Image courtesy of DermNet NZ.

Image courtesy of DermNet NZ.

Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra (DPN)

What is it?

DPN appears on the skin as small brown or black spots
especially around the cheekbones and eyes. The spots may also be found on other areas of the face, neck, chest, and back.  

DPN occurs most frequently in people of colour, especially women.  They tend to appear with age and grow in size and number. Whilst they are not cancerous or of medical concern, they can sometimes be irritating or cosmetically undesired. 

Causes, Types & Symptoms

The cause of DPN is unknown.

They spots can be isolated or in clusters, varying from one to hundreds of flat spots or they can hang off the skin like a skin tag. 

Diagnosis & Treatments

DPN is easily recognised by visual examination.

Treatment options include scissor excision, electro surgery, cryosurgery, laser, dermabrasion and curettage.

Many people chose to have DPN removed for cosmetic reasons, though the decision for removal must be considered carefully as it is not always possible to completely remove all spots.  Minimising the appearance of DPN may sometimes be a better option.

Removal of DPN can also result in pigmentation defects at the original site, where the skin may go lighter or darker or even scar following the removal treatment. This outcome can also be undesirable.