Blackheads on the Neck

Comedones, one of the main symptoms associated with acne, form when dirt, debris and oil clog hair follicles, resulting in a buildup of sebum and oil within the follicle. Comedones can be either open or closed. When skin closes the surface of the comedone, the blemish is called a whitehead or pimple. Blackheads -- open comedones -- may appear on your neck.

A woman is cleansing her skin. (Image: RyanKing999/iStock/Getty Images)

Appearance

Blackheads look like small, black dots in the follicle pores of the skin. If you look closely, you can see the dark plug, or blockage, within the pore that lends blackheads their black color. Blackheads commonly appear on the face, neck, chest and shoulders.

Causes

Blackheads on the neck are a symptom of acne. Acne has three major causes including overproduction of skin oil, irregular shedding of dead skin cells and bacteria. Sebaceous glands, located within each hair follicle, produce oil to lubricate the skin. Blemishes form when dead skin cells trap the oil within follicles, resulting in blackheads, whiteheads, cysts and nodules. Bacteria, some medications and genetics may cause increased oil production in the skin.

Risks

Some people are more prone to developing acne and blackheads on their neck than others are. Risk factors include age, menstruation, pregnancy, the use of certain medications, exposure to oily cosmetics, genetic predisposition and friction. Teenagers are more likely to develop acne than adults. In addition, people who wear helmets, tight collars or frequently carry packs with shoulder straps may develop acne on the neck because of the friction these items create against the skin.

Treatment

Avoid popping, squeezing and picking at blackheads, as this can cause infection or push the blockage deeper in the skin if not done properly. To treat or clear up blackheads, adopt a good skin-care routine that includes daily cleansing with oil-free products. Talk to your doctor about prescription treatments such as retinoid cream. You may also wish to try skin peels, masks or blackhead strips that claim to pull blackheads out of the skin without harming the skin.

Prevention

To prevent blackheads on your neck, maintain a consistent skin-care routine. Avoid placing heavy makeup, moisturizers and lotions on your neck. Wear clothing with a loose neckline and avoid wearing jewelry that rubs against the skin. Shower immediately after strenuous or sweaty activities to remove dirt from your pores.

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