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Venous Lake

What is a venous lake?

Venous lakes are small slightly elevated bumps or lumps that commonly develop on sun-exposed surfaces of the face, such as on the vermilion border of the lip or on the ears; typically dark blue to bluish-purple in colour, varying in size from 2 to 10 mm in diameter while being soft and compressible. Venous lakes are characterized histologically as a dilated thin-walled venule in the uppermost papillary dermis just below the epidermis.

Is it a mole or a venous lake?

Venous lakes are benign, asymptomatic, and usually cause no pain or discomfort. While they resemble moles or melanoma/nodular melanoma (skin cancer) due to their dark blue to purple colouration, the formation of venous lakes is not linked to pigment producing cells but instead caused by dilated blood-filled vascular channel. An easy test to perform to determine if a dark spot is likely a mole or a venous lake is to apply pressure on the spot using a finger and observe for blanchability (change in colour from dark to white). As venous lakes are caused by blood-filled vascular channel, applying pressure will temporarily prevent the flow of blood to the lump, blanching it and giving it a white appearance. Moles and nodular melanoma typically do not blanch or turn white when pressure is applied.  Other prominent differences between venous lake, nodular melanoma and moles include:
Venous lake Nodular melanoma Common mole
2 to 10 mm (diameter) More than 6 mm (diameter), size may change as it grows 1 to 3 mm (diameter)
Dark blue to purple Dark blue, reddish-blue, brown, tan, to non-pigmented Dark blue, black, dark/light brown to pink
Slow growth Fast growth  Slow or no growth
Soft and compressible Thick and firm due to induration (dermal thickening) Soft and spongy
Slow growth Fast growth  Slow or no growth
Please note that the above information is a generalised rule of thumb for self-identifying a venous lake, please consult a doctor for a definite and professional diagnosis.

Causes of venous lake

The cause of venous lake is still not completely understood; however, it is thought that long-term sun exposure and smoking may contribute to their formation. Venous lakes can form on individuals of any age, but as they are more commonly observed in those aged 50 and above, a likely cause for their formation is aging and weakening of the supporting structures of blood vessels, leading to dilation.

Treatment for venous lake

Although venous lakes are typically harmless and does not require treatment, their presence, especially on prominent parts of the face like the lips, can be unsightly and unwanted. While uncommon, venous lakes may also bleed and cause soreness in the affected area for some individuals, treatment/removal in such cases will alleviate or stop the discomfort experienced. 

Venous lake can be permanently removed with a variety of treatments such as:

  • Vbeam laser
  • Long pulse laser 

How it works

Vascular laser and long pulse laser beam utilise light energy to target and eliminate the blood in the venous lake.

The wavelength of lasers used to treat venous lake are poorly absorbed by water but selectively absorbed by haemoglobin in the blood present in blood-filled vascular channel causing the venous lake. Due to poor absorption by water, the laser beam generates heat when absorbed by haemoglobin, coagulating the blood and destroying venous lake tissue.


Each Laser session treatment for venous lake takes less than 10 minutes on average. 

If you are afraid of pain, you may request for a layer of numbing cream to be applied prior to the treatment.

For most patients, there is usually no downtime. Sometimes, swelling or bruising may occur, which will resolve over time. 

Several sessions of laser treatments are usually required. The number of sessions needed really depends on how big the lump usually is.  

No, there is no special precautions to take note of.

Our highly skilled and professional doctors at The Clifford Clinic have helped patients with venous lakes. If you would like your venous lake removed, you are welcome to arrange a consultation with us. Our doctors will assess your condition and do their best to offer professional advice and treatment for you. Alternatively, feel free to explore other treatments we offer, such as hair transplant, acne treatment, and acne scar treatment in Singapore.