Tiny black dots on the skin are what experts often call DPN (Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra). This skin condition is benign. And it is very common in black Americans, and generally, those that have a dark skin tone. More so, this condition is hereditary. For instance, if your mother and grandmother have these spots all over their cheeks, chances are that you’ll have them too when you grow older. But there is no reason to fret since they are usually not harmless. Anyways, you may still desire to get rid of them for cosmetic reasons. Is there any easy way of removing DPNs? If you have them, does it mean you’re stuck for life? We’ll give you an overview of this condition as you read on.
How does DPN develop? You know that they grow on your skin surface. But what triggers this growth? The growth of DPN is triggered by epidermal cell buildup. Their appearance often begins during the 20s. But as we mentioned before, they are not only benign but are also completely harmless. Sometimes, people mistakenly refer to DPNs as warts or moles. But unlike warts, DPNs are not in any way viral. And unlike moles, they do not in any way indicate possible cancer growth. While DPNs are only typically on your skin surface, moles are much deeper inside the skin. So to allay your fears, DPNs are never cancerous.
What You Should Know About Tiny Black Dots on Skin
As we mentioned earlier, there tiny black dots are called DPN (Dermatosis papulosa Nigra). Sometimes, the dots are brown rather than black. And they are mostly seen around the eyes and cheekbones. But then, you can also find them in other places on your face, chest, neck, and even back.
DPN has different presentations. For some people, there are only a limited number of isolated spots. But some others may have the spots in hundreds. At times, the tiny spots may appear flat. And at other times, they may hang off like skin tags.
Regardless of how DPN presents, it is never cancerous and calls for no medical concerns whatsoever. If anything, they only call for cosmetic concerns. In some cases, however, they might be itchy and somewhat irritating.
Dermatologists tell us that DPNs are mostly seen on blacks, as well as dark-skinned Asians. You will hardly find them on people of other races.
More so, it is less likely for a fair-skinned black person to develop DPN than for a dark-skinned black person. And the condition is much more common in women than in men.
Usually, DPN starts growing around puberty. But you may not notice them until around the 20s. From puberty, they gradually grow in both number and size with age.
Now you may want to know, what causes DPN? Why are you getting these tiny black “moles”? Well, experts are yet to find out the exact cause. But we can assure you, nonetheless, that they are harmless.
But then, be careful not to pass any growth on your face off as DPN. You should see a dermatologist, to examine the spots. Don’t just jump to conclusions.
DPN has a unique distribution and appearance. Dermatologists are trained to recognize these very easily. But sometimes, the dermatologist may choose to perform an invasive biopsy. This is usually to be doubly sure of the diagnosis.
Treatment for DPN
Remember that DPN is not dangerous. We must reiterate that before we start talking about its treatment. So that you can keep in mind that DPN treatment is not a matter of life and death. The reasons why some people prefer to get rid of DPN are purely cosmetic.
More so, DPN generally gets worse with age. The spots would typically increase in number and size. And the only way for the number and size of DPN spots to decrease is to treat them.
If you are thinking about treating your DPN, you should consider your expectations carefully. You should also consider the goals of the treatment. This is because DPN treatment might not completely remove the spots.
If you are treating DPN, a realistic goal would be to reduce or minimize the spots’ appearance. If your goal is to erase or completely remove them, that may be unrealistic.
There is another twist to DPN treatment. Remember that the condition is more common in color (dark-skinned) patients. This skin type can easily develop pigmentation defects and scarring after treatment. Pigmentation defects here refer to the darkening or lightening of a skin area.
The twist here is that the treatment might give you a scarred or blotchy skin appearance. This is not in any way cosmetically better than the original problem with DPN. So consider your choice and option carefully.
DPN treatment options include the following:
- Shave excision
- Scissor excision
- Laser removal
More about DPN Treatment
DPN treatment has no fixed cost. The cost would depend first on what treatment option you are going for. And then, the size of the skin area you are treating will count as well.
Remember that the only reasons for DPN treatment are cosmetic. As such, don’t expect your insurance to cover the expense. If you are removing the tiny black dots on your skin, you should prepare to pay for the treatment “out of your pocket”.
You may wonder, of all treatment options, which is the best? This is best determined by your attending dermatologist. They know which treatment option works best for each skin type. The number and sizes of the spots also matter in deciding the best treatment option.
More so, experts know that they may take special care when treating DPN in color patients. Remember we mentioned the risk of pigment disorders and scarring earlier. Experts will go for options that minimize these risks.
Some experts understand ethnic skin better. These doctors have a better perspective of color skin’s unique properties, as well as expected treatment outcomes. If you are a person of color, you should look for such doctors to handle the treatment of your tiny black dots on your skin. You can ask for recommendations from friends and family.