Are you self-conscious about any imperfections in your looks? Do you cover cellulite under layers of clothes, put on high-heels to make your legs look longer or avoid crop tops to hide a surgery scar on your belly? Almost every person can name at least one thing about their body that they hide because according to them it looks unattractive. What if that one imperfection is in a place you cannot cover with clothes or make-up? That is the case of a black neck, a relatively common syndrome, wrongly associated with lack of hygiene.
What is black neck?
Black neck is a patch of skin or lines along the folds of the neck affected by too much pigmentation. Even though it looks like a superficial skin problem, a thorough research has been made to investigate the reasons of the so-called acanthosis nigricans. Black neck is not related to improper hygiene or skin care. Neither is it contagious or infectious. It mostly affects people with fair complexion and if it’s not treated properly, the pigmentation can spread to the whole neck.
What causes black neck?
Since black neck syndrome results directly from elevated pigmentation, prolonged exposure to the sun is the biggest culprit. Whether you suffer from acanthosis nigricans or simply wish to avoid it at all costs, remember to wear sunscreen all year round. In the summertime, you might need to increase the factor of your sunscreen, but do not be fooled by the clouds in autumn or winter. The UV radiation affects your skin every single day of the year so stay protected.
People suffering from diabetes may be extra prone to hyper-pigmentation of the skin, including the neck area. It happens because of the fluctuations of insulin level. Skin cells activity is triggered by this hormone and results in dark patches in random places on the skin. The discolourations may appear on the back, legs or arms, but they are the most common in the areas that get stimulated by UV radiation, ie. face, cleavage and neck. Unbalanced level of insulin is also experienced by overweight and obese people who do not necessarily suffer from diabetes, as well as by those who lose or gain a lot of weight in a short time.
Women have a higher tendency to have black patches on the neck due to more noticeable changes in hormones. In their case, skin discolouration can be triggered by many factors, like prolonged use of contraceptive pills, pregnancy or polycystic ovary syndrome. Study shows that there are more cases of inherited skin discolouration among women.
As the skin ages, it also has a tendency to become darker in some areas, including on the neck, due to many years of exposure to the sun. Even though some types of flat, dark spots on mature skin are called ‘liver spots’, their occurrence is in now way connected to the function of the liver.
Eczema and fungal infections are other common causes of darker skin around neck. Severe eczema does not only bring an itching sensation but also irritates the skin deep enough to stimulate the production of melanin, which eventually causes hyper-pigmentation.
Home remedies for black neck
Since the neck is a part of the body that is almost constantly exposed, acanthosis nigricans may seriously affect the self-esteem of the person suffering from it. Luckily, there are numerous home remedies that may help reduce the visibility of dark patches on your neck. If you use them regularly, they may even fix the problem permanently.
Cucumber has been used in creams, body lotions and cleansing products for many years. It is well known for its soothing properties. If you want to include it in your neck beauty regime, simply grate a cucumber and apply it to the skin of your neck. Massage and gently scrub the skin on your neck for 5 minutes and leave it on for another 10 minutes. It gets quite messy so the best place to do it is a bath tub. Cucumber peeling helps get rid of dead skin cells, stimulates skin regeneration and leaves your skin smooth and glowing. To boost its power, you can add a tablespoon of lemon juice to your home made scrub.
Honey and tomato
Honey has countless properties and is used in medicine and cosmetics in various forms. It’s a common ingredient of moisturising and lightening creams. You can use it at home to make a facial that will help you remove the dark patches from your neck. Mix 3 tablespoons of tomato juice with 4 tablespoons of honey. Apply it on your face and neck and leave it for 15 minutes. Honey and tomato mixed together do miracles to your skin. For best results, repeat it 3-4 times a week until you achieve the desired results.
If you want to remove dark patches and add glow to your skin, you should try almonds. They help exfoliate, moisture and nourish the skin. Try making a paste of almond power, milk powder and honey. Apply it on your face and neck, perform a gentle massage to remove dead skin cells and leave it on. It needs a bit more time to penetrate the skin so relax with your favourite magazine for half an hour and rinse the paste off with warm water.
If you don’t have time for a 30-minute beauty session, you can buy almond oil and massage it into your neck twice a week. It gradually removes the blemishes, improves blood circulation in the treated area and leaves the skin extra smooth and nourished.
If you like the taste of almonds, you can benefit from adding a few of them to your oatmeal or desserts. They are rich in vitamin E which is essential for maintaining the skin in a good condition.
The queen of the Mediterranean diet should be a feature of your dining table every single day. Due to its nourishing and regenerative properties, olive oil helps maintain the skin hydrated and nourished. It also soothes irritated areas. A wide range of cosmetics based on olive oil are available on the market, but you can also apply olive oil directly on your skin. Mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil with a teaspoon of lemon juice for better results. Apply the mixture regularly on the dark spots and watch them fade away.
A paste made of walnut powder and milk or natural yoghurt is another great remedy for a black neck that you can make at home. It’s inexpensive and works great as a scrub not only for your face and neck but for the whole body. It also nourishes the skin really well since wallnuts are packed with vitamins and minerals. Massage the paste onto the neck to exfoliate and lighten the skin and leave it on for 15 minutes. Rinse well with lukewarm water. You will notice the difference in the skin tone on your neck after just 2 weeks of regular use of the wallnut paste.
Lemon and lime
Lemon and lime juices contain natural bleaching agents that do an amazing job at lightening the skin. You have to be careful, though, if you have irritated or sensitive skin. Before applying lemon juice on your skin, make a quick test and check if lemon juice evokes any itching sensation. If so, prepare a mixture of juice squeezed from half a lemon or one lime and half a glass of water. Apply the solution on your neck with a cotton ball and leave it on for 15 minutes. You can also try a remedy made of half rose water and half lemon juice. It works wonders and smells amazing. As lemon juice makes your skin more sensitive to UV radiation, avoid exposure to the sun for up to three days after the treatment. If you decide to make a series of citrus juice facials or rinses, it’s best to chose autumn or winter, since there is less risk of sunburns and other skin damages that can be caused by the strong sun.
Due to its high level of vitamin C, orange peel is a perfect remedy for various skin conditions. You can make your own orange peel scrub at home. Just dry some orange peel in a warm place (you will get best results when you expose it to the sun) and grind it the food processor until you get a smooth powder. Mix 3 teaspoons of natural yoghurt with 2 tablespoons of orange powder. Apply the mixture to the areas you want to lighten and perform a gentle massage. Then leave the paste to dry and rinse it off with warm water. You can prepare more powder at once, but mix it with yoghurt just before the application.
Thanks to its amazing nourishing properties, coca butter has become a ubiquitous ingredient in cosmetics. You can choose to buy a lotion or cream, but remember to look at the list of ingredients first. If cocoa butter is not mentioned in the first place, the product is not worth buying. If you decide to make your own mixture at home, put half a glass of honey, half a glass of milk and 5 spoons of cocoa butter into a bowl and mix it well. It’s a good idea to prepare more paste straight away as it smells and feels so good, that you will definitely want to use it not only on your black neck but also on your face and cleavage. Apply the mixture on the skin and leave on for 20 minutes. Rinse well with warm water. You can repeat this treatment as often as you wish, unless you have a very oily skin.
Argan oil, just like olive oil is present across many different industries, from cooking, through cosmetics to medicine. Its subtle, nutty taste makes it a great dressing for salads and it’s highly recommendable to consume at least one table spoon of argan oil a day. The cooking argan oil is more expensive that its cosmetic counterpart, but it’s also better filtered. You can buy cosmetic argan oil and apply it directly onto your skin, just like olive oil. Since argan oil is relatively dry, there is no need to rinse it off. You can massage a small amount of it onto your skin, let it dry for 15 minutes and go to bed or get dressed. In just two weeks you can get great results in black neck treatment just by applying argan oil daily and letting it work during the night.
A paste made of baking soda and water not only helps lighten dark patches on your skin but also make a great solution for excess sebum if you have oily skin. Put soda into a glass bowl and add water very slowly. Make sure the mixture is relatively solid, otherwise, it won’t stay on the skin. Apply the paste on your neck, perform a short, gentle massage with your fingers and let the mixture dry. Rinse it off with warm water.
Oats are very helpful in the treatment of hyperpigmentation due to their exfoliating and nourishing properties. You can prepare a peeling of 2 tablespoons of oats and 4 tablespoons of honey. Apply it on your neck, rub it in gently with your fingers for a few minutes and leave it on for 10 minutes. When you rinse it off, you will notice instantly that the skin gets smoother and better nourished.
Whatever home remedy you decide to choose, make sure you don’t cut the corners and take the time to choose the best ingredients, like organic lemons and oranges or good quality olive oil. The price of the products will be just a fraction of what you would have to pay for a laser treatment on your black neck. Also remember that it is crucial that you continue the treatment for at least 3 weeks to achieve lasting results. However time consuming it might be, the effects are definitely worth it.