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Dry Skin on the Back of the Neck

Dry Skin on the Back of the Neck


Dry skin, also called xerosis, can be uncomfortable and distressful, especially if it develops on the back of the neck. There are a variety of conditions and environmental factors that can cause dry skin to occur including environmental conditions and certain medical conditions. It is important to understand why and how xerosis develops so that it can be properly treated.


The Mayo Clinic explains that symptoms of dry skin on the back of the neck can vary from person to person. However, dryness is typically accompanied by a tightening sensation that can occur after exposure to water such as showering or swimming. In addition, the skin may look dehydrated or shrunken in appearance. It may also itch or develop redness and small lines or cracks. If dry skin is severe, deep cracks may bleed.


Dry skin on the back of the neck can be due to dry, cold or humid weather. In addition, it can be triggered by central air conditioning or heating, fireplaces and space heaters. These can all reduce the amount of humidity in the air and dry out the skin. Hot showers, baths and frequent trips to the swimming pool can break down the barrier of lipids in the skin. Conditions such as psoriasis or thyroid disorders can also cause dry, scaly skin on the back of the neck.


The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology explains that dry skin can be treated with a moisturizer. It works best if the lotion is applied directly after a shower so that the moisture from the water becomes trapped in the skin. If dryness is severe, the sufferer can also apply an oil, such as baby oil, to the back of the neck. In addition, it can be beneficial to run a humidifier daily to add moisture into the air.


To prevent dryness, the sufferer should rub an SPF 15 sunscreen on the back of the neck and body every day. She should also avoid the use of perfumed fabric softeners when washing clothes. Clothing should be made of soft fabrics that will not irritate or scratch the back of the neck. In addition, she should make sure that the sheets on her bed are made of a fabric such as cotton percale.


If dry skin is left untreated, it can lead to a more serious condition such as eczema, a disorder that can cause the skin to become inflamed and crack. In addition, folliculitis, which is when the hair follicles become inflamed, can occur. A bacterial infection called cellulitis can also develop. This dangerous condition can enter the blood vessels and lymphatic system of the body.

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