What is a Black Neck?
skin on the neck is highly predisposed to darkening either through exposure to the sun, hormonal changes or other skin-related problems. One who experiences black neck may also experience changes to their skin texture.
In most cases, causes of a black neck do not require urgent medical care or attention. It is always recommended and advised to consult a doctor for appropriate diagnosis.
Possible causes of a black neck may include:
v Dermatitis Neglecta:
This is a skin condition that happens when a person’s skin is built up of dead skin cells, oil, sweat and bacteria on their skin. This buildup causes discoloration of the skin and as well as accumulation of micro-organisms on the skin.
The neck is a common place for dermatitis neglecta to grow because of lack of enough cleansing with soap, water, and strong resistive force that prevents the removal of excess skin cells.
v Acanthosis Nigricans:
This can cause dark, thick skin on the neck. It makes the skin have a similar texture to that of velvet. This condition is non-contiguous and can appear suddenly which poses a serious threat to human health. Obese and diabetes patients are at higher risk of having this condition.
In rare cases, acanthosis nigricans is an indication of an underlying medical condition such as stomach or liver cancer.
v Dyskeratosis Congenita:
Otherwise known as Zinsser-Engman-Cole syndrome, this condition causes hyperpigmentation of the skin of the neck which makes it look unkempt.
This condition can as well cause white patches inside the mouth, ridging of the fingernails, and densed eyelashes.
v Erythema Dyschromicum Perstans:
Also known as Ashy Dermatosis. This condition causes slate-gray, dark blue, or black coloured patches of skin on the neck and upper arms that is irregular in shape. These patches can sometimes be seen on the torso.
The condition does not indicate any underlying medical conditions and is mild.
v High Bood Insulin Levels:
Hyperpigmentation on the neck most especially at the back of the neck can be experienced by a person whose level of insulin is really high and has been suffering from this condition for a very long time. This happens more in women who have been diagnosed of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
v Lichen Planus Pigmentosus (LPP):
This is an inflammatory condition that causes scars to grow on areas of the body. Discolouration of the skin could occur which causes grey-brown patches on the face and neck although these patches are not itchy.
v Tinea versicolor:
Tinea Versicolor is a form of infection by the fungus, “Mallassezia Furfur”. This type of yeast is mostly found on the skin and an overgrowth could cause dark patches on the neck as well as the back, chest, and arms.
The skin may also appear very dark and itchy if one recently had been exposed to sun.
How to diagnose a black neck
Samples gotten from the skin may be taken during inspection of the neck by a doctor. Questions can then be asked by the doctor.
Questions asked by the doctor may include:
· Medical History
· Recent changes to medications or lifestyle habits such as sun exposure.
Followed by thorough inspection of the neck and maybe referral to a dermatologist if the cause is still not determined.
A doctor may also conduct some tests so as to determine a potential underlying cause.
Ø Blood test: A test may be carried out to check the levels of blood sugar and hormones.
Ø Skin sample: This is done either by scraping the skin or through biopsy to determine if fungal cells are present.
Once the cause of black neck is being determined by a doctor, condition-specific solutions will be recommended.
Treatments for each condition may include:
« Tinea Versicolor: This is treated using anti-fungal ointments that can be applied on the skin. Serious complications may require oral anti-fungal medications.
« Dermatitis Neglectans: This is treated by scrubbing of the black neck with soap and water to reduce the outlook of the darkened area. One may also decide to soak the neck in a bath or use an hot compress to remove stubborn remains
« Hyperpigmentation: Treatment for this condition may include topical tretinoin (a form of retinoic acid) that helps in skin cell turnover. Laser therapies may also help to reduce the frequency of hyperpigmentation.
« Acanthosis Nigricans: Although there are numerous skin-lightening creams and scrubs for the treatment of skin darkening associated with acanthosis nigricans, they are usually not effective. Tackling the underlying causes may help, such as blood sugar levels management and weight loss.
Other treatment options will depend one’s underlying medical condition and health status.
Home remedies for black neck
To achieve a positive outcome, adapting good lifestyle choices and skincare should be properly taken into consideration to achieve a positive result to help reduce the occurrence of a black neck.
home remedies may include:
ü Thorough washing of the skin with soap and water twice a day.
ü Usage of exfoliating scrubs to help reduce black neck by removal of dead skin.
ü Daily application of sunscreen.
ü Consumption of healthy diet and meals (vegetables and fruits inclusive).
Application of skin care products at home have been found to be helpful. However, one should always apply a new product to a small area or test patch first and wait for at least 24 hours to make sure they are not allergic or sensitive to the substance.
A black or hyperpigmented neck can be very distressing though most times it is very much treatable. If one is not sure of the cause of black neck or is showing symptoms of a black neck such as pain and itching, they should see a doctor and a proper diagnosis should be carried out on the individual.