< Dermatosis papulosa nigricans

Multiple tiny black dots on face: Dermatosis papulosa nigricans (DPNs)

Dermatosis papulosa Nigricans (DPNs) are those small, black, slightly raised, mole-wart kind of a thing commonly seen on the cheeks of a dark skinned individual. It is neither a disease nor does it have any bearing on your health. It is just a simple cosmetic problem as it looks unsightly to many of us and hurray….It can very easily be fixed.

What causes DPNs?

The cause of DPNs is still not known. O man! What are we doctors doing? We don’t even know the reason for this small harmless entity…. that’s the harsh reality about many skin diseases. But it has been noticed that it generally runs in family…so we can comfortably attribute it to an individual’s skin genetic make-up (easy for us docs to blame everything on genes:) )

Who can develop DPNs?

I usually tell my clients that its their age and maturity…..DPNs have been hardly ever seen in kids. It is rarely seen in teens. On the other hand it is very commonly seen in adults and old alike. It has been linked to sun-exposure, but there is no confirmatory data on the same. I still advise use of sun-screen as one of the preventive steps for DPNs.



How to choose a right sunscreen?ย 

Is sunscreen alone sufficient for sun protection?



Do you have DPNs? Then you share something in common with Morgan Freeman and even Obama…..never noticed? Ya…even they have DPNs and I guess they are happy to have them as they never get them removed ๐Ÿ™‚

Dermatosis paulosa nigricans


How to get rid of DPNs?

Now this is the easiest question for me coz its very easy to tackle DPNs. These can be easily removed by a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon by the use of some very harmless therapies like Electro-dessication, Radiofrequency cauterization,Cryotherapy or Lasers. I know these names looks scary…. but they are not in reality. All of these therapies basically aims at destroying the DPNs by either burning them or freezing them.

I will give a brief description of the entire procedure

1) After assessment and confirmation that these are DPNs, an anesthesia cream is liberally applied on the affected area. This will make the skin totally numb.

2) Lasers or cautery are then used to individually burn each and every DPNs. We burn them as superficially as possible, so that there is minimal chance of any scarring or marks being left behind.

3) Immediately after the procedure, the treated area looks slightly red. This then turns dry and brown in 3-5 days and nearly in a weeks time the dry brown scab falls off and there you are……with a vibrant shiny smooth spotless skin.

Post Procedure care

1) I prescribe an antibiotic cream to be used for a week for a nice healing.

2) Sunscreen is always advised to prevent any chance of darkening of the treated area.

Side-effects after DPNs removal

If done under an experienced doc, there is hardly any chance of side effect. Though rarely few issues can arise:

1) There might be a small chance of darkening (hyperpigmentation) or lightening (hypopigmentation) of the surrounding skin. This can be treated with appropriate creams.Chances of colour change (usually hypopigmentation) is more with cryotherapy or freezing technique

2) Very-very rarely scarring can happen

3)There is always a chance that DPNs will recur back after a gap of few months or years. One can again opt for same treatment in case it recurs.


That’s it…..It is mostly not covered under insurance, but it is not an expensive treatment. All the above mentioned treatment gives the same results, but lasers are usually more expensive than cauterization or freezing.

Just to summarize, DPNs are harmless and can be easily removed. Once your DPNs are removed, the clarity and smoothness of your skin would even surpass a brilliantly “photoshopped” image of yours.Try it out ๐Ÿ™‚




23 thoughts on “Multiple tiny black dots on face: Dermatosis papulosa nigricans (DPNs)

  1. Hi Arpita,

    That was a wonderful and informative post ๐Ÿ™‚

    Yes, I’ve heard of such dark moles, but never knew they were named DPNs, and all that you mentioned about it. For that matter, a few elders in my family have them, which we usually think arise due to sun exposure as you mentioned. Lol…being elders, they really don’t find any harm or problem and don’t wish to get it removed even, as we asked them once about their moles!

    You are right, kids and teens don’t have these, though I think they are different than the usual moles we might see on the cheek perhaps? Those might be just one or two, while DPNs show up in huge numbers over time if I am not mistaken.

    I liked the easy way to remove them, as you explained that well, and the treatment thereafter as well. I wonder how much would the whole process cost, as it might be varying, depending on the number of DPNs or moles, and the place you are located. Dermatologist charge quite a bit this end, so I wonder ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead ๐Ÿ™‚
    Harleena Singh recently posted…14 Free Blogging Apps for Your Android Mobile PhoneMy Profile

    • drarpitajain

      Hi Mrs. Harleena,

      You are right in all the points you made.

      Your observation regarding moles in kids and teenage is right. The one or two moles they have are the “real moles” and not DPNs. DPNs as rightly pointed by you are often multiple in number and located mostly on cheeks only.

      The charges, as again rightly mentioned by you, would vary depending on the number and also depending on the Doctor’s brand ๐Ÿ™‚ A doc settled in a much posh locality would charge a hell whereas in govt. hospital it is done free of cost. So it varies a lot with the doc you plan to visit.

      Thanks for stopping by:)

  2. Hello Dr Arpita,
    This was quite an informative post.
    I am glad you have explained them so nicely. Being a B.pharm student myself, I know how hard it is to find the causes aeiteiology of the diseases and yeah, its easy to blame them on the genes. haha

    I personally don’t think you should leave it as it is. I mean unless you wan to make a brand for it. Like Mr. freeman is more known as a black spotted an than as a talent. (He is talented but for those who don’t know him we can use DPN’s to describe it).

    I liked your take on the article. I guess there are certain herbal medicenes that would make them fall of.
    Thanks for the article. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Swadhin Agrawal recently posted…Best SEO plugins for WordPress (2015) to boost rankings in SERPsMy Profile

    • drarpitajain

      Hi Swadhin,
      First of all, glad to know you have a B.Pharma background..at least some medical background ๐Ÿ™‚

      Ya, definitely for many people it is their “trade mark ” ha ha…..but its removal is totally an individual’s decision. As it is not a disease I really can’t force or rather recommend someone to get it removed, but yes, as a cosmetic concern, it should definitely be removed.

      I have no clue about any herbal medicine, as its not my forte…But I am sure their must be some treatment in herbal meds too for this simple problem.\

      Thanks for liking:)

  3. Hi Dr. Arpita,

    Morgan Freeman is an amazing actor. At times I wondered what are the black mole kind of things on his cheeks, but never really ventured out to know more. Thanks to you, today I know that it is called DPN.

    I like the way you have explained this along with the removal process and the side-effects. This was very informative and will certainly be of help to a lot of people ๐Ÿ™‚
    Arpit Roy recently posted…3 Best Selfie Smartphones of 2015My Profile

    • drarpitajain

      Hey Arpit,
      Thanks for visiting the blog and appreciating.

      • rahma soud

        is there a way of removing DPNs nAturally?

  4. Read about it in an online wiki by edited by dermatology professionals.


  5. Hi Arpita,

    How you doing ? , It ‘s been a long time from now we hadn’t interacted.
    Good to see that you run a own blog and I hope that most of them would’ve benefited by reading your blog post.
    This is post is very interesting and bit scary also because my cousin has some small small black dots on this face. I don’t exactly that the black dot on his face resemble to DPN’s. I remember that he didn’t care about it and left it. But I wouldn’t suggest to check the concern doctor first and take some prevention for that.

    Your blog post about DPNs, first I got scared of seeing that black dots ๐Ÿ™‚ , but the way you described about the procedure of cause, effects and how to get out of it. It much appreciated for it.

    siva recently posted…How to get more hits on your blog?My Profile

    • drarpitajain

      Hi Siva,

      Long time indeedโ€ฆ..

      I know the medical pics are always scary and repulsive for those with no medical backgroundโ€ฆbut believe me, I try and choose the least scary pics possible.

      You are right in suggesting your cousin that he should first get it confirmed from a dermatologist if he really has DPNs or some other skin condition, and then you can plan the treatment accordingly.

      Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Hi Arpita
    I must say one thing that some medical terms are very complicated. Dermatosis papulosa nigricans (OMG). Thanks to you coz by looking at this term, I would have definitely formed negative picture in my mind.
    Morgan Freeman is a great actor. I think now these moles don’t affect his personality. So, now people has two choices – either generate a personality to hide all physical flaw or great wonderful treatment from you ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Thanks for this wonderful info
    Yatin recently posted…Calmasutra: 69 ways to live happy and stress-free lifeMy Profile

  7. Hi Dr Arpita

    You know this is a wonderful resource. I do know Mr Freeman and I have noticed his DPN. I never knew this was harmless and can be cured. He seems not to bothered by it because he was have done a surgery like you mentioned.

    Thanks for making this complicated issue so simple to digest. Have a wonderful week.
    ikechi recently posted…What Do You Do When No One Appreciates Your Work?My Profile

  8. Hi Arpita,
    Glad to be here again after a bit gap,
    It is indeed a new information to me.
    DPNs short form is good to pronounce!
    but the medical name is really a bit hard one!! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Thanks for sharing this information about this and its solution to fix it.
    Keep sharing.
    Best Regards
    Hey, you have been mentioned in one of my latest posts.
    Have a great week ahead
    Philip Verghese ‘Ariel’ recently posted…Google Employees: Will They Interact With Website Owners?My Profile

  9. That’s amazing right there, I love people who are proud to be who they are. Or are so confident that those things don’t matter I have a blog about how to get lighter skin and I wrote it to try and help people achieve this. But ultimately if you can find the confidence within you will be much happier.

  10. Prudence Nkosi

    Thank you

  11. Thandi

    You are a life saver.

  12. Samira

    Hello doc. An interesting post. I’m an anesthesiologist myself, suffering from bad skin problems since the past ten odd years( acne+scars+blackheads) . I was wondering if it’s possible for blackheads to turn into similar looking permanent black spots because although i’m not old, i started developing alot of black spots since i was 25, which look like the spots shown Above ( although i think mine is not DPN) . It bothers me alot. They look like blackheads but are not . What could it be? I could really do with some help coz 27 is not an age i’d like to have such spots on my face.
    Looking for a solution

  13. Hi Arpita, thank you for the information on DPNs. I had the surgery done and the DPNs came back within two years. As I aged, I get more. It is a heridatry in African American families.

    • drarpitajain

      Hi Marguerita,
      DPNs at times can be hereditary, but is mostly dependent on your individual skin genetics. Yes it might come back again and again, even after surgical removal. the only treatment for that is removal once again ๐Ÿ™‚
      But if you take good sun protection, the chances of recurrence should be reduced

  14. Sophia

    Hi Dr. Arpita
    Thank u for this articles share on DPN, this my first time to hear of the name cos the whole of my skin is full with this DPN and have been looking for the treatment for a long time of which l no longer go out with confidence to meet friend and l sometimes cried out my eyes out because of this growth, am in Nigeria and l don’t known if we have a good Doctor that can treat this DPN on my face, pls Dr. Arpita direct me on how to go about it. l live in Lagos (Nigeria). thanks for putting a smile on my face again


    • drarpitajain

      Hi Sophia,
      please visit a dermtologist in your area. i am sure they will help you very well.
      take care and keep smiling ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Vishwajeet Thakur

    is their any home remedies for the removal of this

  16. Hello Dr Arpita once again nice post…..I have noticed a bit later….You can IMprove user base on your website by making slightly editing in the website Once again thanks for the post

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