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Dermatosis papulosa nigra (DPN)   

DPN is a benign skin condition that tends to affect people with darker skin types. It consists of small, dark bumps that usually appear on your face and neck. While some people only develop a few bumps, others may have several. The spots are neither cancerous nor medically concerning, but they may be itchy, irritating, or cosmetically undesired. They are different from moles.

Photo of DPN bumps.

The small black or dark brown bumps caused by DPN are usually smooth, round, and flat. They range in size from 1 to 5 millimeters.  Over time, the bumps may become rougher looking. Sometimes the lesions have small flaps attached (peduncles) that look like skin tags.  While the bumps usually pop up on your face and neck, other sites that can be involved include the upper back and chest.  DPN lesions usually start in adolescence. The bumps slowly grow bigger and increase in number as the patient gets older.

What are the causes DPN?  The exact etiology remains unclear. Darker skin type and genetics seem to play a role.                                                                                                                                                                       

What are the treatment options for DPN?
DPN is harmless and usually does not require treatment but if they become itch or too bumpy, patients may seek treatment option.  Treatments options include scissor excision, shave excision, cryosurgery, electrodessication, curettage, dermabrasion, and laser removal. Some of these treatments however may leave scarring and hyperpigmentation.  These treatments also do not prevent more lesions from appearing. Laser treatments using the CO2 laser, long pulse Nd: YAG laser or KTP laser have been shown to be safe and very effective. They also have a much lower rate recurrence of new bumps in the treated areas.

If you have DPN and are interested in a free consultation, please give us a call. We are here to provide you with the care that you need.