Let’s face it—there’s nothing scarier than noticing that something new has popped up on your body, whether it be your first gray hair, a party-spoiling pimple, or something a bit cagier, like a mysterious red spot.
Now, if you are a man or woman of a certain age, or you’ve recently given birth, you may have detected a very small red dot on your face, chest, arm, torso, or shoulders. Although it’s blood-red color may make it seem quite disconcerting, experts agree that “99% of the time” it is nothing to stress about.
As it turns out, this little red dot is most likely what is called a “hemangioma”, an individual pin-sized growth that usually shows its red little face later in life. (Fun fact: 75 percent of people over 75 years of age have one!)
The good news about these papules is that they are noncancerous, but the bad news is that they won’t go away unless you opt for some cosmetic intervention. If you have one that is really bringing you down, your dermatologist may offer up some non-evasive treatment options, such as cryotherapy or electrosurgery, to remove it.
With that said, you should never skip out on getting an exact diagnosis from your doctor, even if you are pretty sure that what you have is just a hemangioma. Dermatologist Dr. Ahmet Altiner stresses that there are times when amelanotic melanoma, a very dangerous form of skin cancer, can mimic the appearance of these benign red dots.
This is definitely a situation where it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Hemangiomas in infants
Believe it or not, hemangiomas can also be found in infants—most specifically newborns—but their appearance is quite different than those seen in adults.
Similar to the aforementioned form, infantile hemangiomas are never cancerous, but their evolution is quite specific. For one, the growths found in babies are usually large, appearing in raised clusters on the face, scalp, belly, or chest. And, according to Hemangioma Education, most cases show up between birth and the first month of life.
Unlike adult hemangiomas, the infantile ones will continue to grow—usually until about 6 months of age—and then will hit a “plateau period”. Most of the time, there is no need for cosmetic procedures, as about 70% of cases will “dissolve” or “go away” by the age of 7.
Just like hemangiomas found in adults, it’s important that babies get regular check-ups by a pediatric dermatologist, especially if the spot is spreading rapidly or has become ulcerative.
Now that you’ve broadened your knowledge on all things hemangioma, it’s time for you to learn even more about how the common condition can manifest itself. To hear board-certified dermatologist Ahmet Altiner’s take on these growths, be sure to watch the video below.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Has your child ever been diagnosed with a hemangioma? If so, what was their doctor’s course of action? Have you ever gotten a hemangioma removed?