Dermatosis papulosa nigra (DPN)
What is DPN?
It is a condition where dark spots appear on the head and neck of patients with darker skin tones.
It affects up to 7 out of 10 African American patients. About 5 out of 10 patients have a family history.
How do I know if I have DPN?
- You will get small, tan to dark-brown soft bumps on the middle of your face and forehead. The bumps can also be on your neck and upper torso.
- After the bumps appear, they do not go away.
- People tend to get more bumps the older they get. There is no predicting how many bumps a person will get.
- The bumps usually do not cause any symptoms.
How do you treat DPN?
- It is not dangerous and does not have to be treated.
- Some people want the bumps removed for cosmetic reasons. Treatment is not covered by insurance.
- One treatment is electrodessication:
- An electric current goes through a needle with a fine tip to heat and destroy the bumps.
- It is done in the doctor’s office.
- Topical numbing medicines can be used before the treatment.
- Side effects are a small amount of redness and pain.
- Treatment should make the bumps go away or get smaller. After treatment you may have a lighter brown or tan flat spot in its place.
- Risks of the procedure include pigmentary changes and (rarely) scarring in treated areas.
Last reviewed February 2017