General Causes of Neck Itch
Itchy conditions that may affect the neck:
- Staphylococcal folliculitis
- Insect bite
- Allergies to food or medications, cholinergic urticaria
- Herpes zoster (shingles)
- Liver disease with jaundice, kidney disease with uremia and other causes of itchy skin
Allergies and Neck Itch
Allergy to Jewelry and Clothes
Jewelry containing nickel can trigger an allergic reaction, typically appearing as a red, itchy rash at the points of contact with the jewelry.
Substances in first time worn unwashed shirts or shawls may cause a neck itch with or without rash.
Allergy to Hair Dyes and Cosmetics
First time allergic reaction to hair dye appears several hours after hair coloring, but subsequent exposures may trigger a reaction in few minutes. Skin on the scalp, neck, front, and eyelids may become red, itchy, and severely swollen. Symptoms may last for several hours and usually disappear without consequences.
Allergy to perfumes, makeup, aftershave, or shampoos usually appears as red skin with bumpy or patchy hives.
Allergy to Food and Medications
Allergies to food or medications typically appear as a swollen face, itchy lips, and itchy hives on the neck and upper trunk, few minutes or several hours after ingestion. In severe allergy, difficulty breathing, and faintness may accompany the rash.
Itch of The Bearded Area in Men
The following conditions primarily affect the bearded area in men:
- Folliculitis barbae (<< click for a picture) is staphylococcal infection of the hair follicles on the bearded area of men. Red bumps with white heads resemble acne vulgaris.
- Pseudofolliculitis, caused by an ingrown hair, is non-infectious inflammation of the hair follicles in men with curly hair. Red bumps without white heads appear several hours to few days after shaving.
- Tinea barbae (barber’s itch) is fungal infection of bearded area in men who work with animals (1). It appears as rounded reddish patches that may reach several centimeters in size. Treatment is with anti-fungal drugs by mouth (1).
Conditions Affecting the Scalp and Neck
The following conditions primarily affect the scalp but may extend to the back of the neck:
- Folliculitis keloidalis is a scar-like skin thickening of the hair border on the back of the neck
- Tinea capitis is fungal infection of the scalp and neck, mainly affecting school-aged children. It appears as scaly, reddish patch on the scalp. Treatment is with anti-fungal drugs by mouth (1).
- Allergy to head lice saliva appears as itchy red bumps on the neck and shoulders
- Allergic reaction to hair dye
- Itchy Face
- Itchy Scalp
- Itchy Arms and Hands
- Causes of Itchy Skin
- Itch (Pruritus) – Diagnosis and Treatment
Article reviewed by Dr. Greg. Last updated on August 3, 2013