Though an oft-neglected area of one's skincare routine, our necks see the same unfortunate issues our faces do—acne included. If you suffer from breakouts on your neck, which look and feel just as bad as the facial kind, we have the scoop for getting them to stop.
The first thing to know about acne of the neck variety is that it's caused by the same things that cause facial acne. "Anyone who gets acne on their face can get it on their neck," explains Dr. Heidi Waldorf, director of laser and cosmetic dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. "In the sebaceous gland, cells get stickier and don’t turn over correctly, and oil glands make oil that is thicker and bacteria proliferate." That said, Waldorf also noted that dermatologists tend to see neck acne a lot in men’s beard areas "and in women with hirsutism (male pattern hair) who overpluck that area and irritate the follicles. Those women create the acne," she says.
These culprits can be exacerbated by people neglecting to tend to their necks. "People forget to treat the neck like the face," says Waldorf, "and makeup, sunscreen, moisturizer, and sweat mix and move about—even if it is all noncomedogenic. So after exercising and before bed, include the neck area in your cleanup," she says. "Even a pre-moistened makeup remover towelette will do the job. And for the back of the neck, make sure that hair products—leave-in conditioner or gels or pomades are removed from the skin of the neck."
Waldorf also says to extend acne therapy to that area. "Treat neck acne the same way as acne on the face," she says. "Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are the most common ingredients found in over-the-counter cleansers and medications. Just remember that benzoyl peroxide can bleach fabric, so let it dry before clothing touches it. And if it is not improving, see your dermatologist," she says. "If it is related to hair in the area, consider laser hair removal in a dermatologist's office so that any inflammation that comes up from ingrown hairs can be treated at the same time."
Here are the all-natural makeup remover wipes we love (that also happen to feature—and help—adorable polar bears), along with other helpful products for clearing sweat and oil from pores.