Dermatosis Papulosis Nigra

About Dermatosis Papulosis Nigra

Dermatosis papulosis nigra (DPN) appears as raised dark spots that tend to grow on the cheeks and other parts of the face, as well as occasionally on the neck, chest, and back. They are much more common in individuals with skin of color, namely those who are Black, Asian, and Hispanic/Latino. Actor Morgan Freeman and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are two well-known individuals who have DPN on their faces. DPN will often be mistaken as freckles when they first appear during adolescence, but with time they become larger and more raised. Although they tend to be benign and asymptomatic, many people are bothered by their appearance and hence seek to have them treated.

How are DPN treated?

At the Gateway Aesthetic Institute and Laser Center, our board-certified dermatologists use a state-of-the-art erbium laser to precisely ablate your DPN. The spot size that is used during this process is less than 1 mm in diameter and thus allows for extremely careful destruction of the DPN while sparing damage to the surrounding skin—a consideration that is extremely important in skin of color. Although some physicians will recommend treating DPN by freezing them (cryotherapy) or by burning them (cautery or electrodesiccation), these approaches carry a very high risk of inducing pigmentary damage to the surrounding skin (either hyperpigmentation whereby the skin becomes darker or hypopigmentation or even depigmentation, where the pigment is temporarily or permanently destroyed). Erbium laser in the hands of one of our extremely skilled physicians is the most effective way of treating DPN, giving you the best cosmetic outcome while leaving your surrounding skin untouched.

Can I have other treatments performed on the same day?

It is absolutely possible to have other treatments performed on the same day. Because DPN spots tend to be both small and superficial, it is in most cases possible to have any number of other treatments performed on the same day, in order to bundle your recovery time. Some of the treatments that our board-certified dermatologists will frequently perform in conjunction with DPN treatments include:

Are DPN the same as moles?

Although they might look like moles, DPN are technically not moles. Instead, they are benign spots where the epidermis has thickened. Because DPN are made of epidermal cells and not mole cells, this allows for our board-certified dermatologists to treat them with an erbium laser as described above, without having to resort to more invasive measures.

Is there a cure for DPN?

Unfortunately, there is no way to “cure” DPN. Because these spots are usually inherited from one of your relatives, they form as a result of your genetics, and not because of your habits. While laser ablation of DPN is an extremely effective treatment and brings about an excellent cosmetic outcome in the hands of our highly skilled physicians, it is not capable of preventing the formation of DPN in the future. For this reason, many of our patients will come in for maintenance treatment every 1-2 years to have any new DPN treated as they arise.

How long will I need to recover from having my DPN treated with ablative laser?

Depending on how extensive your DPN is, as well as whether you are having other treatments performed on the same day, recovery time can range from a couple of days to around a week. Recovery entails keeping the area clean and moist with ointment, and most importantly keeping the treated areas protected from the sun, so that they don’t become hyperpigmented. Once the treated areas have healed, it is possible to apply sunscreen and/or makeup over them to camouflage any residual redness, which will eventually fade with time.

Why trust Gateway Aesthetic Institute and Laser Center to treat my DPN?

Our board-certified dermatologists at Gateway Aesthetic Institute and Laser Center have decades of experience performing ablative laser treatments for a variety of benign skin growth using the most advanced erbium lasers. While most dermatology practices will offer to freeze or burn off DPN, these approaches are imprecise, as well as fraught with a high risk of pigmentary complications. Although it is, in most cases, possible to circumvent pigmentary issues following laser DPN ablation, they do occasionally arise. Should this happen to you, you can be assured that our highly experienced board-certified dermatologists have a number of strategies that they can employ to blend your complexion, and help you attain natural appearing results that allow you to rejuvenate your authentic appearance. Finally, because of our wide breadth of aesthetic offerings, it is possible for you to not only address your DPN during a single treatment session, but to also incorporate many other ways to refresh the appearance of your face and skin on the same day, so that you are making the most efficient use of your recovery time, while on the journey toward looking the best version of yourself.

Begin your aesthetic journey with us today.