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What is DPN?

Dr. Dhananjay Chavan

Jun 27, 2018

Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra commonly knowns as DPN is a condition that is predominantly found in the African population. They are black or brown spots found prominently on the cheek and around eyes. They are also found in the chest, neck, back etc. One should not be medically concerned with it unless they get itchy or irritating. They also occur in the malar areas and forehead. They are devoid of scaling, crusting, and ulceration.

People at risk and causes

  • The African Americans are at high risk to the condition, especially at the age of puberty. It has high chances of being a genetically transferred disease and many believe that it is due to a developmental defect of hair follicles.
  • It is mostly caused due to genetics but it can also be a byproduct of the natural, unavoidable aging procedure.


  • DPN is mostly characterized by the appearance of small bumps in the facial region with the advance of puberty.
  • They range from 1-5 mm in diameter and are black or brown in color.
  • Mostly occurring on the upper part of the cheek, they can take over the entire face as well.

Glimpse and identifying

At times a biopsy is done but usually, the distribution pattern of these small black brown dots in the locations mentioned above are sufficient for their identification.


  • The dpn treatment usually depends on the patient’s compliance. It is always better to minimize the appearance of spots rather than removing them completely.
  • Some natural methods are- using garlic, castor oil, vitamin C tablets or banana.
  • An imperative step is to avoid sun exposure.
  • Cosmetic removal is a matter of grave discussion preceding the surgery as it increases the chances of pigmented scars in the darker skin types.
  • Curettage that is scraping of the growth, electrocautery that is using the current to cauterize skin tissue and electrodesiccation which dehydrates and destroys the superficial tissue is the most effective treatment procedures.
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