Dermatosis papulosa nigra: what it is, causes, symptoms and treatment


Dermatosis papulosa nigra is a skin condition characterized by the appearance of small brown or black spots on the skin, called papules, mainly on the face, neck and trunk. These papules do not hurt or itch and can clump together to form larger plaques of papules.

This condition is more common in people with black skin and Asians and can happen at any age, however it is more common in people over 60 years old. Dermatosis papulosa nigra is usually associated with genetic issues, however it is possible that its appearance is associated with constant sun exposure.

This situation does not pose a risk to health and does not cause signs or symptoms, therefore, treatment is not necessary. However, it is possible to perform some dermatological procedures for aesthetic purposes to remove papules or improve their appearance.

Main signs and symptoms

The characteristic signs and symptoms of dermatosis papulosa nigra are the appearance of multiple papules, brown or black, rounded, flat and superficial, which do not cause pain. Generally, at an early stage, the lesions have a smooth surface, and later they can become rough, wart-like or have a threadlike shape.

Possible causes

Dermatosis papulosa nigra is usually related to genetic factors, which can influence the development of the pilosebaceous follicle, resulting in the appearance of papules. Therefore, it is possible that people who have a family history of dermatosis papulosa nigra will also develop it over time.

In addition, it is believed that the appearance of papules is also related to sun exposure, because they appear more easily in regions of the body that are more exposed to the sun.

How is the treatment done?

Dermatosis papulosa nigra does not require treatment because it does not cause pain or discomfort. However, for aesthetic reasons, a dermatologist can be consulted and papules can be removed using different techniques, such as curettage, laser, excision, electrofulguration or application of liquid nitrogen, for example.

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