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Natural Home Remedies For Dark Neck

By Dr Rajeev Singh +2 more

Introduction: 

Is your neck darker than the rest of your body? Do you think that it will get corrected by scrubbing, but it does not? Well, a dark neck might be due to a range of different reasons. It can be due to some underlying medical conditions such as Acanthosis nigricans. If you have this condition, you might see the darkening of the folds of your neck. The darkening can also be in the folds of your armpits, groin or under your breast.1,2 What might just look like a darkening of the neck can turn out to be something else when you take a closer look. So, read on and make sure you get to the root of your neck darkening and manage it with the home remedies that we have presented. 

Home Remedies For Dark Neck

Did you know?

  • Certain medications, such as oral contraceptives and corticosteroids, can contribute to the development of dark neck. Source: medlineplus.gov
  • Laser therapy and chemical peels are medical treatments that can help lighten dark neck. Source: aad.org
  • Weight loss and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help improve the appearance of dark neck. Source: aad.org

What Causes Dark Neck? 

There are many reasons that can cause the darkening of your neck, such as: 

  • Sun-tan:   When our skin gets exposed to the sun for too long, it can get darker. This is called sun-tan. This occurs due to the melanin that is present in our skin, which protects our skin cells from getting damaged by the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Melanin is a pigment responsible for the darkening of the skin.2 As the neck is an area that is exposed to sunlight, there might be a chance for the darkening of the neck to be caused by sunlight exposure.      

Insulin resistance causes acanthosis nigricans(one of the common causes of the dark neck) good exercise regimen(cardio+ strength training) can decrease the insulin resistance and eventually help in lightening the dark neck.

Dr. Nikhil Yadav, MBBS MD,CCEBDM
  • Acanthosis nigricans (AN): This condition may develop:  
  1. If you underwent growth hormone therapy  
  2. If you are taking certain medicines like birth control pills or steroids  
  3. Due to your genes and a family member of yours might have it as well  
  4. If you have a hormonal condition like the Addison’s disease, thyroid diseases such as hypothyroidism (decreased production of thyroid hormone)  
  5. If you have conditions such as obesity, diabetes and prediabetes in which the blood insulin levels are high  

You might have had this condition since birth, i.e. it might be congenital. The symptoms of Acanthosis nigricans develop slowly usually. It might indicate cancer if the symptoms develop quickly, as   darkening of the neck may rarely be a sign of cancer, but it is possible.1  

  • Dyskeratosis congenita: It is rare and occurs in one person out of one million people. One of the characteristic features of this disease is the pigmentation (or darkening) of the neck in a ‘lacy’ pattern along with two other features, which are; white patches in the mouth (oral leukoplakia) and abnormally shaped finger and toenails (nail dystrophy).3  

  • Dermatitis neglecta: It is a condition in which there is the formation of a crust on the neck due to the collection of oil, dust, bacteria and dead cells. This condition generally goes unnoticed or undiagnosed.4 This also causes the darkening of the neck.  

  • Erythema Dyschromicum Perstans (EDP): The exact cause for this condition is unknown, but occupational allergy to cobalt seems to have some role in it. It is an uncommon condition and can be recognised by the occurrence of dark coloured patches on the neck and also in other parts of the body.5    

Also Read: Home Remedies For Tanned Skin

The presence of dark, velvety patches on the neck, underarms and elbows indicate acanthosis nigricans. Although it may seem like a cosmetic issue, it is a significant sign of insulin resistance and requires an endocrinologist’s assessment. Lifestyle changes and weight management can not only improve these symptoms but may also lower the risk of metabolic conditions like diabetes.

Dr. Arpit Verma, MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)

Symptoms of Dark Neck: 

Neck darkening is a symptom that can occur due to many causes, as stated above. Some of the features that might help you recognise it are: 

  • You may notice patches of brown or black skin on your neck. 
  • Your skin of the neck may feel velvety. 
  • The area might feel itchy. 
  • You may notice skin tags on your neck. 
  • The patches on your skin may not have an unpleasant smell.1 

These symptoms may appear slowly. If they appear suddenly, it might be an indicator of cancer. You should consult a doctor at the earliest.1 

Rarely, you might also have the following symptoms: 

  • Darkened areas with corn flake-like scales on your neck indicate dermatitis neglecta.4  
  • Abnormally shaped or poor growth of fingernails and toenails and white patches inside the mouth along with darkening of the neck as seen in dyskeratosis congenita.3  
  • Many bluish-grey coloured patches on the skin of the neck, abdomen, back, upper limbs, etc. can be an indicator of erythema dyschromicum perstans.5  

Also Read: Simple Home Remedies For Skin Whitening

Suggested Home Remedies for Dark Neck: 

Treating the underlying cause of the dark neck might lead to the lightening of the patches. However, there are a few home remedies that you can try to lighten the darkened patches of skin on your neck. 

1. Oats  

Oats have antioxidant activity. It also helps in cleansing, moisturising and soothing the skin.6 These activities of oats might be beneficial for the dark neck skin. You can use oats to lighten the dark neck by taking a few spoons of oats and grinding them. Ground oats can also be used directly. You have to mix this with a little bit of tomato puree until it comes to a paste-like consistency. Apply this to the darkened areas and leave it for some time. Then wash it off using water. You can use this pack regularly to get the results.  

PharmEasy Recommends – Oateo Jumbo Rolled Oats      

2. Orange Peel  

Studies have shown that orange peel has skin-whitening properties. This might be due to its antioxidant property or due to its activity against a compound called tyrosine that plays a role in skin darkening.7 For utilising this remedy, you can use orange peel powder that is readily available, or you can sun-dry the orange peels and grind them to obtain a powder. This powder is to be mixed with either whole milk or orange juice to form a paste. You can apply this paste to the dark areas of your neck and leave it for 10-15 minutes, after which you can wash it off.  

PharmEasy Recommends – Khadi Natural Orange Fruit Peel Organic Powder

3. Lemon  

Lemon has an antioxidant activity which may help in skin lightening. In a study, it was observed that it might also have activity against tyrosine.8 Therefore, it might be used as a skin-lightening agent. You can use the lemon juice directly for application if you have normal skin. But if your skin is sensitive, mix equal parts of rose water with lemon juice and use it for application on your neck. This should be kept for 15-20 minutes, after which it can be washed off using cold water. Applying this daily might be beneficial for your dark neck.  

4. Aloe Vera  

Aloe vera has various benefits for the skin. It also has the potential for skin-lightening and inhibits the action of many enzymes that are responsible for melanin (a pigment responsible for the darkening of the skin) production.8 Thus, it can be used for lightening the dark neck. You can make use of a fresh aloe vera leaf for this remedy. A fresh leaf of aloe vera can be cut open, and the gel can be applied directly onto the dark regions of the neck. While applying the gel, gently massage the neck. Leave the gel for 10-15 minutes. Use cold water to wash off the gel after that. This has to be followed daily for the effects to be visible.    

PharmEasy Recommends – Mamaearth Aloe Vera Moisturizer

5. Potatoes  

Natural skin-lightening activity is exhibited by potatoes. In skin and face packs, raw potatoes can work well. They also possess the property of cleansing the skin. Potatoes can also help in managing sunburns on the skin.9 Therefore, they may be used for managing dark necks. You have to extract the juice of potato for this remedy. The juice of potato should be mixed with a little bit of lemon juice and applied to the neck where you see darkened areas. It should be left for 10-15 minutes. Wash it off with cold water after that. This remedy has to be followed daily to gain the benefits. 

Also Read: Wonderful Home Remedies for Skin Tightening

6. Coffee  

Coffee beans have a natural skin lightening effect. They also act as an antioxidant and decrease the production of melanin by preventing the activation of tyrosine.8 This effect of coffee beans can be utilised for managing dark necks. You can make use of coffee beans by making a coarse powder of them and mixing it with a little bit of water to form a paste. This paste can be applied to the dark areas of the neck and be left for 10-15 minutes. After this, wash it, dry and moisturise. Apply this pack once a week to see its beneficial effects.  

PharmEasy Recommends – Mcaffeine Exfoliation & Tan Removal Combo

7. Gram Flour  

Gram flour is commonly known as besan. It has been used as an ingredient in homemade packs for skin and hair for a long time. It helps in skin-lightening and also cleanses the skin.10 Take a few spoons of gram flour and add a little bit of turmeric to it. You can add either water or curd to it and mix it until it forms a thick paste. Mix it well and ensure that there are no lumps in it. You can apply this paste onto your neck and leave it until it dries. After it dries, wash it off, dry the area properly and moisturise it. Following this remedy two to three times a week is necessary to see its beneficial effects. 

8. Soy  

In laboratory studies, it was found that soy has skin lightening effects.8 However, further human studies are required to be absolutely sure of the effects. For this remedy, you have to mix soy powder/flour and make a thick paste by adding water or curd. Apply this paste onto your neck and leave it until it dries. After it dries, wash it off with cold water, dry the area and moisturise your skin using a moisturiser. You can use this home remedy on a daily basis until you can see a difference.  

Also Read: Home Remedies For Dark Underarms

When to Seek Medical Help? 

You should seek immediate medical help if the symptoms of the dark neck appear suddenly. Though it is rare, it might be an indicator of cancer. A doctor will conduct the necessary examinations like biopsy and other tests to make a diagnosis.1 If you notice any other symptoms along with darkening of the neck, like irregular darkened patches, poor or irregular growth of nails or white patches inside your mouth, please make sure that you visit a doctor and get it checked. They will be able to diagnose your condition better and give you proper medical advice. 

Also Read: How to Get Rid of Skin Tags: A Step-by-Step Guide Based on Science

Conclusion: 

The darkening of the neck may seem just like a small thing and may even go unnoticed. Still, sometimes it can be the indicator of an underlying medical condition like hormonal issues, diabetes or very rarely, even cancer. You might notice velvety skin, darkened patches, skin tags, and also itching in your neck. It can be an indicator of a few rare conditions like dyskeratosis congenita, Acanthosis nigricans, etc. Treating the condition can help to deal with neck darkening. However, you can make use of a few home remedies like gram flour, aloe vera, coffee, etc. and see what suits you best. You should never hesitate to consult your doctor to get things checked out and cleared.  

Also Read: Easy Home Remedies for Wart Removal

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): 

Can the darkening of my neck be due to touching a person with a dark neck?  

No. If the darkening of the neck is caused due to the condition of Acanthosis nigricans, it is not contagious or dangerous. It does not spread by coming in contact with another person having it.1 However, we cannot be too sure about its spread through touch if it is caused by other conditions, as there is not enough scientific evidence. So, it is better to consult your dermatologist (skin and hair doctor). 

Is dark neck treatable?

Yes, the dark neck is treatable. Usually, treating the underlying condition helps to manage neck darkening. A few home remedies like aloe vera, coffee, oats, etc., might also help.  

Does having a dark neck mean that I have cancer?  

No, not always. The dark neck can be due to underlying medical conditions like diabetes, or it can have a genetic origin. Sometimes, if the symptoms appear rapidly, it might be an indicator of cancer. However, darkening of the neck as a sign of cancer is a rare occurrence.1 

Can a dark neck be caused by high blood pressure?  

No. There is no evidence of neck darkening being caused due to high blood pressure. However, other associated medical conditions like thyroid diseases, diabetes and Addison’s may cause neck darkening.1

Can aloe vera be used for the lightening of the dark neck?  

Yes. Aloe vera might have potential skin lightening effects.8 You can make use of a fresh leaf of aloe vera for application. Massage it slowly over the area, leave it for some time and then wash it off to see the effects. 

Can coffee beans be used as a home remedy for the dark neck?  

Yes. You can make use of coffee as a home remedy for dark necks. Coffee has potential skin lightening effects.8 You can use coarsely ground coffee powder as a pack on your neck.  

References:  

1. Clinic C. Acanthosis nigricans [Internet]. Cleavelanad clinic,ohio. [cited 2022 May 28]. Available from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/12168-acanthosis-nigricans 

2. Sun ‘ s effect on skin [Internet]. MedlinePlus. [cited 2022 May 23]. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/anatomyvideos/000125.htm 

3. Dyskeratosis Congenita [Internet]. MedlinePlus Genetics. [cited 2022 May 20]. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/dyskeratosis-congenita/ 

4. Saha A, Seth J, Sharma A, Biswas D. Dermatitis neglecta – A dirty dermatosis: Report of three cases. Indian J Dermatol [Internet]. 2015;60(2):185–7. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4372914/ 

5. Mahajan V, Chauhan P, Mehta K, Sharma A. Erythema dyschromicum perstans: Response to topical tacrolimus. Indian J Dermatol [Internet]. 2015;60(5):525. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4601471/ 

6. Pazyar N, Yaghoobi R, Kazerouni A, Feily A. Oatmeal in dermatology: A brief review. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol [Internet]. 2012;78(2):142–5. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/221708523_Oatmeal_in_dermatology_A_brief_review 

7. Wuttisin N, Boonmak J, Thaipitak V, Thitilertdecha N, Kittigowittana K. Anti-tyrosinase activity of orange peel extract and cosmetic formulation. Int Food Res J [Internet]. 2017;24(5):2128–32. Available from: http://www.ifrj.upm.edu.my/24 (05) 2017/(40).pdf 

8. Hanif N, Al-Shami AMA, Khalid KA, Hadi HA. Plant-based skin lightening agents: A review. J Phytopharm [Internet]. 2020;9(1):54–60. Available from: http://www.phytopharmajournal.com/Vol9_Issue1_09.pdf 

9. Kshitij Parmar NKS. Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Potatoes. Rashtriya Krishi [Internet]. 2017;12(1):117–9. Available from: http://researchjournal.co.in/upload/assignments/12_117-119.pdf 

10. Pal RS, Pal Y, Wal P. In-House Preparation and Standardization of Herbal Face Pack. Open Dermatol J [Internet]. 2017 Nov 7;11(1):72–80. Available from: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/1ca2/5c17343fd28d0dfa868e2abd0919f8e986dd.pdf 

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