What is Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra?
Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra (DPN) is a skin condition characterized by the presence of multiple black or brown papules, typically found around the eyes and on the cheeks and forehead. The spots are usually flat or slightly elevated, but can also hang from the skin much like a skin tag. Although they may appear like moles, they are not classified as such. DPN papules are usually 1 to 5 millimeters in size. They commonly appear on the face, but can also present on the chest, neck and back.
Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra is not dangerous; however, many people seek to treat the papules for cosmetic reasons. There are several treatments available to address DPN that should be discussed with your dermatologist. Like any medical treatment, the results can vary from person to person. A board-certified Atlanta dermatologist like those at Buckhead Dermatology can help you understand your options so you can choose the right treatment for you.
Who Can Get Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra?
Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra spots typically appear during the teenage years, becoming more pronounced and growing in number as a person ages. DPN is commonly seen in African Americans, Asians, East Asians, and anyone with darker skin tones. Between 35-40% of adult African Americans have DPN. The condition is more prevalent in women than it is in men.
Unfortunately, the causes of Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra are unknown. Research suggests that the condition may be hereditary, meaning that it is passed down from generation to generation. Many people who have DPN report having family members that also have the condition.
Is There Treatment for Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra?
Our Atlanta dermatologist will be able to diagnose Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra visually in most cases. Treatments are easy/fast and provide a great cosmetic result! Patients report looking years younger after the removal of DPNs Treatments may not prevent new papules from forming.
DPN is neither dangerous nor cancerous. The spots do tend to increase in number and size over time. Because of this, many people choose treatment for cosmetic reasons. In other patients, the spots can become physically uncomfortable, itchy or irritating as they expand on the body. Treatment may be required in these circumstances.
Common Treatment Options for Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra
Before moving forward with any treatment plan, it is crucial to consider the potential side effects. Your dermatologist will be able to educate you on the risks associated with surgical or laser treatments. Because Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra is a condition that occurs in skin of color, there is a greater chance of scarring, depigmentation or blotchiness, since darker skin tones are more prone to these issues. A good dermatologist will suggest the best treatment for the patient’s needs, not a one-size-fits-all approach.
There are a number of options for treatment, including:
- Curettage: This method of removal uses a scraping tool to remove the papules. There is risk with this procedure, as it can leave areas of discoloration on the skin.
- Electrocautery: A procedure that uses electric current to burn the dark spots and destroy the tissue. This treatment utilizes a small probe.
- Cryosurgery: This treatment uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the papule off the skin. Like the curettage procedure, there is a risk of skin discoloration and scarring.
- Laser Removal: There are various lasers available to remove the Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra spots. Lasers use light frequencies to target and destroy papules, creating a scab that will fall off in about seven days. Although a more expensive option, treatments such as the Nd:YAG, KTP and Carbon-dioxide laser have been shown to successfully reduce the appearance of DPN, or remove the papules altogether.
Any treatment can cause some dark spots to develop but if any darkness occurs , it can be easily treated with a fading cream
Learn More About Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra
DPN is a non-threatening skin disorder that is common among people with darker skin tones. Even though DPN is not dangerous, many people who experience Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra papules want to know more about their treatment options. For men and women who have more severe cases, the dark spots may be a source of shame or embarrassment. Many people who opt for treatment do so for cosmetic reasons.