What Are These Little Black Moles on My Face?


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Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra HipLatina

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As a little girl, I used to find countless ways to annoy my mom. One of them involved counting the “bumpy freckles” on her face. She had a small clustering of them under her eye, which I found not only “cool” but also intriguing. I wondered if it was a sign of womanhood, another one of the things I couldn’t wait to have when I grew up — “grown-up freckles.” At the time, mine were flat and I only had three that I could count. But these were like little chocolate candies floating in small clusters creating a gorgeous three-dimensional depth to her beauty. What were they?

I only recently discovered that they were hereditary — I’ve since developed a few of my own in adulthood — and they are actually part of a condition called dermatosis papulosa nigra or DPN (Morgan Freeman has it), a benign condition of the skin that typically affects people of color and 35% of Black people. As common as it is, I decided to do a deeper dive into what it is and how it can and should be treated (or honored, as I like to say considering I’ve always found it to be a rather dope trait to have).

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