Vascular Lesions

Vascular lesions can include a variety of dermatologic conditions, including port wine stains, cherry angiomas, hemangiomas, spider veins, and spider angiomas.

Vascular lesions are usually red or purple patches or raised areas that show up on or beneath the skin’s surface. These can manifest in a variety of ways, such as broken blood vessels, red cheeks, purple bumps, or red patches. Many of these conditions can be present at birth, or shortly afterward, such as infantile hemangioma. Other conditions can be developed later in life. Most of these conditions are harmless, but some can potentially be related to an underlying medical condition. Many of these conditions can be treated with vascular laser therapy.

Below is more information about different types of vascular lesions. If you have questions, or would like to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced dermatologists, please contact Sanova Dermatology today.

Port Wine Stain

Port wine stains are made up of dilated capillaries that cause purple or reddish patches that typically appear on the face, but can be present on other areas of the body as well. These patches appear at birth and grow proportionately as the affected individual grows and develops. It is common for these patches to darken over time, starting off as a flat pink patch that becomes purple or dark red. The lesion can also occasionally develop small nodules or become thicker as the person enters adulthood. If left untreated, these lesions can sometimes lead to other health issues in the future, such as loss of function, deformity, disfigurement, and bleeding. With pulse dye laser surgery, we can safely treat port wine stains by carefully destroying the cutaneous capillaries.

Infantile Hemangioma

While usually harmless, infantile hemangiomas are fairly common, developing in approximately 10-12% of Caucasian infants, and less in other races and ethnicities. These lesions occur more commonly in females, generally three times more often. Infantile hemangiomas usually start with a temporary whitening of the skin in the affected area, often followed by small spider veins, and a small red spot in the area. These lesions tend to grow quickly during the child’s first year. After the first year, infantile hemangiomas can spontaneously reduce in size. The lesions will often completely disappear by the time the child is nine years old, although some children can lose the discolorations a year before that time. Because these lesions often resolve themselves, treatment is not usually necessary. In some cases an infantile hemangioma can break down and bleed, or occur on vital structures, potentially posing a health risk. If you are unsure if your child may be at risk, please contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our dermatologists.

Spider Angioma

A spider angioma appears just below the surface of the skin. Its appearance is similar to spider veins, but differs in that it has a centralized reddish spot from which red or purple veins emulate, causing a spider-like appearance. This is due to a dilated arteriole, or blood vessel, allowing blood to flow freely beneath the surface of the skin. The “legs” of the spider angioma are small veins that carry the blood away from the center. This type of lesion is fairly common, occurring in about 10-15% of healthy adults and children. They might also appear on individuals with high levels of estrogen, including women who are pregnant or taking an oral contraceptive. Spider angiomas are generally harmless, but excessive spider angiomas may be a sign of liver disease.

Cherry Angioma (Campbell De Morgan Spot)

Cherry angiomas appear as small, bright red specks or dots just below the surface of the skin. A cherry angioma is the result of tiny blood vessels that have been dilated and release blood in the affected area. These spots generally appear spontaneously, and sometimes can disappear on their own, but the amount of cherry angiomas that develop can also increase with age. Although these lesions are benign and not related to cancer, they can often be undesired due to their appearance. At Sanova Dermatology, we can use the Vbeam® Perfecta to treat and remove cherry angiomas.

Telangiectasia (Broken Blood Vessels, Spider Veins)

More commonly referred to as “spider veins,” telangiectasia most often occur in the legs. These appear as a collection of tiny red or purple veins beneath the skin’s surface. Spider veins can also sometimes appear on the face, generally associated with rosacea. Telangiectasia in the legs can be related to varicose veins and heredity, but can also occur after prolonged sitting or due to trauma to the affected area. Spider veins can also be related to pregnancy. The doctors of Sanova Dermatology can treat these lesions with sclerotherapy, or with vascular laser therapy. In some cases, it may be beneficial to combine the two forms of treatment.

Venous Lake

These lesions are most often found in patients over the age of 50. Appearing mostly on the ears, lips, and face, venous lakes are dark blue or purplish lesions. The cause of venous lake conditions is unknown, but is suspected to be linked to long-term sun exposure. Like most lesions, this condition occurs when blood vessels in the affected area dilate and cause blood to pool. In most cases, these lesions can be treated with the Vbeam® Perfecta laser. If our dermatologists are concerned that the lesion may be cancerous, further assessment and treatment may be needed.


The redness caused by rosacea can be embarrassing for those who suffer from it. The redness typically affects the nose and cheeks, and can worsen with sun exposure, as well as certain foods and drinks. The flushed appearance and occasional telangiectasia (spider veins) can often be treated with vascular laser therapy at Sanova Dermatology.

Keratosis Pilaris Rubra

Most commonly considered a pediatric condition, keratosis pilaris rubra is a skin condition in which small, raised, slightly red bumps appear over an area of skin. These rough bumps create a chicken skin-like appearance. With the Vbeam® Perfecta laser, our dermatologists are often able to effectively treat this condition.

Contact Sanova Dermatology

If you would like more information, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced dermatologists, please contact us today.

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