Get Rid of Pimples on Neck; Causes, Painful, Ingrown, Near Hairline pictures

Pimples on neck can be painful, painless, small, large or even ingrown or “blind pimples”. They affect the front, side, back, under and along hairline near neck area. Bumps acne on neck may break out due to simple, mild of even severe underlying health problem. Neck zits are mainly caused by shaving, stress, hormonal imbalance, cosmetics, makeup use, personal hygiene, sweating and dietary intake.

Pimples on Neck
Bumps on neck

However, in some cases the neck pimples may be itchy and won’t go away on their own until the underlying causes are addressed. Natural methods may be used to get rid of neck lumps such as use of castor oil, applying olive oil, lemon juice etc. if unsuccessful to treat neck bumps you may consider dermatologist consultation for aggressive treatment options.

Why am I prone to neck acne break out?

Pimples on neck knows neither gender nor age, they may affect everyone: male, female, young and old. However, the teenagers are more prone due to hormonal changes during puberty. According to mayo clinic 70-80 % of teenagers have acne.  Women also experience acne pimples breakout during pregnancy, around menses days, ovulation or even menopause.

Pimples on neck

Mild pimples usually result in blackheads and whiteheads, while irritation pimples manifest as cysts, papules, nodules or pustules. Nodules or cysts develop very painful, hurting neck pimples that won’t go away easily. The skin types play an important role in acne zits breakout.

If you have sensitive skin you may develop neck acne due to allergic reactions of garments materials, acne mechanica, dirt gadgets or hands as well as the environmental condition.

What Causes pimples on my neck?

Pimples that appears on neck are common skin condition. Anyone is prone to neck pimples, male and female of any age.

1. Pimples on neck after shaving

Shaving is known to cause acne on neck among men. Wrong choice of shaving cosmetics, tools used and aftershave can lead to ingrown hairs that are itchy, painful causing neck pimples. Dirty equipment and using dirty hands may cause pimples on neck.

shaving neck zits

Razor bumps may also occur due to improper shaving that irritates the skin. The bumps may appear as a result of using modern multi blade razors that cuts hair below the skin line. The smoothly shaven is achieved by first razor lifting the hair out of the skin. The following blades then is able to cut hair blow the skin line. Blunt razors and friction caused by running the razor blades on skin may cause inflammation and irritation on some peoples. This leads to acne zits formation.

2. Skin cancer

Skin cancer (basal and squamous cell carcinoma) may be the cause of the pimples on your neck. Dermatologists recommends examining your body for any new growths, lesions, moles that begins to bleed, itch, change or fail to heal.

Melanoma is a deadly form of skin cancer that calls for early detection which is crucial for surviving it. Dermatologists often do warn of a new firm feel mole that keep on increasing in size or depth or growing after three weeks. They are likely to be accompanied by discoloration that may require doctors review.

3. Diseases and medication

Bumps on neck may appear as a side effects of medicine such as phenytoin or Dilantin. Medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, cancer, measles, rubella, chicken pox or mumps may cause acne bump on neck.

Other diseases that are transmitted by sexual contact and blood exchange, like syphilis, may cause bumps on neck.

Herpes symptoms

4. Hormonal imbalance

Hormonal caused pimples may appear on neck during pregnancy, during puberty, ovulation and menses. Both boys and girls during puberty, hormones stimulate the sebaceous glands to enlarge and produce more oil. Excess sebum produced, clogs the skin pores causing inflammation and pimples formation on neck.

Hormonal imbalances related to use of contraceptive also trigger the excess production of sebum clogging the skin pores. In female, low amount of androgens circulation in blood may worsen the bumps on neck.

When stressed the body produces excess stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. These released hormones trigger excess production of sebum causing bumps on neck.

5. Jewelry and Clothing

Jewelry materials have effects on your body. The allergies to wearable like jewelry and clothing may cause skin irritation and inflammation. Skin allergies normally cause redness, itchy irritation on your skin. Fabric materials may also cause allergic reaction on your skin forming pimples on neck.

Cosmetics and other essential hygiene products like soap, shampoo and fragrances may cause allergic reaction on your body causing formation of acne pimples. According to Facing Acne, there are millions of people that have allergic contact dermatitis that keeps the skin in constant irritation.

Your neck is a very sensitive region that is constantly exposed to the elements and various chemicals.


Do HIV cause neck pimples? No, HIV does not cause acne on neck. However, HIV compromises the immune system make it weak and vulnerable to other attacks including acne pimples causing bacteria. Therefore, acne sufferers do not mean they have HIV, nor does it mean HIV patients must have bumps.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) may cause acne that are symptoms of infection. Secondary syphilis may cause non itchy skin pimples on neck. Herpes and Human papillomavirus (HPV) may also cause warts. HPV may ultimately cause cervical cancer which may malignant to other areas of the body.

7. Stress

Dermatologists have tried to come up with explanation of stress and pimples. The studies found that, students form acne pimples during exam time, compared to other times. Dr. Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, a dermatologist says stress increases glucocorticoid production that can lead to skin structure abnormalities.

8. Sweating

sweat-heat rash

When exercising, sweating is inevitable. The sweat combined with excess oil, dead skin and bacteria may become trapped in the pores of the skin. Clogged pores provides a habitat for bacteria to thrive and multiply, triggering an inflammation on the neck called sweat pimple. Hot and humid climate may also cause sweating causing acne called pityrosporum folliculitis. Pityrosporum folliculitis is a tough and stubborn form of acne pimples to treat especially when one has a sensitive skin.

How much one sweats, is determined by genetics and the intense of the physical activity. Routine exercise may also increase the susceptibility to sweat pimple. Personal hygiene is a key both before and after working out. Avoiding staying with sweat soaked clothes that may trigger bumps on your neck. Wearing the wrong sweat gym clothes, non-breathable clothes may cause, worsen or even aggravate the neck pimples.

9. Cosmetic products

Use of cosmetic products may cause blockage of the skin pores. Moisturizer, sunscreen, makeup and hair products may also lead to neck pimples.

Some people are used to using or trying 5-10 new cosmetics products per annum. This is bad for your skin although great for the manufacturer and cosmetic industry. Generally, many cosmetic industries use super comedogenic, Laureth -4 and isopropyl myristate that may cause neck pimples.

In addition, the use of hair products concentrates on neck, jawline, forehead and hairline that end up causing neck bumps. Hair products that contain sodium sulfates (sodium Laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate) leave a film on the skin may cause neck pimples.

10. Diet

Dietary factors like dairy products, high glycemic and carbohydrates rich foods may trigger neck pimples. These foods that often break down easily in your body triggers insulin spike and raising blood sugar. The resultant effect is to trigger hormonal fluctuations causing skin inflammation and bumps or zits formation on your skin.

A study done in 2011, conclude that microflora may affect inflammation and in turn the bumps breakout. Scientist believe pre and probiotics can reduce oxidative stress and inflammation getting rid of acne break out. Vitamin A, plays an essential role in skin health. Deficiency causes dry skin, dry hair and broken finger nails as first symptoms.

11. Lesions

Mollusca are painless pearl like lesions that forms after infection from the virus. The Mollusca is spread through contact which include sexual contact, sharing towels bedding and other personal items. Comedones may also develop into blackheads and whiteheads. They are acne lesion triggered by comedogenic.

12. Genetics disorders

Genetic disorders may cause acne on neck

  • Neurofibromatosis; this is an incurable genetic disorder of the nervous system that may look like bumps under the skin. These are tumors that develop on the nerves although they are harmless they may compress the nerve and other tissues leading to serious problems.

Pilomatricoma; also known as pilomatrixoma is a non-cancerous benign under the skin associated with hair follicle. They are small hard bumps under the skin. They are surgically removed and tend to recur. A small percentage of Pilomatricoma are cancerous or malignant.

cystic bumps on neck side

Popping and Picking pimples on neck is not a good idea. It can actually make the affected area worse by introducing bacterial infection from your hands. Pooping may also lead to scarring of the neck.

Pimples on back of neck

Itchy pimples on back of neck may occur due to curly hair that causes ingrown hair that looks like bumps. Coarse hair, high levels of sex hormones, shaving are some of other factors that may cause bumps on back of neck. Shampoos, cosmetic and hair products may aggravate the pimples on back of the neck.

Bumps on front of neck

Itchy bumps on front of neck are caused by viral, bacterial infections among others. Thyroid glands help in fighting infection. The lumps on the front of the neck muscle may become swollen as a result of injury or torticollis.

Salivary glands may also become infected and hence inflamed as a result due to disease like cancer malignancy. Leukemia and Non-Hodgkin disease are some of the known causes of front pimples on neck. Food allergies and Cysts may also cause lumps on the front of a neck.

Pimples on neck under skin

Ingrown, itchy pimples on neck under the skin should not cause worry. Swollen glands occurs usually to the lymph nodes on the side of the neck, under the jaw or behind the ears especially when you have sore throat and cold. However, more serious infections can enlarge the glands, make them firm and tender.

Blind pimples on neck are usually large red or pink in color. They occur due to hormonal changes, using oily skin products, poor shedding of dead skin cells and bacterial infections.

Pimples on neck behind ears

Acne pimples on neck, behind the ears could be caused by infections like;

  • Mastoiditis; according to Medline plus this ear infection may mastoid bone to become infected. This makes the area behind the ear to swell and result to a visible small fingertip like protrusion. Ear pain and redness, fever and hearing loss are some of the accompanying symptoms.
  • Seborrheic Dermatitis; this is an allergic reaction that causes scaly pimples behind ears. These pimples are red or yellow in color. The main cause is not yet known although thought to be hereditary and they mostly affect men and aggravate on low temperatures.
  • Lymph nodes; small-like bumps behind ears may be swollen lymph nodes. They are part of the immune system. Any infection like flu, cold or tonsillitis may swell the lymph nodes for days or weeks. In other extreme rare cases they may swell due to tumors and cancer.
    pimple behind ears

Pimples on neck side and glands

The side of the neck contains glands (lymph nodes) on either side.  The gland under the jaw or behind the ears commonly swell when you have cold or sore throat. Abscess or boil may also affect the side of the neck, similar appearance to a large pimple. Serious infections of the lymph nodes may enlarge gland and become firm, hard or tender to touch. Tonsillitis, lump caused by cancer and goiter or enlarged thyroid gland may cause pimples on neck side.

Pimples on back of neck hairline

Bumps on neck hairline may be caused by many factors. Pimples on neckline can appears quite suddenly and takes a very long time to go away even with proper cleansing and treatment. Majorly neck acne are caused by oils from hair that clogs the skin pores. Rubbing your back with dirty hands, dirty pillow case, some shampoos, conditioners, lotion and hair products can clog the pores. This may lead to inflammation and irritating painful pimples on neck.

What types of bumps may appear on the neck?

  1. Blackheads are Comedones filled with excess oil and dead skin cells, usually open at the surface of the skin. The black hue results from irregular reflection of light coming from clogged hair follicles not dirt.  These pimples can be treated with over-the-counter medications.
  2. Whiteheads are Comedones which occur when oil and skin cells prevent a clogged hair follicle from opening. They stay closed at the surface of the skin. However same over-the-counter medicines for blackheads are also effective for whiteheads.
  3. Papules are inflamed small red or pink bumps on the skin. These pimples are very sensitive to the touch. Squeezing or Picking may make the inflammation worse and scarring. The large number of papules cases may indicate moderate to severe acne on skin.
  4. Pustules are another kind of inflamed pimple that resemble whiteheads with a red ring around the bump. These bumps are typically filled with white or yellow pus. Avoid squeezing and picking, they can cause dark spots or scars to develop on the skin.
  5. Nodules are firm large, inflamed bumps deep within the skin and are often very painful. Nodules should be treated by your dermatologist. Over-the-counter treatments may not be powerful enough but drugs prescribed can be effective to clear them out.
  6. Cysts are large, pus-filled lesions that look similar to boils. Cystic pimples are very painful and like nodules should be treated by your dermatologist.
  • Individuals prone to nodules and cysts are usually considered to have a more severe form of acne. People prone to “mild” category have less than 20 whiteheads or blackheads, less than 30 total lesions or less than 15 inflamed bumps. Mild acne is treatable with over-the-counter topical medicine. Mild zits may take 8 weeks to notice a significant improvement.
  • Someone is prone to Moderate acne if you have 20-100 whiteheads or blackheads, 15-50 inflamed bumps, or 30-125 lesions. Dermatologists prescription take several weeks to notice an improvement, and sometimes may appear to get worse before it gets better.
  1. Severe nodulocystic acne are multiple inflamed nodules and cysts. They may turn deep red or purple and often leave scars behind. At times the dermatologist may inject corticosteroids directly into nodules and cysts to reduce the inflammation, size and pain. Early treatment may minimize scarring.
  2. Acne conglobata is a severe form of many inflamed nodules that are inter-connected under the skin. It often affects men especially those taking steroids or testosterone and it leaves scars. Timely treatment by your doctor is essential.

Methods used to get rid of pimples on the neck

The following are some of the appropriate methods that can be used to prevent and get rid of neck bumps.

1. Natural methods to prevent and get rid of pimples on neck

  • For shaving or razor bumps you may decide to use electric shaving machine or safety razor.
  • For dietary zits, fish, flax seed, green tea, oysters, juicing and probiotics from yoghurt, miso soup, pickets, kefir, dark chocolate may help to get rid of acne zits on neck.
  • Get more sleep to reduce stress related acne.
  • Over the counter medications; retinoid creams, antibiotics, oral contraceptives if you are a woman, steroid injections for cystic lesion, Isotretinoin and laser treatment. CAUTION Isotretinoin is used only where other methods fail due to following severe risks; liver damage, depression, severe birth defects, inflammatory bowel disease and ulcerative colitis. Over the counter acne products include; benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, sulfur and alpha hydroxyl acids
  • Habit changes; wash your skin twice, apply topical acne creams on affected neck, drink a lot of water, avoid wearing turtle necks and scarves, avoid popping it can lead to scarring, avoid acne irritants.

2. Home remedies

There is no need to keep suffering from cystic acne, home remedies can be used to relieve suffering, discomfort and inflammation. The remedies include;

1. Use of sea salt, Aloe Vera and Green Tea.

Sea salt exfoliates the skin and dry out the acne.


  • Brew or make 1 cup of green tea, let it steep for some minutes before removing the tea bag
  • Add 1 tablespoon of sea salt in to the tea made, stir to dissolve.
  • Add a tablespoon of Aloe Vera, stir well to mix.
  • Allow the mixture to cool then apply using cotton wash cloth on the affected area.
  • Rinse of with Luke warm water after 5 minutes, then moisturize your neck.
  • Repeat the steps daily.

2.Use of Lemon, Egg and Honey.

Honey egg and lemon has anti-bacterial and healing properties.

  • Measure 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, I egg white (without yolk) and ½ tablespoon of dark colored honey.
  • Mix the ingredients until they are well mixed.
  • Spread the paste over your neck or only on affected areas.
  • Allow the paste rest for about 15 minutes, then rinse with luke warm water and pat your neck dry.
  • Repeat the procedure daily until relieve.

3. Use of coconut oil

Coconut oil have antimicrobial and anti-bacterial properties. Coconut oil help to hydrate you skin and does not obstruct the pores since its quickly absorbed. Coconut oil also help to reduce inflammation and supports the healing process.

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