Dark & Rough Skin Around the Neck
With its regular exposure to harsh temperatures, the sun, beauty products and rough fabrics, neck skin can easily become damaged or irritated. Skin changes can occur on the front, sides or back of your neck. Often related to an underlying medical condition, dark and rough skin around the neck can be attributed to a variety of factors.
As ultraviolet (UV) rays penetrate the skin on your neck, it damages the layer of collagen that holds your skin cells together. As a result, wrinkles develop. As sun exposure continues, the outer layer of your skin begins to develop sun spots and dark discolorations on exposed areas. If sun damages continues, your skin may develop a dark, rough and leathery appearance and texture. Once skin is damaged, it cannot heal itself. In serious cases of sun damage, skin cancer may develop. Prevent sun damage by avoiding exposure by covering your skin with clothing or applying a layer of sunscreen.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Occurring only in women, polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, is a hormonal imbalance. According to the Center For Young Women's Health, PCOS affects almost one out of every 10 women. Patients with the condition have an imbalance of hormones in the brain and ovaries. Typically, the excess hormones, include luteinizing hormone and insulin, trigger an excess production of estrogen, progesterone and androgen testosterone. Common symptoms of the condition include irregular menstrual cycles, excess body hair, acne, weight gain and patches of dark skin on the neck, armpits and upper thighs, caused by excess insulin. Treatment for PCOS includes regular exercise, a balanced diet and hormone therapy.
Associated with underlying medical conditions that increase insulin levels, acanthosis nigricans is a skin condition that produces thick, dark, velvety skin. Typically, the disorder affects only skin on the groin, armpits and neck. Excess insulin triggers the skin cells to produce unusual changes. Excess insulin levels are often associated with obesity, diabetes, endocrine disorders and certain medications. Treatment for acanthosis nigricans includes resolving the underlying medical condition, which might involve losing weight or altering your diet.
Also referred to as atopic dermatitis, eczema is a chronic inflammation of the skin. Although it most commonly occurs on the hands, feet and knees, eczema can also develop around the elbow or eyes and on the ankles, wrists, chest and neck. According to MayoClinic.com, the exact cause of eczema remains unknown as of December 2010. However, it is believed that the combination of dry skin and a malfunctioning immune system initiate an eczema episode. Symptoms include itchy, colored patches of red or brownish-gray raised bumps that may leak small amounts of fluid when scratched. Often, the affected skin becomes thick, rough and/or scaly. Treatments for eczema include medicated ointments, medications, keeping the skin moisturized and avoiding triggers that worsen the condition.
Before attempting to treat dark and/or rough skin around the neck, consult your physician. In many cases, treatment relies heavily on the cause of the skin changes. That said, moisturizing lotions, vitamin E, fish oil and creams containing vitamin A have been known to lighten and/or smooth the skin.
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