Dark neck :What causes dark/ black neck and learn about treatment

Find out the different reasons for dark patches on the neck and also know about acanthosis nigricans treatment which is the main reason for the dark neck.

Posted by Rukhma Khalid on March 06, 2023

Dark neck:

Dark neck is a very common problem, and many people are concerned for neck lightening. In order to treat dark neck, it is first necessary to understand its underlying causes.

What are the causes of black neck?

Causes of dark neck are:

  • Acanthosis nigricans
  • Medicines
  • Dermatitis neglecta
  • Lichen planus pigmentosus
  • Jewellery
  • Tight collar
  • Sun
  • Lifestyle
  • Weight gain

1.Acanthosis nigricans

The first cause of dark neck and the most common one is Acanthosis nigricans. This is a condition in which the skin of neck becomes dark and thick. It can also affect armpit and groin areas. Or it can occur due to insulin resistance or hormonal imbalance. This is neither contagious nor harmful for the individual’s health. The chances of this condition occurring are higher in those who are obese or overweight or suffering from diabetes. Acanthosis nigricans can usually occur due to genetic predisposition.


The second cause of dark neck is medicines such as niacin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, phenytoin, malaria medicines, amiodarone, antipsychotic drugs, tetracyclines, birth control pills, prednisone, and corticosteroids.

3.Dermatitis neglecta:

The third reason for dark neck is Dermatitis neglecta. Usually dermatitis neglecta occurs due to insufficient cleansing. It occurs mostly over the neck, and disappears with proper cleaning.

4.Lichen planus pigmentosus:

The fourth reason is Lichen planus pigmentosus. This is an inflammatory condition in which scarring occurs over the body. In this, grey brown dark patches appear over the face and neck. Many times, dark patches also start appearing over the neck, back, chest, and arms in tinea versicolor or such fungal infections. These patches can worsen after excessive sun exposure, and the skin can darken even more.

5.Jewellery and Tight collar:

Besides this, excessive friction due to jewellery, and wearing clothes with a tight collar can also cause dark neck.

6.Exposure to sun:

Over exposure to the sun, for example, if a person travels by bike and does not apply sunscreen on his neck or even cover his neck up properly.

7.Life style and weight gain:

Lifestyle and weight gain can cause a dark neck.


Is dark neck normal?

A dark neck is not a disease. It is a symptom of underlying diseases. So, understand the underlying cause in order to reduce it.

To find out the underlying cause of the dark neck, the doctor can ask about medical history, medications, and lifestyle habits. So also be required to do some clinical tests to check blood sugar or hormone levels. After determining the cause of the dark neck, the doctor can prescribe a condition-specific treatment. Because it treatment differs, depending on each condition.

How to treat dark neck?

Acanthosis nigricans treatment:

To treat Acanthosis nigricans, skin-lightening creams are often used. To treat it, topical tretinoin or retinoic acids are used to increase skin cell turnover. So, the doctor can also give some medicated creams that contain skin-lightening ingredients for example kojic acid and glycolic. In some cases, laser treatment is also recommended. To treat acanthosis nigricans.a person should maintain weight and manage blood sugar levels. If acanthosis nigricans has been triggered by cancer, then it will of course reduce once the cancer is being treated.

Dark neck treatment with/without medication:

If neck is becoming dark due to some medication or supplement, then the doctor may advise you to discontinue them. Doctors prescribe an anti-fungal ointment to treat tinea versicolor, which can be applied directly over the skin. Some time doctors can also recommend oral anti-fungal medications in some cases.

Dermatitis neglecta treatment:

When a dark neck occurs due to dermatitis neglecta, then it is important to wash and clean yourself properly. But keep one thing in mind. The dark neck should not be considered dirt and scrubbed rigorously.

Whatever the cause may be while cleaning your neck, be gentle with it. Due to this the darkness over your neck can be reduced and can also prevent it.

How to get rid of dark neck fast?

  • Firstly, you have to keep your weight under control
  • Have to avoid all high glycemic index foods
  • Use sun protection, and protect neck from sun tanning
  • At the same time, control the friction around the neck area


Dark neck is not harmful or serious condition but it can be a sign of a serious condition. That is why consult a dermatologist. He will diagnose your condition and recommend the right treatment that will help to get the original color of your neck back.