As red, dot-like lesions on the skin, cherry angiomas and petechiae may be confused for one another. Knowing the difference between the two can help determine if they are related to more serious health conditions. So, how to tell the difference between cherry angioma vs petechiae? Let this article explore the definitions, causes, and treatments of these two skin issues.
Cherry Angiomas and Petechiae: What is the Difference?
Petechiae and cherry angiomas are flat red spots resulting from tiny blood vessels breaking open. They are both common and can be caused by a variety of things. To distinguish them, let’s differentiate the two:
Cherry angiomas, also known as senile angiomas or Campbell de Morgan spots, are small benign growths on the skin adorned with a red color, looking like a red mole. They are most often found on the trunk of the body or face but can occur anywhere. The size of cherry angiomas is typically less than an inch in diameter. They can also vary from bright red to cherry pink color.
The lesion takes on a red shading because cherry angiomas are comprised of an abnormal concentration of small blood vessels. The overabundance of blood vessels is due to the location of cherry angiomas near the skin’s surface.
Similar-Looking Skin Growths
Cherry angiomas are sometimes mistaken for spider angiomas, which have a similar red mole. The distinction between the two is that the reddish extensions from the spider angioma’s red center grow distinctively longer.
In any case, the extensions have a spider’s web-like appearance. When compressed, spider angiomas frequently lose their color as well.
What Causes Them?
While the specific cause of cherry angiomas is unknown, they are thought to be related to sun exposure. Other factors which may contribute to cherry angiomas include alcoholism, exposure to chemicals, climate, certain medical conditions, and hormones.
Cherry angiomas also appear to be linked with age. They usually develop when individuals are in their 30s and become more extensive and numerous as they grow older. In fact, according to one research, over 75% of people over the age of 75 have them.
It is a common term for tiny, red dots on the skin. Petechiae happens because of the bleeding underneath the skin and may be triggered by various things. In addition, petechiae may also be a sign of severe conditions such as leukemia or skin cancer.
Petechiae are usually between 1-5mm in size. Still, they can be as small as a pinprick or several centimeters large. They are most often red or purple in color, but they may also have blue, yellow, brown, or black streaks. Petechiae resemble little splotches or bruises on the skin and often occur in clusters.
What Causes Them?
Several things can cause petechiae, including:
- spider veins or varicose veins
- inflammation from arthritis
- an injury
- sunburn and allergic reactions
- various autoimmune diseases
- Scarlet fever
- Viral fevers (including dengue, Ebola, and yellow fever) cause blood clotting of the skin, which leads to bleeding.
Medication can also cause petechiae, such as:
- Anti-seizure drugs
- Blood thinners
- Heart rhythm drugs
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
In any case, petechiae spots are sometimes the consequence of an underlying problem, and you should visit a doctor if you have them along with any of the following symptoms:
- The sudden appearance of hematomas or blood clots that appear under the skin
- Bleeding or bruising is easier than normal
- Bleeding gums
- Menorrhagia or unusually heavy periods
- Hemarthrosis or joint hemorrhage
How To Tell The Difference Between Cherry Angiomas and Petechiae?
One way to tell the difference between cherry angiomas and petechiae is their size. Cherry angiomas are typically less than an inch in diameter, while petechiae can be 1-5mm. Additionally, cherry angiomas are usually a deep red or cherry pink color. At the same time, petechiae may have a variety of colors, such as red, blue, purple, or yellow. Petechiae resemble little splotches or bruises on the skin and usually appear in clusters. While cherry angiomas are more isolated lesions.
For you to be able to tell them apart, it is essential to know that cherry angiomas form a flat spot on the skin’s surface while petechiae are raised. Finally, cherry angiomas are caused by an abnormal concentration of capillaries and small veins. In contrast, petechiae are caused by bleeding underneath the skin. Knowing these key distinctions can help you determine if you are dealing with cherry angiomas or petechiae.
Suppose you are still unsure about whether or not you are dealing with cherry angiomas or petechiae. In that case, it is always best to consult a doctor. They can help determine if they are related to a more serious medical condition.
Are Cherry Angiomas and Petechiae Dangerous?
While cherry angiomas and petechiae are not usually dangerous, they can sometimes signify a more severe underlying condition. For example, cherry angiomas may indicate sun exposure, while petechiae may be a sign of leukemia.
That is why it is always better to consult a doctor, especially if you are unsure whether you are dealing with cherry angiomas or petechiae. Seeing a doctor can identify what type of your lesion is, determine if there is an underlying cause, and provide treatment as soon as possible.
Possible Complications of Cherry Angiomas and Petechiae
If you let cherry angiomas and petechiae go untreated, they can increase in size and may become more noticeable. Additionally, cherry angiomas may bleed or become infected. Petechiae may also lead to further bleeding if they are scratched or rubbed.
Suppose you notice any changes in appearance, or they become irritated. Then, in that case, see your doctor right away. Early medical attention might be necessary to diagnose the condition and get further treatment if necessary.
The Treatment For Cherry Angiomas
The treatment for cherry angiomas depends on their cause, location, type, size, color, appearance, and the number of cherry angiomas. Treatment options may include:
This method is the most common treatment for cherry angiomas. A doctor will cut out the cherry angioma in shave excision using a sharp blade or scissors.
Electrocoagulation is a surgical treatment that uses electricity to heat and destroy the cherry angioma.
This includes using a pulsed dye laser (PDL) which provides enough heat to destroy cherry angiomas.
Cherry angiomas are not dangerous, but it is always best to consult a doctor for proper cherry angioma treatment. Additionally, cherry angiomas can increase in size and may bleed or become infected, so they must be appropriately treated.
The Treatment For Petechiae
The treatment for petechiae depends on their cause, type, and number. Treatment options may include:
- antibiotics for infections
- antihistamines for allergies
- blood pressure medications
- iron supplements for anemia
- surgery for tumors
Like cherry angiomas, petechiae are not also dangerous. However, petechiae can indicate serious conditions, so it is crucial to consult a doctor for proper petechiae treatment.
How To Prevent Cherry Angiomas and Petechiae
There are a few things that you can do to help prevent cherry angiomas and petechiae from developing. These include:
Avoiding the sun: Sun exposure is one of the leading causes of cherry angiomas and petechiae. So, by preventing the sun, you can help reduce your chances of developing these two skin conditions.
Keeping your skin dry: Washing your hands and face with warm water can help remove excess oil. This will prevent your pores from becoming plugged, leading to the development of cherry angiomas.
Wearing sunscreen: Sunscreen can help protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
Using a hat or umbrella: A hat or umbrella can also help protect your skin from the sun. Hence, always cover yourself with an umbrella or hat, especially during summer.
Avoiding injury: Cherry angiomas and petechiae can occur because of injuries to the skin, so try to stay away from any damages as much as possible.
When To Seek Medical Attention For Cherry Angiomas and Petechiae
If you have any of the following symptoms, you should seek medical attention for cherry angiomas or petechiae:
- Change in size or color of cherry angioma or petechiae
Seeking medical attention is crucial for cherry angiomas and petechiae. So if you notice any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician.
Cherry angiomas and petechiae are two widespread skin lesions that can easily confuse. However, you can usually distinguish cherry angiomas and petechiae by their appearance. Cherry angiomas appear as flat red spots on the skin. At the same time, petechiae are red bumps on the skin surface that occur because of the bleeding underneath the skin.
Although the two skin conditions are not dangerous, seeing a doctor is still necessary. Knowing the difference between cherry angiomas and petechiae will help you determine the appropriate treatment, which can only be provided by a qualified doctor. That way, you can be sure that you are getting the best possible care.
The Campbell de Morgan Spot as a Method for Monitoring Flaps.
Pulsed Dye Laser.