Are you one of the millions of people who have a skin condition known as DPN, or Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra? This condition is often mistaken for freckles or tiny moles. In fact, it is a specific type of skin growth that predominantly affects people with black and dark toned skin.
DPN is harmless, but many people seek dermatological treatment for cosmetic concerns. If you think you have DPN, it is best to reach out to your dermatologist for a diagnosis. From there, you can work together with your doctor to come up with a treatment plan to help you achieve your skin goals. Let’s learn more about DPN, the causes and available treatments.
What is DPN?
Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra is most commonly found among people of African or Asian descent, or with a Fitzpatrick skin type of III to VI. While it can be found in people with lighter skin tones, it is far less common. Women tend to have DPN more frequently than men.
DPN is characterized by small dark spots that look similar to freckles. While they typically appear on the face and specifically, around the eyes, on the cheekbones and neck, DPN can occur anywhere on the body. The dark spots can be brown or black in color and can be flat or raised from the skin. In many instances, DPN is mistaken for freckles, small moles or skin tags. DPN is not considered dangerous or cancerous. In most cases, no treatment is necessary.
If you have DPN, chances are high that you have other family members with the same condition. DPN appears to be genetic. You may be able to predict the location and frequency of DPN growths based on its appearance and prevalence in an adult family member. DPN generally appears in adolescence and can continue to develop as you get older.
The condition is thought to be a variation of seborrheic keratosis. Seborrheic keratosis is a common skin growth that can be brown, tan or black in color and slightly raised or scaly. They can often look like warts and can grow to an inch or more in size. Harmless and non-cancerous, seborrheic keratosis tends to run in families and the chances of their appearance increases with age.
Treatment for DPN
In most cases, no treatment is required for DPN. Sometimes, the skin growths can cause some irritation or itchiness, in which case patients may seek treatment to improve their quality of life. Treatment is most usually sought for cosmetic reasons. Depending on the frequency and location of the growths, especially those that occur on the face, they may be undesirable. The spots will not fade with time or without treatment.
There are several treatments available for those who have a DPN diagnosis. In all cases, you should consult with a dermatologist before embarking on any treatment plan, especially at home treatments. Darker skin tones tend to experience hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation, so a board-certified dermatologist should choose the proper treatment to avoid potential side effects.
Scissor or Shave Excision: Removal of raised skin growths with a scissor or small blade.
Electrodesiccation: Skin growths are burned off using a needle-shaped device with an electric current. Numbing creams and other pain relievers can be used during this process to increase comfort.
Cryotherapy: This removal treatment uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the skin growths. Care should be used prior to using cryotherapy because it can damage the pigment cells of the skin and cause hypopigmentation in darker skin tones.
Laser treatments: A variety of laser treatments are on the market that have proven to be effective in the treatment of DPN. It may require several treatments before seeing results.
Get a Diagnosis and Treatment for Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra in Atlanta
Although it is not considered a dangerous skin condition, many people who have DPN choose to seek treatment for cosmetic reasons. At Buckhead Dermatology, we have successfully treated many patients with DPN growths on their faces, necks and chests.
If you live in the Atlanta area and have concerns about DPN or any other skin condition, call our office today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Straughn. We have two convenient locations to serve you in Atlanta and College Park. At Buckhead Dermatology, we are the experts in black skin dermatology, treatment and care.