Are Red Moles on Skin Dangerous? Here’s What Derms Have to Say

Also known as cherry angiomas.

<p>Jacob Wackerhausen/Getty Images</p>

Jacob Wackerhausen/Getty Images

Red moles on the skin, also known as cherry angiomas, might look a bit alarming at first, but are nothing to fret about. These little, freckle-looking red dots on the skin can develop on anyone and seem to increase with age, too

Below, we’ve asked two dermatologists for their insight on what these little moles are, what causes them, whether you need to get them checked out, and how to get them removed, too.

What Are Cherry Angiomas?

Cherry angiomas are benign skin growths made up of blood vessels, which gives them their bright red color. “They usually start out flat and may become raised over time,” says Dendy Engleman, a board-certified dermatologist and Mohs surgeon at Shafer Clinic Fifth Avenue. “These growths are very common and usually develop after age 30—they can also occur in pregnancy and are hereditary, too.”

Although cherry angiomas can resemble moles, they are not cancerous and are overall harmless.

What Causes Red Moles on Skin?

While we cannot say for sure what the real cause of cherry angiomas is, they are strongly linked to the natural aging process, with higher occurrences of this growth in older demographics. “Genetics are thought to influence whether or not an individual will develop cherry angiomas over time,” says Dr. Engelman.

Interestingly, according to Michael I Jacobs, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and Associate Professor of Dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College, spending too much time in the sun and other environmental factors can actually worsen cherry angiomas or even cause more to appear over time.

Should You Get Red Moles on Skin Checked Out?

Extensive studies have not been done on cherry angiomas, but it is thought that hormone changes, certain medical conditions, as well as sun exposure can contribute to the presence of cherry angiomas. Even though they are generally harmless, Dr. Engelman advises consulting a dermatologist if you notice any unusual changes or if there’s a sudden development or increase in number, as it can mask underlying medical issues such as liver disease.

If you see red moles on skin growing or changing color, or think it could be a mole instead of a cherry angioma, Dr. Jacobs says it would be worth checking out to ensure it is not cancerous or any other skin condition.

How to Get Red Moles on Skin Removed

Suppose you want to remove a cherry angioma because it is causing discomfort or for cosmetic reasons. In that case, in-office methods include burning, freezing, shaving, electrodesiccation, or laser (like the Vbeam laser). “There’s no way to stop the cherry angioma from developing,” explains Dr. Engelman. “However, you should maintain a healthy lifestyle and stay mobile to maintain blood circulation, which could potentially reduce the risk of cherry angiomas forming.”

In most cases, cherry angiomas do not go away on their own. Once they develop, they tend to persist indefinitely unless professionally removed. Dr. Jacobs recommends consulting your dermatologist to figure out what your best option is for removal, and most importantly, don’t try to remove red moles on skin yourself at home, as this could cause permanent scarring and possible infection, too.

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