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Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra

What Is Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra?

Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra is a medical condition in which there is development of small dark bumps usually in the facial regions. These lesions start to appear first during the teenage years of an individual and advances as the years go by. This disease is quite common in African-Americans, but can also occur in Native Americans. The lesions tend to be black or dark brown in color and are about 1 to 5 mm in diameter. They tend to occur more on the upper part of the cheeks, but can also occur throughout the face along with the neck, chest, and back. Studies believe that this disease is a variant of another medical condition called Seborrheic Keratoses since when these lesions are examined under a microscope there is practically no difference between the lesions of Seborrheic Keratoses and Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra.

Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra

What Are The Causes Of Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra?

Studies show that Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra is most likely an inherited disease as more than 50% of people with this disease have had a family history of it. Researchers believe that this disease is caused due to developmental defect of the hair follicles.

What Are The Symptoms Of Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra?

It is estimated that Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra tends to affect approximately 35% of African-Americans, although the number tends to get low in African-Americans with a fairer complexion. Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra also is found to occur in dark colored Asians. This disease is shown to occur more in females than in males.

The lesions due to Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra usually tend to appear during the teenage years of the individual and gradually increase with age. These lesions usually occur in the cheeks but may spread to encompass the whole face. Additionally, these lesions may also occur in the neck, back, and chest. There is usually no evidence of any scaling or crusting or ulceration. These lesions do not cause any symptoms but they may not be pleasant to see.

What Are Treatments For Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra?

The lesions caused by Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra are relatively benign and do not require any treatment unless they affect an individual’s cosmetic appearance. In case if a treatment is required, then it is mainly surgical and includes curettage, cryotherapy, and laser therapy. Some of the potential complications of surgery include postoperative scarring, skin discoloration, or formation of keloids. Hence it is advisable that conservative treatment be tried first.

Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra

Some of the natural ways to get rid of the lesions due to Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra are:

Garlic: Squeeze a clove of garlic and apply it over the affected area and then cover it with a bandage. This is believed to be quite effective in treating the lesions.

Vitamin Tablets: One can try crushing vitamin C tablets and applying the powder to the affected areas and then putting a bandage over it. This is also quite an effective measure in reducing the lesions.

Castor Oil: Use some Castor Oil and gently massage it over the affected areas two to three times a day. This has been shown to reduce the prominence of lesions quite effectively.

Banana: One can also use the inside half of a banana peel and place it over the affected area such that the peel touches the lesions and then cover the area with a bandage and keep the bandage on for about a couple of hours. This is an effective way to treat the lesions.

It is imperative that the affected individual stays indoors and avoids sun as much as possible as exposing the lesions to the sun may cause the lesions to become that more prominent. Even if one has to go out it is advisable to protect the affected areas of the skin by using appropriate lotions so that the lesions do not get exposed to the sun.


  1. DermNet NZ. “Seborrhoeic keratoses.” https://dermnetnz.org/topics/seborrhoeic-keratoses/
  2. American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. “Seborrheic Keratoses.” https://www.aocd.org/page/SeborrheicKeratoses
  3. National Center for Biotechnology Information. “Dermatosis papulosa nigra.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK556048/
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 1, 2023

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