Our team of medical experts are ready to help

Your questions answered

Mo asked...

Freckly spots on face

Tags: Skin

Hi, I am a 37 year old male with generally good health. I weigh 68kg and am fairly active. Over the last 10 years I've noticed small, dark, freckly spots appearing on my face. Over the years they've increased in numbers around the side of my eyes and just underneath. They've also appeared in large numbers on my back. These spots are very similar to those the actor Morgan Freeman has on his face. Is there anything I can do to reduce or remove these from my face and back?

  • mother-thermometer-doctor-at-hand

    Do you need to see a GP quickly?


    Would you like to speak with a doctor by video or phone at a time that suits you?

    Our Doctor@Hand service, delivered by Doctor Care Anywhere, offers a doctor appointment by video or phone at a time that suits you.

The answer

We believe that the condition you may be referring to is Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra.

Dermatosis papulosa nigra (DPN) is a variant of seborrhoeic keratoses. Seborrhoeic keratoses are very common, it is a benign skin condition where there is an over proliferation of normal skin cells.

By the age of 70 years, 75% of the UK’s population will have at least one of these growths. The number of these growths on the skin can range from just a few - to hundreds. Dermatosis papulosa nigra tends to appear at an earlier age in years than seborrhoeic keratoses.

Because seborrhoeic keratoses are benign and it’s a non-infectious skin condition, where there are no symptoms, typically people learn to accept this skin condition as a fact of their lives. Once the growths are removed, new keratoses will appear and this can be very frustrating, especially when the growths are on the face.

It is possible to have some of the keratoses removed by a dermatologist or by general practitioner, but often people decide not to go ahead with these forms of treatment. There are two standard forms of treatment, they can be removed by curettage (scrapping them off with a local anaesthetic) or they can be removed by cryotherapy ( freezing with liquid nitrogen). The reason as to why seborrhoeic keratoses develop, is not fully understood. We would suggest that you speak to your general practitioner for an accurate diagnosis and guide to the management of the skin condition that you are experiencing.

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses  

Newsletter sign up

Sign up to our monthly newsletter, Better Health, to receive our latest health and wellbeing updates.

Sign up to newsletter