Last reviewed by Editorial Team on September 4th, 2018.
The skin is the first line of defense. It does not only shield the body from disease, but it also acts as the body’s natural accessory.
A healthy fair skin is something that many people want to achieve. One of the problematic areas of the skin is the neck.
Many people want to have a smooth and fair skin on their neck, but unfortunately, not all of them are blessed to have one. As a matter of fact, a lot of people suffer from dark/black neck. The cause of darkening of the neck varies from one person to another.
Some are caused by excessive exposure to the heat of the sun while others can be caused by an underlying medical condition. (1, 2, 3)
Image 1: A severely dark/black neck, which is not pleasing to the eyes.
Picture Source: i.ytimg.com
Picture 2: A dark discoloration of the neck can be a manifestation of an underlying medical condition such as diabetes.
Photo Source: i.ytimg.com
A dark need is sometimes accumulated dirt, especially if you are the type of a person who does not keen to cleaning the neck on a day to day basis. (1, 2)
An exposure to extreme heat of the sun can make the skin dark. Some people do it on a purpose, but there’s something odd if the tanning is not achieve all over the body. If the only dark spot in your skin is your neck, then that can be surely unsightly.
The condition of the skin reflects what’s happening inside the body. A black or dark neck can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Some of them are the following:
- Acanthosis nigricans – It is the darkening and thickening of the skin on the neck secondary to obesity and diabetes. It can also be linked to a severe medical condition like stomach and/or liver cancer.
- Dermatitis neglecta – It is caused by build-up of sweat, bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells. If you are the type of person who does not take a bath every day or care to scrub your neck on a daily basis, there is a high possibility of having dermatitis nelgecta.
- Dyskeratosis congenital/ Zinsser-Engman-Cole syndrome – It is the hyperpigmentation of the skin in the neck area making the neck looking dark and dirty. Aside from brownish discoloration the neck, other symptoms include sparse eyelashes, white patches in the mouth, and ridging of the fingernails.
- Lichen planus pigmentosus (LPP) – It is an inflammatory response that leads to scarring on different parts of the body including the neck.
- Tinea versicolor – It is a fungal infection caused by excessive growth of yeast in the neck and other parts of the body such as the chest, arms, and back.
Erythema dyschromicum perstans
A grey, black, or dark blue irregularly-shaped patches are found on the neck, upper arms, and torso. It is not associated with any medical condition. (3, 4, 5, 6)
Diagnosis of underlying medical conditions
To accurately diagnose the underlying root cause of darkening or blackening of the patient’s neck, a thorough physical examination needs to be done. If necessary, a skin sample is taken for further analysis.
The patient’s past medical history and surgical history should be taken into considerations too. Lifestyle such as prolonged exposure to the sun, diet, and vices are also taken into consideration.
Other tests that will help determine the underlying cause include the following:
- Blood test – This is to check the hormone and blood sugar level of the patient.
- Skin sample – This is to check the presence of any harmful microorganisms in the skin. (1, 3, 4)
Photo 3: A before and after treatment of dark/black neck.
Image Source: i.ytimg.com
Dark Neck Treatment
To get rid of a black or dark neck, the root cause should be determined first. If it is caused by a fungal infection, it should be treated using anti-fungal agents in the form of ointments or creams.
It is applied to the skin and would take several days to weeks for you to see a significant improvement. If it is an acanthosis nigricans, you can try to lighten the skin using skin-lightening creams and scrubs. However, if you want it to be gone forever, then you need to address the underlying cause.
You should keep your blood sugar level under control. You also need to manage your weight. Obesity and high blood sugar are the two underlying causes for acanthosis nigricans.
If it is just caused by poor hygiene and dirt build-up, you can somehow lighten the skin by taking a bath every day and scrubbing the neck area with soap and clean water. It is best to use hot water to thoroughly get rid of the accumulated dirt and stubborn debris.
Just make sure you rinse it with cold water to make sure that the skin pores are close. (5, 6, 7, and 8)
How to get rid of black neck home remedies?
- Lemon extract – Lemon has a natural lightening effect on the skin. In fact, it is used to remove dirt on surfaces including dirt in clothes. Since it is natural, it is tough on dark spots but gentle on the skin. Rub the extract of lemon on the neck at least two times a day and after a few days, you will be able to see a significant improvement.
- Potato paste – Potato has a natural skin whitening property. Slice the potato and mash to create a paste and gently apply the paste on the problematic areas of the neck. Leave it there for a few minutes and rinse using cold water.
- Oatmeal scrub – Create an oatmeal paste by mixing a cup of oatmeal with a ¼ cup of milk. Apply the mixture on your neck in a gentle rubbing motion. Leave it there for a few minutes and rinse with a cold water. It would take a few weeks for you to see an improvement but it does work wonder in lightening the skin the natural way.
- Aloe Vera gel – The gel of Aloe Vera has a gentle skin lightening effect. Apply a fresh Aloe Vera gel on your neck and leave it there for at least half an hour and rinse with cold water. Do this for at least three times a week.
A dark neck is unsightly, but more than the skin deep problem there are other health implications.
If you have tried the natural remedies mentioned above and nothing seems to work, then you need to see your doctor. He will conduct a series of test to determine the underlying cause. (7, 8, 9, 10)