Black Neck: Symptoms, Causes & Natural Remedy

Black neck otherwise referred to as dark neck is a condition where the skin around the neck is exceptionally darker when compared to the surrounding areas. Dark neck is not harmful or contagious on its own, but sometimes the color change may be so alarming to be ignored.

However, it is crucial that you consult a medical expert in order to determine the cause of the color change and start necessary treatment. This is because sometimes black neck could be a sign of a more serious condition.

Black neck symptoms

Just as the name implies, the common symptom of black neck is the darkening of the skin area of the neck. Sometimes this darkening effect is noticed under the armpit or other areas of the body.

Of course, there are other symptoms which include:

  1. Itchiness of the affected skin area
  2. Increased thickness of the skin
  3. Skin that feels velvety when touched

When the appearance of the dark skin is sudden, it is mostly a sign of a serious underlying issue. Go for an immediate medical check.

What causes the dark skin on neck?

There are various causes of dark neck. Here are the major conditions that lead to the darkening of the neck.

Dermatitis neglecta:

A skin can change color due to lack of proper cleaning, this condition is the dermatitis neglecta. This happens with the accumulation of sweat, sebum, bacteria, and oil on the skin. This condition is a rare disorder known also as unwashed dermatosis. But it can be corrected by scrubbing the affected area with soap and water or alcohol. A good personal hygiene can prevent this condition.

Acanthosis nigricans (AN):

This condition causes the skin to turn darker, thicker and feels velvety to touch. It can be seen in the neck area in folds of skin, commonly under the armpit or other creases as the groin area. Acanthosis nigricans can occur in persons of any age, adults and children alike. It equally occurs to any gender, especially people with darker skin.

AN is most of the times associated with the level of insulin in the blood. It is likely to manifest more in people with diabetes or pre-diabetes. If a child develops AN, there is the possibility that such child will get type 2 diabetes in the future. Note that AN on its own isn’t a disease, neither is it contagious nor harmful.

Acanthosis nigricans can be a symptom for the following underlying serious conditions.

  1. Cancer
  2. Hormonal disorders
  3. Cushing’s disease
  4. Obesity

The intake of various drug supplements such as niacin, prednisone, birth control pills, and other corticosteroids can lead to AN.

Usually treating the underlying conditions of AN will remedy the situation, but if that proves unsuccessful, then skin treatments such as retinoids or vitamin D creams are recommended.

Skin pigmentation from drugs:

The listed drugs can lead to the hyperpigmentation of the skin, they include:

– nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

– antimalarials

– tetracyclines

– antipsychotic drugs

– phenytoin

– amiodarone

The skin discoloration induced by these drugs can appear on the neck or any part of the body. It is expected that once the drug is stopped the discoloration will resolve. However, some skin discoloration tends to be permanent or long term. In a case like this, the hyperpigmentation may be resolved with laser treatment. Note that the discoloration can range from a dark brown color to blue-black color.

Diagnosing the dark patches on the neck

A sudden darkening of any part of your neck should be reported to a doctor for a proper check-up. Black neck isn’t a disease as we have already seen but can be a manifestation of the underlying condition.

A doctor will run a skin check for AN (Acanthosis nigricans). He is also most likely to test for diabetes. Depending on other symptoms you may have, a blood test and x-ray scan may be conducted.


Once the underlying conditions of a black neck are determined and treated, the black neck symptom is likely to be eliminated and prevented from recurring. The skin discoloration is reversed after treatment. For the case of drug-induced discoloration, stopping the medication will reverse the discoloration. A common cause of AN is insulin resistance which can be solved by weight loss.

Some skin discoloration can be permanent and does not correct with the treatment of the underlying conditions. There are several means through which a permanent skin discoloration can be treated and returned to its original color. Some treatment options are better for particular skin type, for this reason, it best to consult a doctor or dermatologist to assist with the best option.

Here are the various options to treat black neck

– Exfoliation

– Laser treatments

– Chemical peels

– Some prescription medications such as salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acids, and Retin-A. Oral acne medication included.

How to cure naturally neck skin turned black?

You’ll be needing the following ingredients:

  • A tablespoon of olive oil
  • A tablespoon of baking soda
  • A tablespoon of salt


Take a plastic bowl, put all the ingredients in it and mix them until you get a smooth paste. Apply the resulted paste on the affected skin area and let it sit for 20 minutes. Then, wash off with cold water.

Another option to remove dark patches is by using milk, white clay, and lemon. Mix well the ingredients in a bowl and apply the mixture on the skin area affected with dark patches. Let it sit for 15 minutes and rinse with cold water at the end. The chosen treatment should be done three times a week, until your stains are eliminated.

Last thoughts

It is advisable to see a doctor at the first signs of skin darkening. This is as discussed above, that in as much as dark neck may be harmless or non-contagious on its own, there is always a condition underneath. See a medical expert for diagnosis and possible treatment option to return the skin to its original color.

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