How To Prevent Acne On Your Neck

Neck acne is more than just a nuisance. This pesky skin condition can affect your self-confidence and interfere with your daily life. In some cases, it may leave permanent scars and cause complications. For example, acne keloidalis nucha, a more severe type of neck acne, can lead to pustules, papules, and irreversible hair loss, according to clinical evidence published in the journal Dermatology and Therapy. The disease is more common in men but can affect women, too.

You may also get pimples on your neck because of cystic acne, notes the Cleveland Clinic. This skin disorder occurs when bacteria enter the pores, causing an inflammatory reaction. Men and women with cystic acne typically develop painful bumps filled with pus. The cysts can reach the size of a dime and cause permanent scarring.

There's no surefire way to prevent acne on the neck or other body areas, but you can keep it under control. Small things, such as wearing breathable fabrics and changing your beauty routine, may help reduce acne breakouts and improve skin health. 

Tweak your diet and skincare routine

When it comes to acne prevention, what you eat and drink is just as important as what you put on your skin. Clinical research found a potential link between acne and the consumption of high-sugar or fatty foods, dairy products, and soft drinks, reports the University of Washington. For example, adults who drank one glass of milk daily were 12% more likely to experience acne breakouts. Similarly, sweetened beverages may increase the risk of a breakout by 18%. These foods and drinks can mess up your hormones, which may trigger or worsen acne.

Your best bet is to cut back on sugar, avoid processed foods, track what you eat, and make changes as needed. Nutritionist Nmami Agarwal also recommends drinking organic spearmint tea or green tea with lemon. "If consumed daily, one to two cups of organic spearmint tea can reduce acne breakouts by 25% to 50%, and this information is well documented by dermatologists. It can also keep those stubborn zits at bay," she told Vogue India. Green tea with lemon, on the other hand, boasts vitamin C, polyphenols, and other active compounds that support skin health.

As far as skincare goes, it's best to avoid skin and hair products containing oil, wax, silicone, or other ingredients that can clog your pores, says WebMD. Also, remember to wash and cleanse the skin on your neck, especially after working out. Choose a mild, oil-free cleaner and apply it gently to your skin. 

Limit stress and be mindful of what you wear

The University of Washington advises against wearing leggings and other tight-fitting clothes when dealing with body acne. The same goes for turtlenecks, sports tops, and other clothing items that wrap around the neck, preventing your skin from breathing. What's more, tight-fitting clothes can irritate the skin and promote bacterial growth, which in turn may trigger or worsen acne.

Ideally, opt for cotton or other breathable fabrics and avoid wool and nylon, says Vanguard Dermatology. When shopping for sports apparel, choose clothing items that use wick sweat away to keep you dry, suggests WebMD. Wash your clothes regularly to prevent bacteria buildup and protect your skin. Do the same with your bedsheets, neck warmers, and scarves.

Apart from that, try to reduce the stress in your life and get more sleep. Chronic stress increases cortisol and adrenaline levels, causing your skin glands to produce excess sebum — a risk factor for acne. At the same time, it promotes inflammation, which can further affect your skin and trigger breakouts, according to Florida Dermatology and Skin Cancer Centers

To prevent these issues, consider practicing meditation, yoga, and other relaxation techniques. Regular exercise can minimize the stress response, too, and your efforts in the gym could lead to healthier skin.