Sweat, friction from tight shirt collars, and using hair products can irritate the back of the neck, leading to acne breakouts, ingrown hairs, or boils on this sensitive body area.
Causes of Irritation on the Back of the Neck
The skin at the back of your neck contains many hair follicles and oil glands in high concentration, making this area highly vulnerable to irritation from clothing and sweat/dirt build-up in clogged pores. This can result in breakouts such as blackheads, whiteheads, or blemishes. Inflamed papules may even develop into painful pus-filled cysts or nodules.
Folliculitis Keloidalis Nuchae
Bumps and scarring on the back of your neck could indicate Folliculitis Keloidalis Nuchae. This chronic inflammatory skin condition causes lumpy scars along the hairline and neck area. This condition is more common in young people of color and males.
Prevention and Treatment of Acne on the Neck
To reduce breakouts on the back of your neck, keep the area clean, use non-comedogenic shampoo and conditioner, and avoid close shaving and rubbing the area with jewelry or clothing. You should avoid greasy, fatty foods and choose non-comedogenic makeup and skincare products.
Ingrown hairs occur when cut hair curls back into itself or the follicle after shaving or other hair removal methods. Curly or coarse hair is more prone to ingrown hairs. Infected ingrown hairs can appear like pus-filled pimples.
Treating Ingrown Hairs
Stop shaving until the hair grows out, use exfoliating products containing salicylic acid or glycolic acid, or apply serum with vitamin A to speed up cell turnover.
Folliculitis and Acne Keloidalis Nuchae
Bumps in the back of the neck hairline could indicate inflammation of hair follicles, known as folliculitis. Acne keloidalis nuchae, a more severe form, causes itchy bumps, developing into keloidal scarring. Treatment options may include razors with rounded blades, antibiotics, laser treatments, or surgery.
Boils on the Back of the Neck
Sweat and friction from clothing can irritate hair follicles, leading to boils. Boils are pus-filled bumps caused by bacterial infections, commonly Staphylococcus aureus. Small boils can heal independently, while larger ones may require professional draining and antibiotics.
Preventing Spreading of Boils
Do not squeeze or pop a boil yourself, as it can lead to complications. Instead, apply warm compresses to ease pain and aid in draining the abscess. Practice good hygiene, wash hands regularly, and avoid sharing personal items to prevent spreading bacteria.