An itchy neck can result from a number of things, some of which you can cure quickly on your own and others that require medical attention. However, if you constantly scratch the area it will not only get worse but could erupt in sores, scratches, thickening of the skin or other unattractive and more serious problems. Ultimately, the most important step is to find out what’s behind the itch.
Your neck can itch as a result of an allergic reaction to perfume, soaps, food, medication, cosmetics or jewelry, as well as insect bites, lice, sunburn, sunspots and even herpes zoster. In addition, skin conditions such as acne, eczema, tinea or impetigo can be the root of the problem. Seborrheic keratosis and neurodermatitis, both of which result in thick patches of irritated skin, can also be the cause, as can folliculitis, or inflamed hair follicles.
Narrow down the cause of your itchy neck by noting any other symptoms that accompany the itchiness. Allergic reactions often come with rashes, while sunspots can bring lumps and sunburn leaves skin red and sometimes blistered or peeling. Insects and lice bites often cause bumps and skin conditions can cause neck skin to swell and turn red. If your neck itchiness is accompanied by a headache, fever or tingling and chills, herpes zoster could be the cause.
The treatment for itchy neck depends on the cause. Some of the causes, like sunburn, will heal on their own over time and don’t require any further treatment. You can buy topical creams that reduce the itching at pharmacies and drug stores. They can help stop itching and swelling but won’t cure the root cause if it’s a skin infection, condition or other more serous issue. A visit to the doctor will determine any underlying issues.
Use the process of elimination if you think your neck itchiness is caused by an allergic reaction. If the itchiness cropped up suddenly after using a new cosmetic, hair dye, skin lotion, shampoo, soap, detergent or perfume, stop using that particular product. If you theorize the itchiness is from a certain food, eliminate the different foods from your diet, one at a time, to see if your neck stops itching. Do the same with over-the-counter medications but only eliminate prescription medications after consulting with your doctor.
Some medical conditions can crop up or get worse when people are traveling away from home, according to Wrong Diagnosis. Itchy neck conditions that fall into this category are folliculitis and the skin infections of tinea and impetigo. Tinea is caused by a fungus and impetigo by bacteria. Wrong Diagnosis says conditions that crop up while traveling are not necessarily linked to the travel destination but rather the traveler’s behavior.