When we think about acne, most of us picture whiteheads along the cheeks, or hormonal breakouts on the jawline. And while the face often plays host to these unwelcome guests, the truth is you can actually get a pimple anywhere on your body, including your neck. Yep, neck acne is very much a real—and common—thing. “Acne or acne-like breakouts on the neck can look just like acne anywhere else on the face or body,” explains dermatologist Libby Rhee, MD.
But unfortunately, the causes of neck acne go well beyond the usual hormone and stress-related suspects, and treating breakouts on your neck’s delicate skin can be complicated if you don’t know what you’re doing. But it’s not all bad news: If you’re experiencing neck acne, you’ve got plenty of options when it comes to treating it. Read on to discover what may be causing your neck acne—plus the expert-approved tips and tricks from Dr. Rhee and dermatologist Alan Parks, MD, for getting rid of it ASAP.
What are the most common types of breakouts on the neck?
Just like on your face, you can get many different types of acne on your neck. “Inflammatory lesions such as papules, pustules, and cystic acne are more common than comedonal lesions like blackheads and whiteheads, although a combination can occur anywhere,” says Dr. Rhee. Razor bumps and ingrown hairs, both of which look like zits, are also common on the neck, and for women, hormonal acne can also commonly occur on the neck as well, adds Dr. Rhee. These types of breakouts are typically more painful than blackheads and whiteheads since they’re deeper under the skin and inflammatory in nature.
What are the main causes of neck acne?
Acne on the neck is typically triggered by the same things that trigger acne on the face. It’s often caused by a combo of inflammation and an overactive oil glands resulting from genetics or hormones, says dermatologist Alan Parks, MD. On top of that, using the wrong skincare products or the wrong ingredients for your skin type can lead to clogged pores and/or inflammation, which, you guessed it, can cause neck acne too. And like everywhere else, the neck can breakout as a result of stress.
But neck acne can also have specific triggers because of its location, and friction from clothing or accessories, shaving, excessive sweating, or comedogenic haircare products are often to blame. “Many times, neck acne can form when your hair, with its various oil-based products, rubs against the neck or when jewelry or clothing interacts with sweat on your neck, causing a reaction,” Dr. Rhee explains.
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