Angiomas consist of closely packed collections of dilated blood vessels that push up the epidermis to create a red or purplish bump. There are two major types: cherry angiomas and spider angiomas.
Also called cherry spots, ruby spots, or senile angiomas, cherry angiomas are the most common of all acquired vascular anomalies. Cherry spots are usually a sign of advancing age, commonly appearing in a person’s 30s. They are also influenced by hormonal changes, such as during pregnancy. Cherry angiomas form in the little capillaries of the dermal papillae - the tiny projections that constitute the top portion of the dermis. As people grow older, some of the capillaries in the papillae develop bulbous swellings and tortuous knots that appear on the surface as bright red to deep burgundy colored papules.
Spider angiomas are composed of a central arteriole (a tiny artery) connected to a network of tiny vessels (telangiectasias) that radiate out like the legs of a spider. The center (body) is raised– when pressure is exerted on it, the legs blanch out or disappear. Spiders most typically appear in young children (sometimes after a bite or skin trauma), peaking between the ages of 7 and 10, but many adults and pregnant women have them as well.