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  5. Black Neck: Causes, Symptoms & Ayurvedic Remedies

Have you recently observed dark, patchy skin in and around your neck? Does the sudden appearance of a dark neck give you endless nightmares? Before you lose your calm, you must know what exactly causes the appearance of dark skin patches on your neck.

The skin on your neck is vulnerable and susceptible to darkening, which may occur due to extreme sun exposure [1], hormonal fluctuations, or other skin-based issues. Even though most cases do not need immediate medical attention, it is advisable to consult a knowledgeable doctor for accurate diagnosis and treatment, if required.

The most common cause of darkened neck skin is Insulin resistance, CUtting down sugars, carbohydrates and losing weight rapidly improves the skin appearance on dark neck skin.”

Scroll down to know more about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of black neck.

What Does Having A Black Neck Mean?

The term black neck specifically describes a skin condition wherein the area around your neck turns relatively darker than the other parts of your body. This skin condition is also known as dark neck. It is commonly harmless and non-contagious.

In a few cases, the darkening of skin around the neck may be an alarming sign indicating an underlying condition. Hence, it is imperative to consult a doctor to understand the cause followed by appropriate medical action.

Why Is Your Neck Turning Black?

skin texture of black neck

Darkening of the skin around your neck may happen due to various issues including the following:

1. Acanthosis Nigricans

It is a medical condition wherein the affected skin turns dark in colour and becomes thick with a mossy appearance. This condition may affect any part of your body, especially the folds in your skin and neck. It commonly appears in the armpits as well as the groin area. The skin condition may occur in children, women, and men alike. It is highly prevalent in people with a dark complexion.

Acanthosis nigricans [2] is not harmful or contagious, and is not a disease. The skin condition is often linked with the insulin level of your body. Hence, it is prevalent in people with diabetes or prediabetes. Children and adolescents who experience skin darkening are highly susceptible to type 2 diabetes.

Several other alarming issues which acanthosis nigricans may indicate include:

  • Obesity
  • Hormonal disorders
  • Cancer
  • Cushing’s disease

Acanthosis nigricans may also be the result of administering specific supplements and drugs such as prednisone, birth control pills, niacin, and various other corticosteroids.

The treatment plan includes addressing the primary cause of acanthosis nigricans. If this approach doesn’t work, then other treatments involving Vitamin D or retinoid creams are prescribed.

2. Dermatitis Neglecta

It is a medical condition wherein the colour of your skin changes when it hasn’t been properly cleansed. This skin condition usually occurs due to sebum, bacteria, sweat, and other debris build-ups from lack of personal hygiene. This skin condition is also referred to as unwashed dermatosis.

Considered as a rare condition, dermatitis neglecta can be effectively treated and managed by cleansing and washing the affected area with alcohol, water or soap. Furthermore, it can be prevented from reoccurring by maintaining good hygiene practices.

3. Drug-Induced Pigmentation

Your skin may turn dark due to hyperpigmentation, which may occur due to administration of certain drugs [3] including:

  • Tetracyclines
  • Antipsychotic drugs
  • Amiodarone
  • Antimalarials
  • Phenytoin
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications

The sudden change in skin colour may happen in any part of the body, including your neck. The colour transition varies from blue-black to dark brown tone.

The skin discolouration disappears when the drug responsible for it is not administered anymore. However, in some cases, darkening of skin may be a permanent or long-term incident. In such severe cases, your doctor may suggest you to remove the hyperpigmentation with the help of laser treatment.

Vedix Tip: Before you start with laser treatment, it is advisable to consult a knowledgeable dermatologist or Ayurvedic doctor for safe diagnosis and treatment. Laser treatments are not necessarily safe and helpful for dark skin.

Symptoms Of A Black Neck

One of the most primary and prominent symptoms of black neck is skin discoloration on your neck. In a few cases, darkening of skin may also appear in other parts of the body, especially under the armpits.

Various other symptoms associated with darkening of skin include:

  • Itching
  • Velvety skin
  • Thickened skin

Does A Black Neck Go Away?

A black neck usually goes away once the underlying cause is treated. People who are obese or overweight are at a high risk of experiencing skin discolouration, including acanthosis nigricans. This usually minimizes or resolves with weight loss.

A few individuals may inherit the condition due to genetics. Drug-induced skin discolouration may happen due to administration of specific medications such as hormone treatments or birth control pills. This may be managed by discontinuing the usage of such medications.

How Do You Get Rid Of A Black Neck?

Effectively treating the primary cause of black neck is the key for minimizing and preventing the skin discolouration from recurring. The below-mentioned remedies and treatments can also aid the process.

A. Home Remedies For Black Neck

potato lemon rice flour

Exposure to extreme sunlight and pollutants as well as regular use of skincare products with chemical ingredients may be few reasons for the skin discoloration on your neck. Even poor hygiene can cause black neck in a few individuals. Here are a few simple yet effective home remedies for tackling the skin condition:

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

The potent solution helps to balance the normal pH level of your skin, imparting a natural glow and shine. It also helps in eliminating dead skin cells. It acts as an excellent exfoliator due to the presence of an active ingredient, malic acid.

How To Use:

  • Take 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar in a mixing bowl and dilute it with 4 tbsp of distilled water.
  • Apply the diluted solution on the affected areas with a cotton ball.
  • Leave it for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it off with water.
  • Repeat the steps thrice a week for better results.

Important Note:

After the application of apple cider vinegar, ensure to moisturize your skin with a mild herbal moisturizer, as apple cider vinegar may make your skin itchy and dry.

2. Baking Soda

Baking soda is extremely beneficial in sloughing dead skin cells and debris as well as promoting circulation in your skin. Additionally, it helps in nourishing your skin from deep within.

How To Use:

  • Take 2-3 tsp of baking soda and equal amounts of water to make a thick paste.
  • Apply the paste onto the affected areas and leave it to dry for 10 minutes.
  • Gently scrub the paste off once it is completely dry.
  • Next, rinse the skin on your neck with water and moisturize with a mild and herbal moisturizer.
  • Repeat the steps daily for best results.

3. Potato Juice

Potato has bleaching properties due to its high starch content. This helps in lightening your skin to a large extent. The freshly extracted juice of potato also minimizes the appearance of dark patches and helps you to attain an even skin tone.

How To Use:

  • Take 1 small potato and finely grate it using a grater.
  • Next, squeeze out all the juice from the grated potato.
  • Apply the juice onto your neck and allow it to dry for 10-15 minutes.
  • Rinse it off with lukewarm water.
  • Repeat the steps twice daily for best results.

4. Yogurt

Yogurt is a rich source of natural enzymes which work brilliantly to improve your skin tone. Additionally, it helps in deeply nourishing and moisturizing your skin, making it soft, supple and smooth.

How To Use:

  • Take 1 tsp of freshly extracted lemon juice and 2 tbsp of yogurt.
  • Mix both the ingredients to form a smooth paste and apply it onto your neck.
  • Allow it to dry for 15-20 minutes before washing off with water.
  • Repeat the step twice a week for best results.

5. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a powerhouse of antioxidants which naturally improve your complexion. The antioxidants regulate the action of enzymes responsible for pigmentation of your skin. Also, it helps in hydrating and nourishing your skin.

How To Use:

  • Take an aloe vera leaf and carefully slice the upper layer to extract the gel.
  • Gently apply the gel onto your neck and massage it for a few minutes.
  • Allow it to dry for 15-20 minutes before rinsing off with cold water.
  • Repeat the step daily for best results.

B. Ayurvedic Treatment For Black Neck

turmeric and yogurt for black neck

The ancient science of Ayurveda describes that skin health and texture are managed by Bhrajaka Pitta and Vyana Vata. A sub-type dosha of pitta, Bhrajaka determines the skin tone and complexion.

As per the Ayurvedic excerpts, when Bhrajaka dosha is aggravated, then you begin to experience various skin challenges such as pigmentation. Hence, it is imperative to pacify and calm the aggravated dosha to resolve any skin challenges. The pacification is done by both internal and external remedies.

Herbal formulations for oral consumption and topical application are prescribed by an Ayurvedic physician for pacifying the aggravated dosha. The accumulation of ama (toxins) in your body may also cause pigmentation in your skin.

Here are a few remedies and treatments of Ayurveda which can help you tackle the issue of discoloration and pigmentation of your skin:

1. Kumkumadi

As the herbal oil contains kesar and various other potent herbs, it helps reverse pigmentation and tanning on your skin.

How To Use:

  • Take a few drops of kumkumadi oil along with aloe vera and turmeric.
  • Apply the paste onto your neck and leave it to dry for half an hour.
  • Repeat this daily before bathing.

2. Ubtan

Traditionally, ubtan is used to lighten and brighten your complexion. It also helps in minimizing pigmentation and dark spots in your skin. The flour used in ubtan deeply exfoliates your skin, removes dead skin cells and impurities, and tightens open pores.

How To Use:

  • Take 2 tbsp of besan, a pinch of turmeric, ½ tsp of rose water and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  • Mix the ingredients properly in a mixing bowl to get a smooth paste.
  • Apply the ubtan onto your neck and allow it to dry for 15 minutes.
  • Gently massage your neck and rinse with lukewarm water.
  • Repeat the application twice a week for best results.

3. Herbal Bath

According to the ancient Ayurvedic scriptures, there are numerous benefits of massaging your body with herbal oils. This followed by application of lepa including turmeric, honey and sandalwood, and bathing with milk and rose petals in water can help. If following all the steps is not possible, then you may at least apply a lepa made with milk, honey, and turmeric powder.

How To Use:

  • To make the lepa for your entire body, add the essential ingredients in equal amounts as per your need.
  • Apply the lepa and allow it to dry for at least 5-10 minutes.
  • Rinse it off with normal water. You may also add a little amount of fresh orange juice or grapefruit into your bathing water which helps in calming the pitta dosha.

Pralepa involves the topical application of herbal formulations, pastes, and ointments onto the affected area for improved skin tone.

4. Lifestyle Changes To Calm Your Pitta Dosha

As an aggravated pitta dosha is the primary reason behind skin pigmentation, it is imperative to calm the dosha for improved complexion in the long term. By changing a few lifestyle and dietary habits, you may observe better results. These include:

  • Adding fruits like peaches, plums, and melons in your daily diet.
  • Drinking an adequate amount of water, juices, and coconut water to flush out the accumulated toxins from your body.
  • Avoiding exposure to extreme sunlight and wearing light-coloured, full-sleeved clothes while stepping outside in the sun.
  • Avoiding stress by practicing meditation, breathing exercises, and chanting.
  • Doing light exercises and yoga in a soothing environment.
  • Exfoliating regularly to remove dead skin cells and impurities as well as improve overall circulation. Depending on your skin type and condition, exfoliate your skin with mild herbal exfoliators.

C. Topical Treatments

Once your doctor identifies the primary cause of skin darkening in your neck, specific treatments based on your skin condition will be recommended. These [4] include:

1. For acanthosis nigricans

Even though there are skin-lightening scrubs and creams commercially available for minimizing skin darkening due to acanthosis nigricans, these are considered ineffective. Instead, addressing the primary causes such as weight loss and managing insulin level may prove beneficial.

2. For hyperpigmentation

The treatment may involve the application of topical tretinoin onto the affected areas. It is a type of retinoic acid which promotes skin cell turnover. Laser treatments may also prove beneficial in reducing the occurrence of hyperpigmentation.

3. For dermatitis neglecta

Cleansing and scrubbing the affected area with soapy water is recommended for minimizing the dark skin due to dermatitis neglecta. In order to loosen the hard debris on your neck, you may be advised to apply a hot compress or soak your neck in a bath.

How To Prevent A Black Neck?

By following a few simple yet essential skincare tips, you may be able to prevent the appearance of dark skin on your neck. These include:

1. Cleansing

Dirt and sweat build-up on your neck may make the skin on your neck to appear a shade darker than your face. You can prevent this skin darkening by thoroughly cleansing your neck with a mild herbal cleanser to remove debris and impurities.

2. Exfoliate

Gently scrub and exfoliate your neck to remove any accumulated impurities and dead skin cells once a week. You can make your own natural scrub by mixing brown sugar and lemon juice. Alternatively, choose a gentle exfoliator which doesn’t irritate or harm your skin.

3. Moisturize

Always moisturize your neck with a mild and herbal moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated and nourished. This will also protect it from sun damage and aging. Apply a sunscreen with SPF 30 or above to protect your skin from sun damage.

How To Prevent A Black Neck During Pregnancy?

pregnant woman doing exercise

You may follow these crucial steps to prevent skin darkening in your neck during pregnancy [5]:

  • Always wear full-sleeved clothes while stepping outside in the sun. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, scarf, or use an umbrella to protect yourself from sun damage.
  • Apply a sunscreen lotion with SPF 30 or above, especially on your neck everyday if you have melasma. Broad-spectrum sunscreens are the best defence against sun damage as it protects you from both UV A and B rays.
  • If you are uncomfortable using broad-spectrum sunscreens, you may try zinc-based sunscreens which are light on your skin.
  • Get your recommended daily dosage of folic acid. A few health experts believe that skin darkening during pregnancy is associated with a deficiency in folic acid. Ensure that you meet your daily requirement through prenatal supplements and daily diet.
  • Stay cool in a soothing environment. Avoid taking hot showers and baths. Keep using a damp, cool washcloth on your face and neck after you exercise.

How Is A Black Neck Diagnosed?

A dermatologist or doctor may diagnose the primary cause of your black neck by asking you questions pertaining to your lifestyle choices, medical history, or usage of prescription-based medications.

1. First, your doctor will physically inspect and check your neck and refer you to a specialist if the underlying cause is unclear.

2. Next, the doctor may perform a few tests to understand the reason behind your skin darkening. These may include:

  • Skin sample: A biopsy or skin scraping is recommended to check the presence of fungal cells.
  • Blood test: A blood test is recommended to check your hormone or blood sugar levels.

Is Black Neck A Sign Of Diabetes?

People who are obese and overweight often experience dark skin on their neck and under their armpits. They may also observe dark skin on areas of the body with folds and creases such as knuckles, knees, and elbows.

In a few cases, it may be an indication of diabetes or its onset. It is important to consult a doctor as soon as you observe this type of darkening in your skin. This must be followed by a blood sugar test to determine whether you have diabetes.

The skin darkening on the neck and other areas occurs due to overproduction of cells and divergence of fibroblasts from excessive insulin production, especially in obese and type 2 diabetes conditions.

In type 2 diabetes and obesity, the excess fat around the abdominal area in an afflicted individual resists the activity of insulin. This inaction results in overproduction of insulin by the pancreas which regulates the blood sugar levels. The overproduction of insulin leads to unregulated skin cell growth on your neck and other regions along with darkening of skin.

The Last Word

In most cases, the appearance of dark neck isn’t considered as a contagious or harmful skin condition. But sudden skin darkening around your neck may indicate an underlying, serious ailment which might require medical attention and treatment.

Your doctor and dermatologist may help correctly diagnose and treat the primary cause of dark skin, along with discussing treatment plans to help improve your skin complexion and texture.

Know Your Dosha Now