How Do You Get Rid of a Dark Neck?

Medically Reviewed on 1/5/2023

9 home remedies for dark neck patches

Dark Neck
Learn nine home remedies to reduce the appearance of dark patches on the skin.

The following nine home remedies can help reduce dark patches in the neck, face, and other parts of the body.

  1. Daily exfoliation and cleansing with AHAs and BHAs:
    • Regular exfoliation with alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) can help make the skin smoother, softer, and brighter. They help reduce pigmentation, fine lines, remove excess sebum, dead skin cells, and unclog pores, as well as gently remove existing blackheads and whiteheads and improve skin texture. AHAs and BHAs also cleanse the skin of dirt and makeup. Glycolic acid and lactic acid are the most popular AHAs, and salicylic acid the most popular BHA.
    • There are several over the counter products that contain either one of these acids or a combination of them in varying strengths, which are safe to use every day. Cleansing the neck and face twice a day with a cleanser that contains these acids can improve the skin. AHAs and BHAs are also good for those with dry skin.
    • There are also toners, serums, and masks, which contain either one or both salicylic and glycolic acid. Some people may be sensitive to AHAs and BHAs, hence they can use it once every few days or start with a low percentage of the acid (1-2%) and gradually increase the strength. In case of allergic reactions, it should be discontinued.
  2. Topical toners, serums, masks, lotions, and creams:
    • There are several over the counter topical products that contain ingredients to lighten the skin and improve the skin texture. The important ingredients to look out for are AHAs, BHAs, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) can help reduce pigmentation, fine lines, remove excess sebum, dirt, and dead skin cells.
      • Vitamin C helps reduce skin pigmentation and nourish the skin.
      • Vitamin E is an important ingredient to moisturize the skin.
    • Keeping the skin hydrated helps soften the skin and increases cell turnover, making the skin appear brighter. Following a daily skincare routine and practicing it at least once a day, preferably at night can improve skin health significantly. Certain acids and Vitamin C can cause increased sun sensitivity, hence should be applied at night.
    • A daily skin routine would involve cleansing, applying a toner, followed by a lotion or cream. Lotions and creams vary in their consistency. Lotions are lighter, whereas creams are thicker. Water-based moisturizers may be used for those with very oily skin. A face and neck mask may be used two to three times a week.
  3. Topical retinoids:
    • Retinoids can effectively reduce pigmentation, acne, and wrinkles; however, they should be used with caution. People typically experience visible peeling, dryness, burning, redness, and increased sensitivity to the sun (hence, it should be applied only at night) till the skin gets accustomed to retinoids, which may take 4-6 weeks. One may start with applying low strength counter retinoids, two to three times a week, and gradually increase the strength and frequency of usage.
    • Higher strengths of retinoids require a doctor’s prescription. Isotretinoin (oral retinoids) may be prescribed to those with severe acne. Treating acne is essential to lighten pigmentation associated with acne, which is a common problem. Retinoids are generally avoided during pregnancy due to the potential risk of causing birth defects.
  4. Homemade masks:
    • Masks may be prepared at home using natural ingredients. They may be applied all over the face and neck two to three times a week. Some masks that can help reduce pigmentation include:
      • Yogurt, turmeric, lemon, and gram flour mask: Yogurt is a milk product that is rich in nutrients. The lactic acid in yogurt is a naturally occurring skin-lightening agent. Lemon contains Vitamin C, which can reduce pigmentation. Turmeric also contains skin-lightening abilities. Gram flour helps thicken the mask, giving it a paste-like consistency. Gram flour also acts as a natural exfoliating scrub, which is gentle on the skin and improves skin texture, and reduces hyperpigmentation. The mask may be applied all over the face, neck, and other problem areas, left on for 30 minutes, and then washed off.
      • Papaya, banana, lemon, honey, and gram flour mask: These ingredients contain vitamins and minerals that can naturally lighten and nourish the skin. They may be mashed into a paste, applied all over the face, and washed off after 20 minutes.
  5. Apple cider vinegar:
    • Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which can lighten pigmentation. Apple cider vinegar should be diluted with water in equal parts and applied to the skin. It should be washed off after 2-3 minutes. This may be repeated every day, once or twice a day.
  6. Aloe vera:
    • Aloe vera contains aloin, a natural depigmenting agent. Pure aloe vera gel can be applied to hyperpigmented areas at night and washed off in the morning.
  7. Milk:
    • Milk, buttermilk, and even sour milk can all help lighten skin because they contain lactic acid. A cotton ball may be soaked in plain milk and applied all over the affected areas and washed off after 20 to 30 minutes. This may be repeated every day, once or twice a day. Milk can also effectively hydrate the skin.
  8. Diet, nutrition, and hydration:
    • A healthy, balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, and adequate hydration (8-10 glasses of fluids per day) are important for skin health because they can improve skin cell turnover, improving skin tone and texture. Fresh fruits and vegetables have several ingredients that can lighten skin naturally. One may also consider taking nutritional supplements, especially Vitamin C, Vitamin B, Vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids because they help in maintaining good health.
  9. Sun protection:
    • Sun damage causes tanning of the skin, triggers other pigmentation problems, burns the skin, and reduces skin elasticity, leading to premature aging. Excessive sun exposure is also a risk of skin cancer. Preventing hyperpigmentation due to sun exposure would allow the skin to lighten on its own because the cells regenerate and other skin treatments effectively lighten the skin as well. Without protection from sun damage, medical and natural treatments to lighten the skin would be futile.
    • One of the best ways to protect the skin from sun damage is by using sunscreen. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends everyone use sunscreen that provides broad-spectrum protection (protects against ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays), has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher, and is water-resistant throughout the year, including the winters and cloudy days. Sunscreen should be reapplied every 3-4 hours to the face and neck.
    • Additional protection by wearing a wide-brimmed hat or carrying an umbrella can also help. It is also recommended to avoid being out in the sun when the sun’s rays are strongest between 10-11 a.m. and 3-4 p.m.

What causes a dark neck?

The skin on the neck can darken due to hormonal disorders, sun exposure, and drug-induced or other skin-related conditions. Darkening of the neck may be associated with changes in the texture of the skin when compared to the surrounding skin conditions like itching and dark patches in other parts of the body.

Darkening of the neck can cause cosmetic concerns. It is not typically a medical emergency but requires a medical diagnosis from a doctor to rule out other underlying causative conditions. For example, dark lines on the skin on the back of the neck (acanthosis nigricans) may be a sign of diabetes or insulin resistance in the body.

Dark neck is often difficult to treat, usually requiring a combination of medical treatment and home remedies. Home remedies alone may not be enough to see satisfactory results. If one is already undergoing medical treatment, they may consult with the doctor if home remedies may be followed to avoid reactions.

What is the medical treatment for a dark neck?

There are several medical treatment options available that can result in significant improvement for a dark neck. Depending on the cause of hyperpigmentation and the extent, the doctor would be able to suggest a treatment plan.

Medical treatment may include:

Medical treatment of underlying medical conditions would also be required.


Eczema Browse our medical image collection of allergic skin disorders such as psoriasis and dermatitis and more caused by allergies See Images

What are other common skin disorders and rashes?

Any abnormal change in the skin color or texture is called a rash. Rashes are generally areas of irritated or swollen skin. Many rashes are red, itchy, and painful. Some people get rashes due to allergies, some due to infection, whereas some get them due to their specific genetic makeup.

Here are the 24 most common skin rashes that you need to know:

  1. Herpes zoster (Shingles): This is a viral infection in which a red painful rash develops due to the reactivation of the same virus (varicella-zoster) that causes chickenpox.
  2. Herpes simplex: This is a viral infection that causes painful sores around the mouth or genitals.
  3. Hives or urticaria: These appear all over the body. They appear like welts. They may be triggered by stress, medicines, insect bites, or certain food.
  4. Chickenpox: A contagious viral infection that mostly affects children features a super-itchy red skin rash with blisters.
  5. Tinea corporis: Commonly known as ringworm, it is a superficial fungal infection that can cause an itchy rash anywhere in the body.
  6. Molluscum contagiosum: This is a viral infection characterized by round, firm, painless bumps.
  7. Acne: This is a common rash seen in teenagers and may be distressing. Sometimes, it progresses into adulthood. The skin pores clog with oil and dirt and get inflamed causing blackheads or comedones.
  8. Erythema infectiosum or Fifth disease: This is a viral infection that commonly occurs during childhood. Signs and symptoms include a red rash on the cheeks that resemble a slapped cheek, fever, sore throat, stomach upset, and headache.
  9. Pityriasis rosacea: This is a scaly reddish-pink rash that appears mostly on the chest, abdomen, and back and is most common in people between 10 and 35 years of age.
  10. Tinea capitis: This is a superficial fungal infection of the scalp associated with itching.
  11. Intertrigo: This is a rash that appears in the folds of skin such as in the groin, folds of the neck, the axilla, and behind the ears.
  12. Cellulitis: This is a bacterial infection in the deeper/lower layers of the skin in which there is an extensive red, shiny rash with painful swelling that most commonly appears over the legs.
  13. Erysipelas: This is a bacterial infection that is similar to cellulitis but which affects the upper layer of the skin.
  14. Impetigo: This is a highly contagious disease in which sores are found around the nose and mouth.
  15. Folliculitis: This is inflammation of the hair follicles that results in acne-like rash or sores around the hair follicles.
  16. Eczema/dermatitis: This is a group of skin conditions caused by a reaction to a particular protein in food, environment, or a metal-like nickel. Depending upon the type and cause of eczema, the rash may be dry or moist. Contact dermatitis happens when you come in contact with something that is most likely to give you a rash. Atopic dermatitis is a rash that most commonly occurs in childhood and accompanies hay fever and asthma in most people.
  17. Diaper rash: A diaper rash is a term given for rash due to diapers seen in babies. It causes an allergic reaction to the fragrance or material of diapers or bacterial or fungal infection. It happens if the diapers are left on for a long time causing a moist environment around the groin of the baby.
  18. Measles: This is a highly contagious viral disease that begins in the respiratory system and gives rise to small, red, flat spots spreading from the face down to the neck, trunks, arms, and legs.
  19. Drug allergy: This is a reaction to any medicine that can appear in the form of a rash. It may look like a red patch, or in severe cases, it may blister and form red sores.
  20. Scabies: This is an itchy and highly contagious skin disease caused by a mite that burrows most commonly in the space between the two fingers.
  21. Insect bite reaction: The bite or sting of insects such as mosquitoes or bees evoke your immune system which makes the stung area itchy and painful. Alternatively, multiple tiny bumps may appear on the part of the body where there is an insect bite. 
  22. Scarlet fever: This is a type of fever that is accompanied by a sore throat and bright red rash all over the body.
  23. Psoriasis: This is a chronic skin condition characterized by raised, red, scaly patches most commonly over the elbows, knee joints, and finger joints.
  24. Acne rosacea: This is a chronic skin condition in which a red rash appears most commonly on your cheeks and around your nose.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Medically Reviewed on 1/5/2023
NHS. Skin Lightening.

Zhu W, Gao J. The Use of Botanical Extracts as Topical Skin-Lightening Agents for the Improvement of Skin Pigmentation Disorders. J Investig Dermatol Symp Proc. 2008;13(1):20-24.

American Academy of Dermatology. Sunscreen FAQS.

14 Rashes You Need to Know: Common Dermatologic Diagnoses. Available at: