What Campbell De Morgan Skin Spots Are
Question: Jane S. writes “What are the little red bumps that seem to be appearing on my arms, chest, neck, and back as I get older? I don’t remember seeing any of these when I was younger, but after age 40, they have increased in both number and size. What are these?”
Answer: You are describing lesions that are extremely common known as cherry hemangiomas. They also have a fancy medical name, Campbell-De Morgan spots. These are little tufted proliferations of blood vessels just under the surface of the skin. Most of these are genetically programmed. If you look closely at older family members, inevitibly, they have the same spots. It is true these lesions will increase both in number and size with time.
They have no harmful effects.
Sometimes they may be located in an area of high trauma, such as around a collar, where a favorite necklace is worn, or near a waistband, and friction can cause bleeding. In these particular cases, if the lesions are irritated with activities of daily living, this is an indication to have them removed. Most dermatologists can easily remove this with a very minor surgical procedure. If you have lots of the lesions, dermatologic laser surgeons can treat these with the vascular beam laser. This is a relatively simple procedure that is very effective. Unfortunately, this is considered cosmetic and is not covered by most insurance companies.
The bottom line when considering cherry hemangiomas or Campbell-De Morgan spots is:
Thank you so much for your question, and for your effort, you win one of the spectacular Crutchfield Dermatology quacking ducks!
- They are not harmful in any way.
- If they are irritated, they can be removed very easily.
- If they are a cosmetic nuisance, they can be cleared with a vascular beam laser.