While we don’t think about it very often, the neck is very commonly affected by eczema. In fact, the head and neck are affected in about 50% of adults and 79% of children with atopic dermatitis, or eczema as it’s more commonly called. There’s even a specific name for eczema that affects the face and neck: Head and Neck Dermatitis.
The prevalence of eczema on the neck makes sense, as skinfolds like the back of the neck, the crook of the arms, or diaper areas are particularly vulnerable to eczema. But what causes eczema on the neck? And what can you do about it?
Causes of Eczema on Back of Neck
In many instances, Head and Neck Dermatitis (or HNAD) is because of a reaction to an allergen or irritant. The neck can be severely affected if it comes into contact with an allergen like certain metals in costume jewelry necklaces, body lotions that are applied to the neck, or even hand lotions or other products that are applied with the hands and then the hands touch the neck.
HNAD is also commonly caused by irritation from triggering substances and products like wool scarves, tight clothing, tags, and hair products that run down the neck in the shower or throughout the day. This type of eczema can also be caused by a general environmental hypersensitivity (like extreme temperature or dry weather) rather than a reaction to a specific product or irritant.
How to Treat Eczema on the Neck
There is no permanent cure for any kind of eczema, including HNAD. But there are a number of successful interventions that can soothe symptoms and help prevent flare-ups. The most effective treatments for eczema on the neck are skin care, itch control, and trigger management:
The right skin care can help repair your skin’s natural barrier to fight back irritants, soothe current symptoms, and prevent future eczema flare-ups. There are two main components of proper eczema skin care: cleansing and moisturizing. Cleanse skin at least once a day using a gentle, non-soap cleanser and warm (not hot) water. Follow up every cleanse with a baby eczema cream like Happy Cappy Moisturizing Cream. Made with natural ingredients, this cream will lock in moisture and help protect the skin from irritants.
The back of the neck is a very accessible area that is easy to scratch. But scratching itchy eczema will only make it worse and can even cause infection and scarring. Use a moisturizing eczema cream to control itching and prevent scratching.
HNAD is often caused or worsened by triggers, or environmental factors that can irritate the skin. Some triggers include extreme temperature of both the air and water, scratchy materials and fabrics like wool and polyester, restrictive clothing, and food allergies. The most common triggers for HNAD, however, are harsh skin and hair products. The vast majority of soaps and shampoos on the market are too basic (pH is too high) and irritating for the sensitive skin on the back of the neck.
Alternatively, Happy Cappy Daily Shampoo and Body Wash is a shampoo for eczema that’s hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and gentle enough for daily use on sensitive skin. Use it daily to soothe eczema-prone skin on the neck.