DPNs and Moles

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What are DPNs and moles?

Small brown bumps on the face are often called moles, but they may be something called DPNs (or Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra). They tend to occur in great numbers, like in the hundreds, but of course, they have to start with a few. They tend to be dark brown/almost black and may be flatter or more pedunculated/hanging. They can sometimes look like freckles, true moles, warts or skin tags. They are completely harmless and do not turn into cancer, so there is no worry, but you may not like them cosmetically.

To learn which treatment may be right for you, schedule an appointment with Steele Dermatology online or give us a call at (770) 464-6000.

What causes DPNs and moles?

The biggest reason that you will get DPNs is genetics. If you have them, there is almost 100% chance that your mom, dad, or siblings have them as well. There is also a huge racial component. They are most common in Black and Latino people, and sometimes South Asians, but are otherwise rare. Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent them, except treating them when they are small in size and number so that they never become large and widespread.

Where do you get DPNs and moles?

These DPNs can actually occur almost anywhere on the body, but they are usually on the face, sometimes extending down to the neck, chest and even back

How do we treat DPNs and moles?

They DPNs must be removed with a laser or similarly, with a hyfrecatur, which is electrocautery.  If they hang more than they are flat, then they may be removed surgically.  These are the least traumatic ways to treat them to make sure that the area heals without scarring or discoloration.  

Laser skin resurfacing

Laser Treatment

Laser treatment for DPNs (or any small harmless growths) uses a laser to target each individual lesion. The lesions are destroyed by the energy of the laser then they fall off several days later.



Electrocautery treatment for DPNs uses very focused electrical energy to destroy the individual lesions. If they are smaller, then they will fall off after a few days. Larger lesions may take up to a couple of weeks to heal.

Schedule an Appointment

With offices conveniently located in Atlanta and Alpharetta, Steele Dermatology offers multiple procedures to treat DPNs and moles. To learn which treatment may be right for you, schedule an appointment or give us a call at (770) 464-6000.