A lot of people have small black or brown moles on the body which seem pretty harmless. But sometimes we get small red moles on skin, which bleed on being nicked. These tend to erupt in huge numbers after turning 30, look pretty scary and can cause concern. Many people start fearing that their red moles might be cancerous moles. They don’t know what to do and just want to get rid of them.
Most of the small red moles on skin that you see are pretty harmless. Sometimes they are present since birth, some of them develop over a period of time, whereas others develop and just disappear naturally. The black ones are considered a sign of beauty if they are present on the face or feet. And there is absolutely nothing to worry about unless you see them growing in size, changing color or becoming painful.
So what exactly are moles?
Moles, also called nevi (nevus for a single mole), are growths on the skin due to clustering of melanocytes (pigment cells) or blood capillaries in the skin. They can be brown, tan, pink or red in color. Most people have on an average anywhere between 10 to 40 moles on their body. They can be flat, raised, circular or oval and tend to fade away as you get older.
It is not known specifically what causes small red moles on skin to appear. It could be genetics or environmental factors affecting the skin condition, or even imbalances in the body that cause these cells or capillaries in the skin to cluster.
Are Red Moles Cancerous?
Even though most red moles are harmless, their size and location can make them undesirable. Most common moles are dark brown or black, so finding out that there are small red moles on skin can be scary and a cause of concern. However, the fact is that a red mole that appears on the body does not mean you have skin cancer. Color, size and shape distinguish a potentially cancerous mole from one that is benign. Small red moles on skin are usually benign. They are often just a common indication of aging skin.
Below you can see different variants of benign and malignant lesions.
A regular check up will keep you alert of the location, coloring and size of all the moles on your body. If in doubt, you should always have your moles evaluated by a dermatologist to prevent progression into skin cancer. Your doctor will examine your skin, including your palms, scalp, skin between your buttocks and the soles of your feet. Depending on the appearance of the moles, a biopsy may be ordered.
Types Of Moles / Nevi
These are small growths of pigment cells on skin and are very commonly found in people younger than 40 years of age. They can be congenital (since birth) or acquired later in childhood. Mostly benign (non-cancerous), these small moles skin tend to fade away with age. They often develop above the waist, on areas exposed to sun and are usually smaller than 5 mm.
Depending on where these moles arise, pigment growths are classified into three kinds:
- Junctional Nevus / Union: These nevus cells are located at the dermal- epidermal junction of the skin. They are flat lesions on the skin, dark brown or black in color.
- Compound Melanocyte Nevus: As the melanocytes grow and extend into the dermis, they become compound melanocytic nevus. The color of this nevus varies between different shades of brown.
- Blue Nevus: When the origin of pigment nevus is located in deep dermis, the lesion takes on a bluish color. This is called a blue nevus.
2. Spitz Nevi
These are not as common as melanocyte nevi. Thy are also benign skin lesions, originating from the epidermis and dermis of the skin and appear as small red moles on skin. It is a special type of mole that is often red, pink or light brown. It is typically raised like a dome and tends to bleed if scratched.
These are mostly present on the head, neck, arms or legs and are usually less than a half an inch big. They develop, most commonly, in fair-skinned people and usually appear in childhood, although they can occur in adults too.
Also known as nevus ruby or cherry hemangiomas, these small red moles on skin are the result of an abnormal growth of blood capillaries on skin. It is common in very fair skinned people and unlike melanocyte nevus, develop more in people of middle to older ages. They have a sudden onset of appearance, develop mostly on neck, chest, armpit or back, do not hurt and are 1-2 mm in diameter, circular and bright red in color.
They may appear due to liver disorders or imbalances. Normal aging of the skin and prolonged exposure to sunlight can also cause nevus cherry. They often appear during pregnancy but usually disappear after the woman gives birth. A red mole removal is usually not needed unless for aesthetic reasons.
4. Dysplastic Nevi
These are the atypical moles with a mixture of colors. They may be raised or flat with irregular edges and fuzzy borders. These are often larger than typical moles (around 5-6mm) and tend to grow in size and change color. Again, some of them may turn into cancerous moles while most do not and stay stable. Only a biopsy of the lesion can identify cancerous moles. If you have more than 50 melanocyte moles on your body and more than 10 dysplastic moles, better get them examined. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that usually starts as a brown or a small red mole on skin and tends to change shape and size and spread. They are often larger than 6mm wide and are usually uneven in color with shades of black, brown, and tan. They may also have areas of white, gray, red, pink or blue. They are irregular and asymmetrical, edges may be ragged, notched or blurred and fade into the rest of the skin. The skin may break down and look scraped, become hard or lumpy or ooze blood.
This is the criteria that determines if your lesion is a cancerous mole (ABCD):
- Asymmetry: Red moles on body are irregularly shaped
- Borders: Cancerous moles have jagged and irregular borders
- Color: The darker the mole, higher the risk of it being cancerous
- Diameter: Benign moles are smaller than 5 mm, if it continues to grow, have it checked immediately
What Causes Small Red Moles On Skin?
As mentioned before, there could be multiple factors that can cause small red moles on skin.
- Genetics and Hereditary
- Environment; too much exposure to sun’s UVA rays or standing in front of heat, stove, etc.
- Hormonal changes during menarche (first menstrual cycle), pregnancy and menopause
- Liver Imbalances
- Psychological and emotional factors like stress, anxiety and depression
- Unhealthy eating habits, toxins that derange liver function
How To Get Rid Of Red Moles On Body?
Usually no treatment for red moles is necessary, unless their location is bothersome. Generally, the lifespan of a red mole is about 50 years.
Skin changes dramatically as we age and since we cant turn back time, prevention is the best possible solution.
1. Hydrate Well
Keep your body hydrated and exercise daily to increase circulation.
2. Moisturize Your Skin
Refill lost moisture in the skin with good quality lotions or night creams. Daily moisturizer also works as sunscreen if you apply it before makeup.
3. Sunscreen Protection
It is of utmost importance to use a sunscreen with higher SPF to protect your skin from damage even if it is not summer and you don’t plan on sunbathing. If you are cooking long hours in front of kitchen stove, use a sunscreen lotion to protect your skin from heat.
Take care of your liver. Small red moles on skin can be a result of eating disorders and unhealthy living. Add fresh vegetables to your diet. Lemon juice in water on an empty stomach has multiple cleansing benefits on the body.
In case, you feel that you need to remove the small red moles on skin, there are a options you can try.
1. Dry It Off
You can try this technique at home. Use iodine tincture or castor oil to dry off the small red moles on skin. Some may fall off themselves, others might need to be cauterized.
2. Surgical Excision, Shaving and Cryotherapy
These procedures can be done for red mole removal by a dermatologist. They are usually prescribed if the moles are found pre-cancerous. If the mole that’s been removed this way grows back, it is imperative that you see your doctor as soon as possible.
3. Laser Therapy
The most modern and effective treatment for red mole removal is laser therapy. It is used mainly to treat the cherry nervus. Laser light energy is absorbed by cherry nevus which produces immediate coagulation and dispersion of the blood capillaries.
4. Chemical Peels and Dermabrasion
These are cosmetic procedures done on the skin for a number of purposes including treating wrinkles, discoloration and stretch marks. They remove the top layer of skin allowing new epidermis to grow in its place. They might not remove the small red moles completely but they will certainly help dim the color.
5. Other Natural Remedies for Red Mole Removal
Some natural remedies for red mole removal are known to not only fade the moles but also remove them completely. Just apply the following (using cotton swabs) onto the moles daily for treatment.
- Apple cider vinegar
- Garlic cloves. You can use a tape to keep the cloves in place on the moles.
- A mixture of tea tree oil, coconut oil and aloe vera (equal parts).
- Castor oil
- Sour apple juice
Having bright red spots or growths on the skin can be scary. They might even make you feel ugly. But there is always a solution to a skin problem. Small red moles on skin are mostly harmless, but if you are concerned, do not hesitate to go to a dermatologist to have them checked out.