Dry Red Skin on Neck
If the skin on your neck is dry and red, it may be because of simple contact dermatitis, caused by an irritant. Your neck can be irritated by a new soap, shampoo, styling product or laundry detergent, or you may just be suffering from environmentally-caused dry skin. More serious causes of red skin on the neck include autoimmune disorders, which can be ruled out by a dermatologist.
One possible cause of skin itching is dryness related to weather or exposure to the elements. According to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, exposing skin to harsh cleansers, hot or soapy water, or extreme hot or cold weather can deplete protective skin oils. If your skin becomes too dry, the redness and itching may be because of a resultant case of dermatitis, which can become itchy and painful if not treated.
Dermatitis is a general term for skin redness from irritants. Contact dermatitis may be caused by detergent, soap or fabric softener. Atopic dermatitis is common in dry climates, so if you spend a lot of time in the extreme heat or cold, the skin on your neck can become red and dry. Lack of B vitamins or too much vitamin A can provoke symptoms of dermatitis.
Eczema, another cause of skin redness and itching, is believed to be an immune system disorder. Eczema leaves your skin dry, rough, flaky and often quite itchy. Red blotches caused by eczema may later turn dark brown. If you do not properly treat a case of eczema, your skin may crack and break, leaving it vulnerable to bacterial infection. Eczema may be accompanied by allergies or asthma and usually first presents in childhood, though rare cases develop initially in adults.
Treating itchy skin may require an over-the-counter cortisone cream or gel. Taking tepid showers, avoiding long hot baths and choosing moisturizing shower gel over regular soap can help relieve dryness and redness. Always slather on lotion after showering, preferably an unscented formula made for sensitive skin. Colloidal oatmeal compresses or body wash can help relieve severe itching. Cortisone or anti-fungal treatments may be necessary for red, itchy skin that is not helped by regular moisturizing.
Appropriate treatment for the red skin on your neck will ultimately depend on finding the true cause of the dryness and irritation. If simple lifestyle changes such as changing cleansers and minimizing stress don't work, consult a dermatologist for a thorough evaluation. If your dry, red skin is accompanied by frequent colds or infections, you could have an autoimmune disorder that requires immediate medical attention. See a doctor right away if over-the-counter treatments and home remedies fail.
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