What are the causes of darkening of the neck and how to treat it

Black neck is a term used to describe a condition in which the skin on your neck is noticeably darker than the surrounding skin, also referred to as “dark neck.” The change in color may be alarming and make you self-conscience, however, in most cases it isn’t cause for concern nor is it contagious.

In some cases, however, this skin darkening may be a warning sign of something more serious, so it’s important to see a doctor to determine the cause and begin any necessary treatment. Read on to learn more about black neck, what causes it, and how to treat it.

Symptoms of black neck

The primary symptom of black neck is a darkening of the skin on the neck. In some cases, the darkening may also affect other areas of your body, most commonly the armpits.

Other symptoms that may accompany it include:

• thickened skin

• skin that feels velvety to the touch

• itchiness

If the darkening appears suddenly, consult a doctor, as it could be a sign of a more serious underlying condition.

Causes of black neck

Darkening of the neck may be caused by various conditions including the following:

• Acanthosis nigricans

Acanthosis nigricans (AN) is a condition in which the skin turns dark and thick and may feel velvety. It can appear on the neck, in folds of skin, and elsewhere on the body. It’s most commonly found in the armpits, but sometimes in other creases like the groin. It can occur in men, women, and children and may be more common in those with darker skin.

AN isn’t a disease, nor is it contagious or harmful on its own. It’s most often related to one’s insulin level, and is often seen in those with prediabetes or diabetes. Children who develop AN are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Other more serious underlying conditions AN may signal include:

• Cushing’s disease

• cancer

• hormonal disorders

• obesity

AN may also be caused by various drugs and supplements including niacin, birth control pills, prednisone, and other corticosteroids.

Treatments usually treat the underlying cause of AN. If that isn’t successful then you may be given treatments for the skin like retinoids or vitamin D creams.

• Dermatitis neglecta

Dermatitis neglecta is a condition in which one’s skin changes color because it hasn’t been properly washed. It happens after sweat, bacteria, sebum, and other matter builds up due to a lack of hygiene. Also known as “unwashed dermatosis,” it’s a rare disorder but is easily treated by scrubbing the area with soap, water, or alcohol and prevented by maintaining personal hygiene.

Drug-induced skin pigmentation

Hyperpigmentation of the skin may occur as a result of some drugs, including but not limited to:

• nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

• phenytoin

• antimalarials

• amiodarone

• antipsychotic drugs

• tetracyclines

The discoloration can appear anywhere on the body, including the neck. The colors range from dark brown to blue-black. It typically will resolve once the drug causing it is stopped, however, the discoloration could also be long-term or even permanent. In those cases, laser treatments may be able to remove the hyperpigmentation.

How is black neck diagnosed?

Because black neck isn’t a disease but a symptom of an underlying condition, it’s important to see a doctor if you notice a darkening anywhere on your neck.

AN can typically be diagnosed with a skin check, but your doctor will likely also check you for diabetes and may perform additional tests such as blood tests and X-rays based on your other symptoms.

Treatment for black neck

Treating the underlying condition that’s causing your darkened neck is key to eliminating it and preventing it from recurring. In some cases, the discoloration may resolve when the condition is treated, or in the cases of drug-induced hyperpigmentation, when the medication is stopped. For example, most AN is caused by insulin resistance, which can often be solved with weight loss.

Even if the underlying condition is treated, long-term or permanent discoloration of the skin may remain, which may make you feel self-conscious. There are several options that may help return skin to its original color. While some may be better for certain skin tones, your doctor or a dermatologist can help determine which may be most effective for you.

Treatment options for black neck may include the following:

• exfoliation

• prescription medications including salicylic acid, Retin-A, and alpha hydroxy acids, as well as oral acne medications

• chemical peels

• laser treatments

Dark neck isn’t a harmful or contagious condition on its own. However, it could be the sign of a more serious condition, so you should see your doctor at the first signs of your skin darkening. They can help diagnosis and treat the cause as well as discuss treatment options to help your skin return to its original color.

Home Remedies to Get Rid of Dark Neck

• Make a honey and lemon mixture.

Combine three tablespoons of honey and two teaspoons of lemon juice. Honey and lemon juice are both known to have skin lightening properties. Apply the mixture to the darker portions of your neck and let it sit for 15 minutes before rinsing it off.

• Make a paste out of baking soda.

Mix several tablespoons of baking soda with a bit of water, just until it thickens into a paste. Apply the baking soda paste to the areas of discoloration on your neck and let it sit for approximately 15 minutes. Then wash it off with water.

• Make a paste out of orange peels and whole milk.

Dry out some orange peels by leaving them in the sun for a few hours. Once they are quite dry, grind the peels into a powder and add a bit of whole milk to the powder until it thickens into a paste. Apply the paste to your dark neck areas and let it dry on your skin. Leave it for 10-15 minutes before rinsing off.

• Rub cucumbers on your neck.

Sliced cucumbers can act as natural exfoliants for your skin. Simply slice a cucumber and gently rub one side of the slice all along the affected areas on your neck.

• Use a sugar and lemon mixture.

Mix several tablespoons of sugar with lemon juice until it thickens and becomes a paste. Apply the paste to the darkened areas on your neck and massage it gently into the skin. Let it sit for 15 minutes before rinsing.

• Try yogurt and walnuts.

Grind up one tablespoon of walnuts until there is just powder and small pieces of the nuts left. Combine the ground walnuts with several tablespoons of regular, unflavored yogurt. Apply the combination to the dark patches on your neck and massage it gently into your skin. Let it sit for 15 minutes before rinsing.

References… ( Black Neck) ( How to Lighten a Dark Neck)

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