Dermatosis papulosa nigra is a condition in which small dark bumps develop on the face. These first appear during teen years, slowly becoming more pronounced as one ages. This is fairly common in blacks, present in about one third of adults. Occasionally this may also appear on white and oriental skin.
The individual lesions are black or dark brown flat papules, ranging from 1 – 5mm in diameter. They are most numerous on the upper cheeks, but can occur on the rest of the face, neck, chest, and back. These are probably a variant of seborrheic keratoses since under a microscope they are indistinguishable.
Cosmetic removal of these lesions should be done with care since the darker the skin type, the higher the chance of pigmented scars. One planning removal may consider having several test lesions on the side of the face treated to assess their risk of scarring. Removal with light electrodesiccation, cryosurgery, or curettage are all effective means of treatment.