Spider angiomas are a collection of blood vessels under the surface of your skin that resembles a spider. Angiomas are red to purple marks on your skin. Treatment isn’t necessary but your healthcare provider can remove the mark if you don’t like how it looks. If you have multiple angiomas, it could be a sign of an underlying condition.
A spider angioma, also known as a spider nevus or spider telangiectasia, is a small red to purple mark on your skin caused by dilated (wide) blood vessels (capillaries) near the surface of your skin. Spider angiomas get their name because the mark on your skin looks like the body and legs of a spider.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy
Spider angiomas can affect anyone, whether you’re healthy or ill. They’re more common among:
Spider angiomas are common. Studies estimate that nearly 38% of healthy children had at least one spider angioma and nearly 60% of people who were pregnant had a spider angioma.
Spider angiomas leave a red to purple mark on your skin. These marks can appear anywhere on your skin and are only cosmetic. Most cases of spider angiomas are benign (noncancerous or not a threat to your health) and fade away or disappear over time.
Spider angiomas are marks on your skin caused by enlarged blood vessels. Symptoms of a spider angioma include:
Spider angiomas don’t cause pain and may lightly bleed if they’re injured.
Spider angiomas can appear anywhere on your skin but they’re most common on your:
Enlarged (dilated) blood vessels cause spider angiomas to appear on your skin. Blood vessels dilate when your muscles restrict the blood flow in the arteriole, which is a small tube that branches off of your arteries (a major blood vessel) and leads to capillaries (a small, thin blood vessel). The reason for your blood vessels to dilate is unknown.
Studies suggest that spider angiomas form when you have a lot of estrogen in your body. Estrogen is a hormone that helps your reproductive system stay healthy. This could relate to the increase in spider angiomas among people AFAB, young adults going through puberty, people who take oral contraceptives and people who are pregnant.
Spider angiomas are usually harmless, but if you have multiple (more than three) marks on your skin, it could be a sign of another condition like:
If you have multiple spider angiomas, visit your healthcare provider for an examination.
Your healthcare provider will visually examine the mark on your skin to diagnose a spider angioma, as its color, size and shape are unique. They might ask questions about how long you’ve had the mark on your skin and if you’ve experienced any additional symptoms.
If you have several spider angiomas, your healthcare provider might offer tests, like a blood test, to detect liver function or thyroid disease, among other conditions that could cause spider angiomas to form.
Spider angiomas don’t need treatment because most angiomas go away over time. Children and young adults often grow out of spider angiomas, which disappear as they age. If you have angiomas because you’re pregnant, once you give birth, your angiomas will go away after a few months.
Some people choose to have angiomas removed for cosmetic reasons if they don’t like how angiomas look on their skin. Your healthcare provider can remove angiomas by:
It’s common for angiomas to return after your healthcare provider removes them. Make sure you follow their recommendations to help your skin recover after they remove an angioma, and visit your healthcare provider if your skin isn’t healing or if more angiomas reappear.
As the reason why spider angiomas appear on your skin is unknown, healthcare providers don’t know how to prevent them. Studies suggest that spider angiomas relate to the estrogen hormone levels in your body. These levels elevate through puberty and if you’re pregnant. When your estrogen levels reduce, the number of angiomas on your skin will reduce or disappear. You can also reduce your risk of getting spider angiomas by taking care of your health, especially if you have a condition that affects your liver or thyroid.
Spider angiomas usually aren’t a concern to your overall health. They’re cosmetic changes that your healthcare provider can remove if you don’t like how they look on your skin. Having one to two angiomas is normal. If you have more than three angiomas, talk to your healthcare provider because that could be a sign of an underlying condition that needs treatment.
There isn’t a cure for spider angiomas. Spider angiomas go away on their own over time. This is common among young adults and people who are pregnant. If you have multiple spider angiomas, treating the condition that caused angiomas to appear on your skin will make them go away.
While treatment to remove your angioma can be effective at getting rid of them, there’s a risk they’ll return.
If you have more than three spider angiomas, visit your healthcare provider, as that could be a sign of an underlying condition.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Spider angiomas leave a mark on your skin that resembles the body and legs of a red spider. You don’t need to worry, though, as these marks are normally harmless and go away on their own over time. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have several (more than three) spider angiomas on your skin, as that could be a sign of an underlying condition.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/07/2022.
Learn more about our editorial process.