Acne is a chronic skin condition widely affecting people all across the globe. It is considered more common in adolescents with approximately 85% of teenagers being acne sufferers in the world. Though it mostly affects the facial skin, its occurrences might affect skin on your entire body, particularly your back, chest and neck area. This article will discuss the prevalence of neck acne and will further elaborate ways and methods of treating them as well as preventing its occurrence.
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What is neck acne?
Neck acne generally refers to the acne eruptions that develop on the back of the neck rather than the front part of the neck. The latter is to be considered a part of facial acne. They mostly occur in the form of postules and pus filled lesions accompanied by redness and inflammation of the skin. It may however also have whiteheads, blackheads and cysts. The skin of that area is thicker than facial skin and therefore it might be a bit difficult to fight the breakouts as it may be deep. The cause and symptoms of neck acne is, however, the same as any other form of acne, namely the excessive production of sebum b the sebaceous glands and its accumulation under the surface of the skin due to the blockage of skin pores by the dead skin cells.
There is however certain factors that may contribute towards aggravating neck acne. Long hair, for example play as huge role in affecting neck acne as the constant contact between the hair and neck, especially when the hair is oily as well as the use of various hair products like gel and oil can affect a breakout of acne. Other such factors include constant rubbing and scratching o your neck skin which when comes in contact with the dirt or oil trapped may be in your fingertips of nail, automatically promotes a rigorous aggravation of the acne eruptions.
Neck Acne Medication
Since the cause and symptoms of neck acne is similar to that of any other kind of acne like facial or body acne, it can be treated in the same way as other form of acne. The treatment that it requires depends on the severity of the acne. This segment will discuss the various ways of treating acne by basically dividing it under two headings, namely, prescription medicines and home remedies.
Given below is a list of prescriptive medications that are often given to patients to fight acne breakouts and the resultant damage to the skin.
Topical prescriptive medication: They usually come in the form of lotion, gel or cream, sometimes even pad and are usually recommended to people with sensitive skin. Creams and lotions not only help in the treatment but also provide moisture to the skin which helps in keeping the skin soft and supple. These medications are prescribed depending on the skin type of the person concerned.
Topical retinoid: Retinoid is typically vitamin A derivatives. They tend o unclog the pores of the skin thereby preventing accumulation of sebum under it. They might cause mild irritation or sensitivity to the sun if used on a regular basis but awareness and protection can always handle those short comings. Some of the topical retinoid that are prescribed are as follows:
- Adapalene: It comes in the form of a gel or cream and apart from unclogging pores, is also known to have an anti inflammatory effect on the skin. It can be applied daily on the affected area after properly cleaning and drying it. The results are visible only after a regular use of 8 to 12 weeks, sometimes less.
- Tazarotene: It comes in the form of a gel or cream and works towards unclogging the pores. It may cause mild skin irritation. However, it must be made sure that this medication is not used by an expecting or nursing mother as it may have possible side effects on the baby.
- Tretinoin: While the earlier two retinoid mentioned above are synthetic, tretinoin is a natural retinoid. This also works by unclogging the skin pores. The quantity to be applied must be discussed by the doctor, depending on the skin type. It may cause irritation and dryness of the skin.
Topical anti bacterial: These medications work by inhibiting the growth of acne causing P.acne bacteria and can be used either independently or in combination with other medicines. Some of the topical anti bacterial medicines prescribed for acne vulgaris are as follows:
- Azeliac acid: This works in numerous ways to prevent breakouts and reduce its impact. Not only does this inhibit the growth of acne causing bacteria but also reduce inflammation. It may however cause skin irritation, dryness and lightening.
- Benzoyl peroxide: This also works b killing the acne causing bacteria. It is available in different strengths of 2.5%, 5% and 10% and comes in form of gel, lotion, cleanser, cream and wash. It is most commonly used in combination with clindamycin or erythromycin. It, however, can have allergic and bleaching reactions.
- Clindamycin: It is effective in reducing acne breakouts by inhibiting the growth of acne causing bacteria and also reducing inflammation. It is often used in combination with benzoyl peroxide which tends to increase its effectiveness.
- Erythromycin: It works as both an anti bacterial and an anti inflammation medication. This also is mostly used in combination with benzoyl peroxide and comes in the form of a gel or cream or lotion. It may cause skin dryness and irritation.
- Sodium sulfacetamide: This works by killing the acne causing bacteria and inhibiting its growth while at the same time unclogging the blocked pores. Since it may contain sulphur, the smell of products containing this might be bad.
Oral prescriptive medication: These medications are taken orally and work towards treating mild to moderate inflammatory acne.
- Isotretinoin: It is a retinoid used for treating severe, cystic acne. It is used when most other medications do not work and must be taken only under strict guidance of a dermatologist or doctor. It is not safe for use by pregnant or nursing mothers as it may cause birth defects in the infant. Researchers are still arguing over the dangers of using this medication which include anything from depression to suicidal symptoms. However, concrete facts are still not available or very scarcely available.
- Oral contraceptives: It has often been seen to be overly effective in women and works by controlling the androgen levels in our body which when unchecked causes the excessive secretion of sebum forming the underlying primary cause of acne breakouts.
- Oral anti biotic: Just like their topical counterparts, these works towards reducing the acne causing bacteria by inhibiting their growth and reducing inflammation. It usually involves a shift from higher to lower dosage of the medicine and is often prescribed for a short period of time. These specifications on the time over which these medicines are prescribed are because of the resistance that the bacteria tend to develop towards anti biotic, which thereby becomes ineffective on them. Some such oral anti biotic includes erythromycin, tetracycline and doxycycline among others.
Home remedies for Neck Acne
It has now become a truth not unknown that the solution to most diseases is present in your kitchen, in your very own household. Elaborated under this section are various home remedies for the treatment of neck acne.
- Garlic juice: Garlic is very readily available in every household. It is known to exhibit anti bacterial property and its juice can be applied over the acne affected area on the neck. It helps in fighting the acne causing bacteria and prevents their growth.
- Lavender oil: Lavender oil can be directly applied on the affected neck area. It tends to have a relaxing effect on the muscles and is helpful in maintaining the health of the skin.
- Drink water: Drinking a lot of water is an efficient way of fighting acne whether on any part of the body. It helps in eliminating the toxins from your body and thereby curbing the growth of the bacteria or microbes. Moreover it is generally effective in maintaining the health of the skin.
- Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil is known to exhibit anti bacterial and anti oxidant properties. It simply requires soaking the oil on a dab of cotton and then directly applying t on the acne prone skin of your neck. It tends to help in inhibiting the growth of the acne causing bacteria.
- Acne free diet: Regulating your diet to adjust to a healthy alternative is always a good idea. In order to ensure the curbing of already existing acne pimples as well as to prevent the occurrence of new breakouts you must exclude junk, oil and fat content from your diet. Including food items rich in fibre is a good idea as fibre contains zinc which fights microbes and bacteria with its anti bacterial properties. Also include fruits that are high in anti oxidant content. Green tea is another item which is exceptionally high in its anti oxidant content. Inclusion of green vegetable is also a good idea.
- Aloe vera: Aloe vera is a time tested and effective natural remedy for treating skin problems, specifically acne. It is extremely effective on acne prone skin and tends to not only fight the bacterial growth with its anti bacterial properties but also makes the skin soft and supple. Aloe vera also has anti septic properties and helps in repairing damaged skin. This simply requires cutting an aloe vera leaf from the middle and taking out the gel which can then be directly applied on the affected area.
These are the various ways in which neck acne can be treated at home without resorting to medications which more often than not lead to various side effects.
Ways to avoid the occurrences of neck acne
It is always better to be aware and prevent the outburst of acne rather than using medications, herbal and otherwise, later on to subside it. Mentioned in this section are various preventive measures to avoid the onset of acne eruptions on the neck:
- The foremost way to avoid neck acne is to keep the area clean. Try washing the neck area at least twice daily using both lukewarm water and cold water. While lukewarm water helps in removing the residual of the cleanser used and therefore preventing irritation, the cold water is effective in closing the open pores of your skin, thereby keeping it clean.
- Do not cut short on your water in-take. Water tends to flush out toxins from your body and reduces the chance of acne eruptions. In general too water is considered good for the health of your skin.
- Make sure that you hair is either short or tied neatly in such a way that it does not touch your neck. The oil on your hair or the residue of any other hair product that you might have used, might cause irritation and contribute towards acne breakout. It may also affect an accumulation of dirt or oil on the neck area.
- It is important to keep your bed sheet clean. Very often the dirt, sweat and oil from your body, gets soaked on the bed sheet which when comes in contact with the neck may provide reason for a breakout.
- Try to avoid wearing scarves or clothes with such tight collars that do not let the air inside our body.
- Try to not touch or scratch the neck area. Too much irritation can lead to acne eruptions. The dirt and sweat on your finger tips as well as inside your nails may contribute towards this.
- Try wearing shirts that are either without collar or are of a soft cotton material which is not harsh on your skin.
- Use a non comedogenic lotion or moisturizer on your body. This will keep your skin hydrated and moisturized while at the same time prevent excessive oiliness of the skin.
- Though the skin on your neck is tougher than your facial skin, it is important that you do not use any harsh cleanser or scrub on it. Doing so may irritate the skin which can increase the instance of a breakout. It can also make the skin excessively dry which will naturally trigger the sebaceous glands to produce more oil.
- It is advisable that you exfoliate your skin at least twice a week. This will remove the dead skin cells from the back of your neck and prevent its accumulation which in turn will prevent the clogging of skin pores.
- Avoid wearing sweaty clothes for too long
- Neck acne is sometimes a result allergy to hair products that leave residue. In such a case it is important that you be observant of the use of products and changes it if it is responsible. These products may include shampoos, oil, gel and other kinds f serum
- Avoid any such product to be used on your hair, body or cloth that has a strong dying or fragrant property
These are the various ways in which you can prevent breakouts and eruption on the back of your neck.
Neck acne is not an uncommon occurrence and can be equally disturbing and painful than facial acne. Since the skin on the back of your neck is thicker and tougher when compared to your facial skin, it may be more difficult to fight neck acne. However, it is fairly easy to take preventive measures to stop its occurrence beforehand. You must keep a check on what you wear and what you eat and maintain a good hygiene level not only for acne prevention but also to maintain your bodily health in general.
Antra is a seasoned writer and has written for several health and wellness topics especially related to skin problems. When not researching and writing, she loves to travel and explore the world.