Itchy Rash on the Neck

General Causes of Neck Itch

Itchy conditions that may affect the neck:

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

Related Articles:

  • Itchy Face
  • Itchy Scalp
  • Itchy Arms and Hands
  • Causes of Itchy Skin
  • Itch (Pruritus) – Diagnosis and Treatment

References:

  1. Tinea barbae and tinea capitis pictures and treatment  (aafp.org)
About Jan Modric (249 Articles)
Health writer