagnose. However, it can be mistaken for other types of angiomas or the following:

As angiomas are not dangerous, the outlook is generally good with or without removal.

In general, the various angioma removal methods are similar in discomfort and effectiveness levels. Patients should discuss with a doctor which option is best for them.

Remember that although it is possible to remove angiomas, they can sometimes return after treatment. People should monitor healing and improvement after any tumor removal.

A person should report and worsening or abnormal changes to a doctor.