Body order can be extremely offensive to those around us, especially when it is reoccuring and remains untreated. Learn some of the more common causes for odorous neck skin, from the typical to the more complex, and their suggested treatments.
A typical cause for neck skin odor is excessive sweat mixed with bacteria. This type of body odor is easily remedied by a warm soapy bath or shower, and the application of fragrance to the affected areas. When daily showering is not practiced, our bodies become susceptible to the over-development of bacteria. Moist and hairy areas of the body, such as:
- are breeding grounds for bacteria
This bacteria settles into the skin folds until properly treated. Applying antiperspirant instead of deodorant before exercise minimizes underarm and pubic area perspiration. Applying essential body oils to a clean neck minimizes neck odor. Use powder to deter moisture.
- A typical cause for neck skin odor is excessive sweat mixed with bacteria.
- Moist and hairy areas of the body, such as: * neck
* are breeding grounds for bacteria This bacteria settles into the skin folds until properly treated.
Causes of Neck Skin Odor
Ammonia, a more unusual body odor, can be attributed to skin infection 1. According to Dr. Mirkin, Helicobacter, which causes a strong stench of ammonia, is the same bacteria related to stomach ulcers. A blood test is needed to determine if such is the case. Dr. Mirkin states that the human body "strips ammonia from protein," thus causing the smell of ammonia to the skin. The smell of fish emitting from the skin is usually due to the over-consumption of choline from fish products, or liver congestion. The same fungi that causes "jock itch" is also a cause for neck skin odor, as the warm, moist skin folds of the neck are appealing to fungi, according to WebMD 1.
Sebaceous Cysts (keratin bumps)
A more serious cause of odorous skin are sebaceous cysts, also known as epidermis cysts. Sebaceous cysts are small nodules or bumps formed beneath the epidermis, or skin. These lumps are filled with a white, "cheesy-like" protein called "keratin," which produces a foul odor when secreted. The smell becomes even more offensive when infection has settled in the hair follicle, which is the precise formation site of the cyst. These cysts are usually found on the face and neck, but are especially common to the genitalia and other "hairy" sites on the body, as per Wrong Diagnosis. Sebaceous cysts are benign, non-contagious, and are not painful, though often misdiagnosed as malignant tumors. Typically, a cyst may be treated with a warm compress. The affected area should remain both clean and dry, as excessive moisture perpetuates the problem. In complex cases where the cyst has become augmented, and the follicle infected, as evidenced by tenderness and redness, minor (in-office) surgery is required. A steroidal injection may also be recommended.
- A more serious cause of odorous skin are sebaceous cysts, also known as epidermis cysts.
- These cysts are usually found on the face and neck, but are especially common to the genitalia and other "hairy" sites on the body, as per Wrong Diagnosis.
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- WebMD: Skin/Neck Infection
- Gabe Mirkin, M.D.
- Zito PM, Scharf R. Cyst, epidermoid (sebaceous cyst). StatPearls. Updated May 15, 2018.
- Hoang VT, Trinh CT, Nguyen CH, Chansomphou V, Chansomphou V, Tran TTT. Overview of epidermoid cyst. European Journal of Radiology Open. doi:10.1016/j.ejro.2019.08.003
- Sempowski IP. Sebaceous cysts. Ten tips for easier excision. The College of Family Physicians of Canada. 2006;52(3):315-317. PMID: 16572575
- Johns Hopkins Medicine. Sebaceous cysts. 2019.
- Garcia-Zuazaga J, Ke MS, Willen M. Epidermoid cyst mimicry: report of seven cases and review of the literature. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. 2009;2(10):28-33. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2016.07.013
- Weir CB, St.Hilaire NJ. Epidermal inclusion cyst. StatPearls. Updated August 11, 2020.
- Song SW, Burm JS, Yang WY, Kang SY. Minimally Invasive Excision of Epidermal Cysts through a Small Hole Made by a CO2 Laser. Arch Plast Surg. 2014;41(1):85-8. doi:10.5999/aps.2014.41.1.85
- Goldstein BG, Goldstein AO. Overview of Benign Lesions of the Skin. In: UpToDate, Dellavalle RP (Ed), UpToDate, Waltham, MA. doi:10.3889/oamjms.2018.027
- Higgins JC, Maher MH, Douglas MS. Diagnosing Common Benign Skin Tumors. Am Fam Physician. 2015 Oct 1;92(7):601-07. PMID: 26447443
Kay Jenkins has been writing faith-related articles since 1996. Her articles have appeared in the "Twin Visions" weekly newspaper and Candler Women's "Celebrating Our Stories." She has written for several syndicated e-zines and books on demand. Jenkins holds dual master's degrees in divinity and theology from Emory University. She also has a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Rutgers University.