Eczema refers to a group of skin conditions that cause rashes, irritation, and skin discoloration on various parts of the body, including the neck.

This article discusses what eczema is, how it presents on the neck, and the symptoms of eczema on the neck. It also looks at how to treat and prevent eczema symptoms.

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Eczema refers to a group of conditions that cause itchy and irritated rashes. Over 31 million people in the United States have some type of eczema.

Eczema can affect people of all ages, and symptoms can range from very mild to severe. It can affect many areas of the skin, including the skin on the neck.

Atopic dermatitis (AD) and contact dermatitis (CD) are two common types of eczema.

AD is a skin condition that can develop at any age. It causes itchy rashes and can appear on any area of the skin. However, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, it is more likely to occur on the neck in children ages 2 years and older.

CD occurs when the skin comes into contact with an irritant or allergen. CD usually develops on the face and neck. However, it can also occur on the underarms, scalp, and the tops of the feet.

Eczema symptoms may vary from person to person in severity and presentation.

Those who develop CD on the neck may experience the following:

If AD appears on the neck, a person may experience an itchy patch of skin. Scratching it can lead to a rash, which may appear red on light skin tones and dark brown, purple, or gray on dark skin tones.

The skin can become sore and weep fluid and blood if a person scratches it. Over time, scratching can cause the skin to thicken.

Most people find eczema to be mild to moderately itchy. However, some people may find the itching to be intense. They may notice symptoms vary in intensity at different times.

Eczema and psoriasis are both skin conditions that can cause dry, thick, and patchy areas of skin.

Plaque psoriasis has well-defined, thick, scaly patches of skin. It often occurs on areas such as the scalp, elbows, and knees. However, it can occur anywhere on the body.

On light skin tones, psoriasis may appear red or pink. On dark skin tones, it can appear violet, gray, or dark brown. Psoriasis is generally mildly itchy.

Eczema rashes may not be as well-defined and often have round blotches. They can range in color from red to brownish-gray.

A dermatologist can properly diagnose eczema or psoriasis.

A person can develop CD due to an irritant or allergen. This can include skin care products and fragrances.

CD can appear wherever a person applies the allergen. For example, applying perfume on the neck can lead to a CD rash appearing in the same area.

Examples of irritants that may lead to CD on the neck include:

  • detergents
  • skin creams and lotions
  • soaps
  • perfumes
  • jewelry containing metals such as nickel

Researchers do not know exactly what causes AD, but there may be a genetic component. Some people with AD have a gene mutation that makes a protein responsible for maintaining a protective outer layer on the skin.

When a person’s body does not produce enough of this protein, the skin’s barrier will allow moisture to escape more easily. This can make the skin more vulnerable to irritants, viruses, and bacteria.

A person may also be more likely to develop AD when they have a family history of eczema, other skin conditions, or allergies.

People with eczema may have an overactive immune system. When someone with eczema encounters a common trigger inside or outside their body, it can result in inflammation. This inflammation causes itching and rashes.

A doctor can examine a person’s skin during a flare to diagnose eczema on the neck.

During diagnosis, a doctor may ask a person or caregiver about related symptoms and discuss the person’s medical history.

If a doctor suspects allergies may be the cause, they may recommend allergy testing.

If the cause is CD, a person can avoid the irritant. The rash should disappear without treatment over time.

In the meantime, the following steps may help relieve any itching:

People may also avoid applying cosmetics, creams, or makeup.

While there is no current cure for AD, treatments are available to help manage and reduce the symptoms.

Treatments vary from person to person based on age and the severity of the symptoms. Treatment options include:

  • prescription and over-the-counter creams and ointments, such as corticosteroids
  • oral medications, including biologics and immunosuppressants
  • phototherapy

A person can talk with a doctor to determine the best course of treatment.

Home treatment

To help ease the symptoms of eczema on the neck at home, a person can try the following:

  • moisturize after bathing
  • choose fragrance-free skin care products
  • use lukewarm water for bathing
  • use fragrance-free detergents
  • wash new clothes before wearing them

Learn more about natural remedies for eczema.

Prevention is a large part of treating eczema flares.

Moisturizing the skin daily is one of the most important methods to prevent an eczema flare.

When eczema appears on the neck, a person can look for substances that come into contact with the skin in that area to identify the triggers.

Managing stress and working with a doctor to find a gentle, moisturizing skin care routine can also help prevent flares.

People with eczema are at increased risk for bacterial or viral skin infections.

The National Eczema Association notes that up to 80% of people with eczema have a bacteria on their skin called Staphylococcus aureus. Some of them will develop a staph infection.

A person can avoid scratching and moisturize the skin to lower their risk of developing a skin infection. These steps can prevent the skin from cracking and bleeding.

A person with AD also has an increased risk of developing a severe infection as a result of the smallpox vaccine and may not receive it.

A person with eczema may work with a dermatologist to develop a care plan to manage their symptoms. They may contact a doctor if they notice any new or worsening symptoms or changes in their skin.

Anyone with eczema can contact their doctor immediately if they notice any signs of skin infection, including:

  • an area of swollen, painful skin
  • skin that is warm to the touch
  • areas of the skin that have drainage or pus

A fever and general feeling of discomfort may accompany the above symptoms.

Below are some frequently asked questions about eczema on the neck.

How can someone calm down an eczema flare-up on the neck?

Home remedies such as regular moisturizing, applying a cool compress, or avoiding products with fragrance can soothe an eczema flare on the neck. People can also use treatments their doctor prescribes, such as corticosteroids.

What cream is good for eczema on the neck?

A fragrance-free moisturizer may help to improve eczema on the neck. A doctor may also prescribe topical treatments, such as corticosteroids.

Eczema is a common group of skin conditions characterized by areas of dry, itchy skin with a rash-like appearance.

Contact dermatitis and atopic dermatitis are two types of eczema that can affect the neck.

There is no cure for eczema, but medical treatment, a good skin care routine, and lifestyle changes can help a person avoid flares.