Have you noticed red dots suddenly appearing on your skin? Or maybe a single red dot, and you wonder how long it's been there on your skin? Could melanoma skin cancer first appear as a red dot? Is a red little spot on the skin usually harmless?
Many people notice "dots" on their skin, and these skin dots or spots appear to be red. Red dots or spots on the skin, rather than red bumps or blemish-like spots can appear in many different ways. One way is the appearance of pinpoint size specks. Let's explore about these first.
The closer you examine your skin, the more of these tiny specks you discover. Some can be a little larger, like the size that a ball point pen would make, and then even larger yet, like 1-2 millimeters. Upon close inspection, you realize that these "red dots" aren't necessarily dot shaped, but can be erratically shaped, as small as they are.
They may also appear a bit off-red, or bright dark pink. Some people have loads of these all over their body. These are called cherry angiomas and are completely harmless. They are blood vessels above the surface of the skin, come with age, and will never become a problem.
Other causes of red dots or spots on the skin
Pinpoint red dots: Causes include leukocyclastic vasculitis. This is usually a benign inflammation of the capillaries that can be associated with infections, medications, or autoimmune processes.
Schamberg's disease : A benign disorder presenting as cayenne pepper like red dots on the lower legs of older people. Extravasation of blood into the skin is caused by scratching and damaging the capillaries.
Bigger red or swollen dots around the ankles: These may be bug bite reactions from mosquitoes, bed bugs, scabies, or chiggers.
Extravasation: It's easy to cause this without knowing it. If you notice a new reddish dot, spot or speck under your eyes, under your brows or near the bridge of your nose, don't fear skin cancer. This is most likely an extravasation caused by scratching or even by simply pressing a nail there to relieve an itch. One little nail press is all it may take to damage tiny capillaries. This is harmless.
Extravasation is a leakage of red blood cells resulting from trauma to the blood vessel wall. This is what happens when a person plays volleyball for the first time or after a long absence, allowing the ball to smack repeatedly against the bare underside of their forearms. Multitudes of red dots will appear later on. Extravasation spots disappear in several days, often taking on an orange tinge as they fade.
You should get acquainted with what cherry angiomas look like, versus extravasation spots. Both can be described as little red dots on the skin, yet both look completely different from each other. Angiomas are also called hemangiomas, and these can be flat, then raise up into bumps over time, however most lesions have the same bright cherry red color.
Another cause is atopic dermatitis. Psoriasis too, can create little red dots or spots on the skin.
The bottom line: When a red dot does not go away, consult with a dermatologist to make sure it's nothing concerning. Angiomas will not disappear. It's important to know how to recognize these.
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