Is A Hemangioma A Type Of Mole? Advice For Patients

Doctors recommend that you regularly check your skin for new or changed moles, as some of these growths can pose a risk to your health. As such, when parents check their children's skin, they can sometimes find marks that may resemble a mole, prompting uncertainty and anxiety. Find out if a hemangioma is a type of mole, and learn more about the steps you should take if you find one on your child's skin.

Hemangiomas and moles

A hemangioma is a type of birthmark that can appear anywhere on the body. Some people refer to these growths as strawberry marks, owing to their bright red color. Hemangiomas normally develop in the first year of life and will then slowly disappear as a child grows up. Hemagiomas can also develop in adults, particularly in people over the age of 70.

Hemangiomas form when extra blood vessels form in a dense group. Doctors aren't entirely sure what causes this to happen, but some experts believe the condition is hereditary.

A hemangioma is not a type of mole. Moles form when you get a cluster of pigment-producing skin cells called melanocytes. These growths are commonly tan or brown in color, although you can get certain types of red mole, including atypical moles and Spitz nevi. Nonetheless, hemangiomas and moles are two different types of skin growth.


A doctor or dermatologist will not normally need any type of special test to diagnose a hemangioma. An experienced doctor will normally diagnose this condition by making a basic physical examination of your son or daughter. You can also get hemangiomas on your internal organs, but to detect these growths, your doctor would normally need to carry out a type of imaging test, such as an ultrasound or an MRI scan.

When treatment is necessary for skin hemangiomas

Hemangiomas normally disappear without treatment from a doctor, although this process can take several years. Doctors are often reluctant to treat hemangiomas because the available treatment methods can sometimes cause side effects and scarring. Nonetheless, if your child has a large, unsightly growth, you may decide that treatment is preferable. If the growth is in an awkward place, a doctor may agree that it is better to remove the hemangiomas, as the vessels can bleed quite heavily following an injury.

Treatment options

If your doctor agrees that treatment is a good idea, he or she will normally recommend one of two methods.

A doctor can inject corticosteroids directly into the growth. Alternatively, your doctor may recommend oral steroids or a topical steroid cream. Nonetheless, these treatment methods are not without risk. Steroids can cause problems with growth, high blood sugar and even cataracts.

Laser surgery is an alternative treatment method you can also consider. This type of treatment is generally only effective on early, superficial hemangiomas because the laser cannot normally penetrate deeper than 5 millimeters. What's more, following laser surgery, some children will still need steroids to stop the lesion growing larger. That aside, laser surgery is quick and easy, so kids can have treatment every 2 to 4 weeks.

Cryotherapy was a relatively popular treatment option in the 1960s, when doctors used liquid nitrogen and other chemicals to freeze hemangiomas. Doctors now seldom use this method, as other skin conditions and scars can occur after treatment.

Possible complications

Hemangioma complications are rare, but these growths can occasionally break down to form sores. These sores are often painful and may lead to further scarring or an infection. Rarely, these sores can interfere with other parts of the child's body, according to where the hemangioma started to grow, including the eyes and ears. If this problem occurs, you should seek medical attention straight away.

Hemangiomas are common red birthmarks that some people mistake for a mole. If your child has one of these growths, talk to your doctor to find out if you should consider removal.