Acne can occur all over the body. It is caused due to pores on the skin getting blocked by excess oil, dirt, and dead skin cells. Neck acne is very common and consists mostly of whiteheads and blackheads. People can also develop pustules and papules if neck acne gets infected by bacteria.
Causes of neck acne
The main cause of neck acne is the same as all types of acne – clogged pores. Neck acne can get exacerbated by using tight collars, oily hair, oily cosmetics and poor skin care that causes bacteria to build up. Treating neck acne is difficult since the skin is delicate. For men with neck acne, shaving can be particularly tricky.
Treatment for neck acne
Allopathic treatment : The first line of treatment is OTC medications like creams, lotions or gels that contain benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, alpha hydroxyl acids or topical antibiotics. Prescription medications like topical retinoids and oral antibiotics are prescribed for severe neck acne.
For more stubborn acne, doctors may prescribe Accutane or Isotretinoin. These medications are strong, cause severe side effects. Hence, they must be taken only under medical supervision.
Mineral and vitamin supplements can reduce inflammation caused by acne. Some effective remedies include topical zinc oxide, oral zinc supplements, topical and oral vitamin B3.
Alternative Medications : All types of acne including neck acne can be treated with alternative medications, some of which are listed below.
- Herbalists world over swear by the power of various herbs to treat acne. Some of which have proved effective are – flowers of honeysuckle and dandelion, loquat leaves , fruit of cape jasmine, roots of angelica and red peony, tangerine seeds, moutan bark and Zhejiang fritillaria bulbs etc.
- Bacteria that cause inflammatory neck acne can be treated with calendula, tea tree oil and green tea cream.
- Inflammatory acne can be treated with herbs like licorice root, witch hazel, evening primrose oil, German chamomile etc.
- Ayurvedic home remedies for acne – consume ½ cup juice of aloe vera twice a day, apply a paste of water and nutmeg on lesions, use face packs made of orange peel, and consume herbal preparations like Sunder Vati.
- Since one cause of acne is stress, aromatherapy can relieve this. Use calming essential oils like lavender, jasmine, rose, etc. These oils can be inhaled, use for a relaxing massage or used in baths to harmonize moods.
- Homeopathy also has many effective cures that can help with neck acne outbreaks. Antimonium tartaricum, pulsatilla, Silica are some homeopathic remedies for deep seated, pus-filled acne.
- Relaxing techniques like mediation and yoga can relieve stress and prevent future acne outbreaks.
- Hypnosis, cognitive imagery and biofeedback are also touted as effective acne treatments.
Laser and other procedures : This is a very popular method to treat severe acne and scars. It involves using pulses of light that peels off top layer of skin. Chemical peels, microdermabrasion and dermabrasion are all used for different stages of acne and scars.
For neck and back acne, laser resurfacing using aluminum hydroxide crystals is said to be an effective treatment.
Precautions with neck acne
To prevent outbreaks of neck acne, make sure you wash your hair regularly. Wash your face and neck at least twice a day with a mild, medicated soap. Make sure you do not use clothing that irritates your neckline like turtlenecks, collared shirts or scarves. Wear collarless shirts or crew neck shirts. If you do wear collared formal shirts, then choose soft cotton materials that are gentle on the skin.
Many substances you will find at home can be used daily to prevent an outbreak of acne. If your neck acne is caused due to oily hair or cosmetics, wash your hair with a mild shampoo several times a week. Keep hair away from your neck or cut it short. Some medications like topical retinoids and isotretinoin cause sun sensitivity. If you need to go outdoors then use a water-based, oil-free, non-comedogenic sunscreen with SPF 30 or more. This will prevent you from developing sunburn.
Use anti-bacterial soaps with lukewarm water to wash acne-prone areas. Do not let sweat remain on the skin. Take a shower after exercising, playing sports etc. Harsh detergents used on clothes and bed linen can aggravate acne. Wash these items with detergents free from harsh chemicals or perfumes that can aggravate acne symptoms.
Men who suffer from neck acne must first soften this area with warm water and soap, apply a shaving cream and then shave. Choose a shaving cream wisely for those with menthol can irritate acne eruptions. Using a sharp razor, you must use light strokes to shave in order to avoid rupturing neck acne.
Consult a dermatologist for the best treatment option for neck acne.