An Itchy Neck Rash: Causes and Remedies

Skin disorders are uncomfortable and upsetting. When the affected area is in a visible location on the body, it can also be unattractive. Because of its visual proximity to the face, the neck is an especially unpleasant site for a skin rash or irritation. Understanding the causes of the irritation can help determine the proper remedy to resolve the problem quickly.

Causes

An itchy, uncomfortable rash on the neck can have a variety of causes, including bacterial and fungal infection. An individual with a weakened immune system or underlying medical condition is susceptible to skin infections as well. While the causes outlined below do not represent a comprehensive list, they are among the most common causes of a skin rash of the neck.

Acanthosis Nigricans

Acanthosis nigricans is a skin condition that is sometimes evidence of a separate underlying medical condition. It may reveal the presence of such diseases as diabetes mellitus, visceral carcinoma, a tumor in the pituitary gland, or Cushing’s disease. It is also commonly connected to obesity.

This disorder is distinguished by a dark pigmentation and thickening of the skin at the skin folds. The darkened rash area has a velvety appearance. This skin condition is commonly seen on the folds at the back of the neck or in the armpit or groin. Individuals with a medical condition called insulin resistance are especially prone to developing acanthosis nigricans. While there is no treatment or cure for acanthosis nigricans, resolution of the underlying problem usually eliminates acanthosis nigricans.

Furunculosis

Furunculosis, also known as recurring boils, is a skin condition characterized by painful, tender pus-filled bumps on the skin. Boils are the result of a hair follicle that has become infected with bacteria. Furunculosis typically involves bacteria called Staphylococcus or Streptococcus that is present on the skin. If left untreated, multiple boils can form and combine. This resulting condition is known as a carbuncle. Serious complications can occur if the bacterial infection from the boil travels to the bloodstream. An itchy rash occurring on the neck or anywhere else on the body and caused by a boil should be treated immediately.

Seborrheic Keratosis

Another common cause of an itchy rash on the neck is called seborrheic keratosis, or “barnacles” of the skin. Although this itchy condition is generally not harmful, the appearance of the rash can be unsightly. The skin growths involved in seborrheic keratosis are believed to be a result of excessive production of the skin’s outer layer or epidermis. The condition usually occurs in individuals over the age of 30. While it can appear anywhere on the body, seborrheic keratosis is usually seen on the scalp, face, neck, back, or chest. The color of the rash may be light tan, brown, or black, with diameters typically ranging from 1.0 to 2.3 centimeters. Treatment includes freezing, burning, or scraping off the skin growth.

Tinea Versicolor

Tine versicolor, also referred to as pytiriasis versicolor, is caused by yeast that occurs naturally on the body. The malassezia globosa yeast can abnormally reproduce when the skin becomes too oily, is exposed to excessive moisture, or close heat for a prolonged period. Tinea versicolor forms as a result of the growth of a large yeast colony. The rash can develop on the neck. It is only itchy and irritating with fluctuations of temperature and humidity.

Epidermoid Cyst

Another cause of an itchy neck rash is the development of an epidermoid cyst. Similar to the boil in appearance, the epidermoid or sebaceous cyst commonly develops as a result of trauma to the skin. The cyst forms when the outermost layer of skin, called the epidermis, begins to grow into the middle layer of skin, called the dermis. Inside the sebaceous cyst is the protein called keratin. Keratin’s normal function involves the hair, skin, and nails. The epidermoid cyst usually lacks signs or symptoms other than its appearance. Discomfort occurs if the cyst ruptures.

Home Remedies for a Neck Rash

The following remedies are natural, effective treatments for relief from the discomfort of an itchy neck rash.

  • Soak in a tub filled with cold water. Be sure to submerge as much of the neck as possible. Doing this one to two per times per day can relieve pain and discomfort and accelerate the healing process.
  • Topical creams and ointments are available without a prescription. Hydrocortisone relieves itching from the neck rash. It is important to strictly follow the directions provided with the product.
  • Antihistamines such as Benadryl are also available over the counter. Antihistamines reduce inflammation and relieve itching.
  • Make a paste by combining one tablespoon of baking soda with two or three drops of water. Apply directly to the rash and leave it on for one hour. Rinse completely with water. This can be done up to three times per day to lessen recovery time.
  • Run a relaxing bath that will work to soothe itchy skin. Add one cup each of baking soda, cornstarch, and oatmeal to a bathtub of warm water. Soak in the tub for ten to 15 minutes. Follow with a fresh water bath to rinse off the body.

One of the key components to preventing an itchy neck rash and many other skin conditions is the strengthening and maintenance of the body’s immune system. The body is well equipped to fight any type of infection when the immune system is working at peak performance. Improving natural defenses will also reduce the likelihood of future recurrence of the same condition. Increase vitamins and minerals in the diet, and take any necessary supplements. These suggestions, when combined with the above natural remedies, should afford quick resolution to minor skin rashes. Should symptoms persist, a visit to a dermatologist may be in order.

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