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.
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 🙂
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 🙂