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What are cherry angiomas?

What are cherry angiomas?
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In your 30s, you might start noticing little red circular bumps popping up on your body. They look like bright red moles, but they’re actually growths of blood vessels called cherry angiomas.  No one is sure what causes them, but it seems to be genetic. So if your mum and dad had them, there’s a good chance you’ll get some, too.

Could it be something more concerning?

Could it be something more concerning?
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Cherry angiomas aren’t dangerous, so there’s no medical reason to remove them. Still, you should schedule a visit with your dermatologist when you notice one, says Dr Anthony Rossi. What you think is a harmless growth could actually be more sinister. “Usually we think of melanoma as being a dark, black mole, but there are other types of skin cancer like melanoma or Merkel cell carcinoma that can present as little red papules,” he says.

Whether you want to take the cherry angioma off or not, your dermatologist can check it – and the rest of your body – for signs of cancer.

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Can I remove them myself?

Can I remove them myself?
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Once you know your spot is a harmless cherry angioma, you might be tempted to snip it off at home. Bad idea.

A DIY method could leave a scar, and because cherry angiomas are made of blood vessels, a basic Band-Aid might not stop the bleeding. “They could go to urgent care to stop the bleeding,” says dermatologist, Dr Ivy Lee. “That’s much more expensive than ever getting it treated.”

Zap them off

Zap them off
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For small cherry angiomas, your dermatologist could use a device called a hyfrecator. “It’s basically a very fine-tip needle and delivers a little bit of heat and electricity to seal up those blood vessels,” says Dr Lee. Your dermatologist will apply a numbing cream first, but the treatment might still hurt a bit, she says.

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When laser treatment makes sense

When laser treatment makes sense
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Larger spots might require a laser that can target the specific blood vessels. “It’s pretty cool – you can see them get dark and then involute and get smaller,” says Dr Rossi. That option is also less painful than the needle, says Dr Lee. Each pass of the laser feels sort of like the snap of a rubber band.

Laser treatments can get expensive, so you could also ask your dermatologist to shave the cherry angioma off with a scalpel – no fancy equipment required, says Dr Rossi.

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Freezing them off may be an option

Freezing them off may be an option
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If all this cutting and zapping isn’t your speed, consider freezing the spot off with cryotherapy. Just beware: freezing equipment isn’t as precise, so it’s more likely to leave a dark or light mark. Dr Lee only recommends it for very light-skinned patients, whose skin would be less likely to show a white mark.

And no shame if all this doesn’t sound worth the hassle. “I want to reassure folks these are benign, and only if they bother them do they have to treat them,” says Dr Lee.

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Source: RD.com

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