Itchy Red Skin on the Neck
Having an itch now and again is just part of being human. However, a patch of itchy red skin on the neck can indicate a bigger problem. This symptom can stem from a few possible causes, some of which are within your control, and others wholly beyond it. See your doctor to get an accurate diagnosis and rule out any serious underlying conditions.
Contact dermatitis often leads to itchy, red skin on your neck. This condition is caused by your neck skin's reaction to an irritant or allergen. Possible irritants and allergens include laundry detergent, nickel or other metals used in jewelry, hair dye, weeds such as poison ivy, or perfume, cologne or other fragrances.
Neck skin, especially the skin on the back of the neck, sometimes suffers from neurodermatitis, which also leads to itchy, red skin, notes MayoClinic.com. This condition starts when your skin begins to itch in a localized area because of a dry skin condition or constant irritation. People often worsen the redness and irritation by constantly scratching that particular area.
Also known as eczema, atopic dermatitis is an itchy, red rash that tends to come and go throughout your lifetime, usually starting in childhood, explains the EczemaNet website. Causes are usually a combination of factors that often include dry skin, a malfunctioning immune system and an inherited tendency for allergic reactions. The skin suffers from a "barrier defect," which results in the skin being extremely sensitive to irritants which, in turn, cause the itching and redness.
A sun allergy is another possible cause of itchy, red skin on the neck, IteliHealth states, and is categorized either as polymorphous light eruption, or PMLE, or as a photoallergic eruption. Both types of sun allergies result in an itchy red rash on the neck or other areas exposed to sun, sometimes with little blisters. Polymorphous light eruption hits quickly, within an hour or two of being in the sun, while a photoallergic eruption shows up later, often a day or two after sun exposure. PMLE often comes with a headache, chills and nausea. A photoallergic eruption's rash sometimes spreads to skin that was not even directly exposed to sunlight.
Treatment for both dermatitis and sun allergy is usually twofold. The first part of the treatment often involves a topical cream or other medication to stop the itching. The second part is treating the underlying cause. For contact dermatitis and sun allergy, this means avoiding the substance that caused the reaction or direct exposure to the sun. Neurodermatitis treatments sometimes include covering the area to stop you from scratching it. A regularly applied skin barrier repair cream or other skin medication often works to keep atopic dermatitis in check.
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