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Project Clear Skin: Why Do I Have Acne On My Neck And How Can I Get Rid Of It?

It's not as uncommon as you think.
by Cheska G. Santiago
September 29, 2020
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Okay, let's be real here: Zits on our faces is something we can live with because they're ~normal~. But pimples popping up on our necks is just a cruel joke—it's like our skin can't give us a break! No matter how annoying (and frankly, very unwelcome) they are, it's still possible to avoid future run-ins with them. Ahead, we list down all the possible reasons we get them and how to stop them from appearing again:


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What types of acne do we usually see on the neck?

The types of acne that appear on our necks usually range from harmless whiteheads, blackheads, to something as serious and as painful as cystic acne. The last one is usually caused by a hormonal imbalance.

What causes acne on the neck?

Neck breakouts are annoying but definitely not uncommon. These are some of the usual culprits:

  1. Use of comedogenic products

    Comedogenic products contain ingredients that clog the pores. They can trap the oil and gunk on our skin, which eventually leads to more complications (read: breakouts).

  2. Failure to wash off makeup at night

    One thing we must always remember to do at the end of the day is to wash off all the accumulated dirt and oil on our face, and that includes our makeup. Failing to cleanse this area can usher in a new batch of breakouts.

  3. Overproduction of sebum

    Oil is often seen as a bad thing on our faces, but it's actually normal to have a healthy amount on our skin. Too much sebum, however, is bad for our complexions as it creates clogged pores which lead to breakouts.

  4. Too much stress

    Stress is definitely the silent enemy that contributes to more breakouts. A 2007 study found that psychological stress in adolescents causes an overproduction of sebum. And as we all know, more oil is equal to pimples.

What are things you can do to treat acne on the neck?

While whiteheads and blackheads can simply be treated with anti-acne products, cystic acne is a whole other story. Since the infection is in the deep layers of the skin, it is much harder to treat on your own (and we don't recommend pricking them or self-medicating!). If you can't go to a derma right now, here are some remedies you can try to calm them down:

READ MORE: Every Freakin' Possible Way To Get Rid Of Cystic Acne

Acne on the neck: Easy home remedies

  1. Don't pick at them.

    Seriously, the best thing you can do for your skin right now is to leave it TF alone. Absolutely no popping or pricking them—you'll only make them worse!

  2. Rub an ice-filled handkerchief on the inflamed areas.

    Cystic acne is *painful* because it is inflamed. Rubbing a clean handkerchief filled with ice can do wonders in reducing the swelling and redness

  3. Apply a spot treatment.

    Even though you can't get rid of cystic acne using spot treatments alone, they help a lot in flattening its ugly red, inflamed head faster. Use one with has salicylic acid as its main ingredients—it's been proven as a potent blemish buster.

    Kiehl's Blue Herbal Spot Treatment, P1,150, Kiehl's

  4. Stick some pimple patches on them.

    Pimple patches are our BFFs because they conceal zits as we heal them. Plus, the affected areas won't be exposed to external stressors like dirt, oil, or sweat that can aggravate the blemishes and make them worse.

    Luxe Organix Hydrocolloid Acne Patch Day Time 48s, P199, Watsons

Acne on the neck: The best treatments

Once you've done all of the above, it's basically hands-off until you get to a dermatologist. Hormonal acne is not something you can heal with just home remedies, so it's best to have it checked by your doctor so they can recommend a proper treatment plan. Here are some that they may prescribe:

  1. Retinoid

    Retinoid works deep within your skin to speed up your cell turnover process and control sebum production. It also has anti-aging properties that make it a mainstay in the routines of those with oily, acne-prone skin. Read more about this ~*wonder*~ ingredient here.

  2. Oral contraceptives

    Birth control pills may also be prescribed to control acne. They regulate the amount of androgen (aka male hormones) in the body that causes overproduction of sebum and can trigger acne. There are many types of oral contraceptives in the market, so make sure to consult with your OB-GYNE to find the right one for you.

  3. Tretinoin

    Tretinoin is practically a godsend for those with acne—Dr. Vicki Belo even personally swears by it! It's a vitamin A derivative oral medication that controls your skin's sebum production and speeds up the healing and recovery process of your blemishes.

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