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How Common Are Hemangiomas in Adults?

Nicole Madison
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Hemangiomas, which are benign skin growths, occur most often in children, but they frequently affect adults as well. These growths are fairly common in young children but usually begin to fade before or during the preteen years. It is less common to see hemangiomas in adults who are younger than 40 years old. After the age of 40, however, they are seen with more frequency, and people over 70 are the most likely to develop them.

When a person has a hemangioma, he has a skin growth that results from too many blood vessels growing in one area. They create a formation of bumpy or spongy skin that appears red or purplish and often develops on the affected person's torso. They are often referred to as strawberry hemangiomas when they affect the surface of a child’s skin and deep hemangiomas when they are significantly imbedded in the skin. Though they are the same type of skin growth, they often referred to as cherry hemangiomas when affecting adults. Hemangiomas develop in people of all races but are more noticeable in those with fair complexions.

The hemangiomas that commonly affect adults are usually smaller than those that develop in children. Many of these growths are no larger than a dot, mole, or liver spot. They can appear very large, however, when they grow in groups, creating the appearance of large masses rather than individual growths. Hemangiomas can also grow in groups when affecting children, but they often appear on more of an adult's body than a child's.

Scientists are not 100 percent sure of what causes these skin growths to form. For children, there may be a link between proteins developed while they are in the womb and hemangiomas. The cause of hemangiomas in adults can be even more of a mystery. Some theories include minor abnormalities involving genes and exposure to chemical compounds. Even if they are not caused by genetic abnormalities, there is some evidence that they are more likely to recur in families.

The presence of hemangiomas in adults doesn't mean the affected people have cancer, and cancerous cells do not usually form in this type of growth. They can bleed, however, especially when irritated by friction, and some people seek treatment to end the bleeding or for cosmetic reasons. Doctors sometimes burn or freeze these growths off, though laser removal can be effective as well. In addition, injection with a type of hormone medication referred to as a corticosteroid may help treat some hemangiomas in adults.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
Discussion Comments
By anon1000190 — On Jun 25, 2018

Who do you contact to treat it?

By anon995857 — On Jun 02, 2016

I just got diagnosed with several small ones on my back. I am 61 and have been a sun/beach person all my life.

By anon926039 — On Jan 16, 2014

I'm almost 25 and still have my hemangioma on my neck. It was HUGE but now is mostly flat. Looks like a hickey.

By anon331168 — On Apr 21, 2013

I had mine removed by getting it burned off. All was well for a few weeks, but today, I noticed that it's starting to grow back. I have to go in for another doctor's visit soon.

By bear78 — On Oct 08, 2012

@ZipLine-- I was treated for a hemangioma on my shoulder a couple of weeks ago. I had it removed with laser treatment.

My doctor told me that people with light skin have a higher chance of developing hemangiomas. So I guess technically, hemangiomas are less common in dark skinned people.

My doctor also said that women get hemangiomas more than men do.

By ZipLine — On Oct 08, 2012

So black people get hemangiomas too but they just don't notice it because of darker skin? But wouldn't the color of the hemangioma still be darker than the skin color and be visible?

I always thought that African Americans don't get hemangiomas. I've never seen anyone in my family with one.

By fify — On Oct 08, 2012

Are hemangiomas more common in adults who get a lot of sun exposure?

I feel like sun exposure increases the chances of developing these or make them appear earlier then they would have otherwise. For the past three years, I've started spending my summers on the beach and inevitably I'm under the sun a lot. I've started noticing more and more tiny hemangiomas on my skin, especially following the summer months.

Has anyone else noticed the same?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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