Red spots my doctor says are hemangiomas – anything I can do???

Hello Doctor Irwin, I love your site and have followed your recommendations on many occasions with great success, so thanks for doing it!!! I have a question regarding little red spots on my skin. My PCP told me they are called cherry angiomas. For as long as I can remember I have always had a few of them on my body, but now I am close to 40 and I have been getting more and more of them all over. The ones that bother me the most are on my neck and on my face which I have been covering up with a concealer. Is there anything I can do to get rid of them or at least reduce the bright red color of them? I have been trying to exfoliate with 10% glycolic acid, but I don't think I am seeing any improvement. Also, will I keep getting them for the rest of my life? Is there anything I can do to prevent them? I am extremely diligent about sunscreen, but I am not sure if this is what causes them. THANK YOU!!!

Thanks for writing and thank you for going to your doctor and getting the diagnosis of these pinned down.   You are smart to make sure red spots aren’t skin cancers because they can start as small red, brown, black or even clear spots that just don’t go away.   So friends and readers please go see your doctor if you have anything you’re not sure of!!!

To answer your question, most dermatologists will treat these hemangiomas one of two ways:

  1.  A hyfercator which looks like a small electric pen attached to a long cord.  It’s really a sound wave (radiofrequency) and is pretty effective on the face and neck especially for smaller hemangiomas approximately 1-3 mm in size.  As they get larger, it gets harder to treat them with the hyfercator.  Also, ones on the body tend to be more resistent to treatment.  You may need several treatments and they sometimes regrow.  This option tends to be inexpensive.
  2. For larger hemangiomas or ones on the legs that are more resistent, we often use a laser (pulsed dye is good) or even an IPL if it’s powerful and the settings can be customized.   Some offices will also use a KTP laser. This option is more expensive.  

Generally, both options are safe and risk of scarring is low but a small scar the size of the original hemangioma is always a possibility.   Plan on some crusting and irritation for 1-2 weeks after treatment.   Hope this helps!    Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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