Dark Neck Spots: Diabetes, Acanthosis Nigricans?

Dark neck or dark spots on neck

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Patches on the skin around your neck that seem darker than the surrounding area shouldn’t be a cause for alarm but certainly a cosmetic problem. However, the change in color may be dreadful and possibly cause you to become more self-conscious.

Normally, these spots look like tiny marks which may or may not be itchy. Most commonly the dark spots on the neck are referred to as solar lentigines, liver or sunspots.

Dark neck or dark spots on neck

What causes it

While spots on the neck aren’t associated with any serious health problems, it’s always important to get examined by a doctor in order to get a proper diagnosis and rule out the possibility of any serious underlying health issues.

Causes of dark spots on the neck

One of the primary causes of liver spots on the neck is excessive exposure to UV radiation whether from the sun lamps, tanning beds or the sun-which causes skin damage resulting into dark spots.

What causes dark spots on the neck? While a discoloration or a black neck isn’t a cause for concern: however, depending on the severity of the problem, it’s vital to see a dermatologist for an examination to determine the exact cause.

Diabetes and Acanthosis Nigricans

In some cases, dark skin or spots on the neck are associated with other underlying health conditions such as diabetes, obesity or abnormalities in hormonal changes.

In this case, the darkening skin which is usually described as; feeling velvety due to the dry and rough texture and appears brownish-grey or black with thickened skin, is referred to as Acanthosis Nigricans.


Melasma is a common side effect of pregnancy. The problem manifests itself as dark sports in areas such as the neck, forehead, chest and breast areas. In some cases, the spots can also appear on the hands.


Acne is a very common condition and without any medical intervention, dark marks, as well as permanent scarring, can appear on the skin in the affected area.


In most cases, the majority of people between the ages of 40-50 develop age spots. They are usually darker than the surrounding region of the skin with varying sizes.

They usually occur on the hands, face, shoulders, arms or even neck and are a result of overexposure to UV radiation over a long period of time.


Razor bumps can cause blemishes which may appear as dark bumps on the skin. However, these affect men only.

Overexposure to UV rays

Prolonged exposure to Ultraviolet rays can cause black dots on the skin, in areas such as the neck, face, hands, and back.

The black spots are a result of the body’s response to the increased amount of UV exposure, therefore produces more melanin.

Skin pigmentation

Hyperpigmentation can cause dark pigmentation as a result of drugs such as phenytoin, anti-malarial drugs, and NSAIDs among other drugs.

Remedies and treatment for dark neck

Natural remedies

Dark spots on the neck can easily be lightened at home using   homemade remedies  which act as natural bleaching agents, such as;

  • Lemon juice
  • A mixture of lemon and tomato juice
  • A mixture of onion juice and honey
  • A mixture of milk, honey, and cream
  • Gram flour
  • Tomato juice
  • Papaya
  • Potato juice

Medical treatments

When it comes to brightening dark spots, there are many options to choose from. However, it’s important to consult a specialized doctor or dermatologist to get the best treatment recommendation.

Laser treatment

In some cases, laser treatment can be used to remove unwanted black spots and marks on the skin.

Topical ointments:

Over the counter or prescribed creams such as Tretinoin Cream for Removing Black Spots can be used to get rid of dark spots or at least reduce them.

Chemical peels

The chemical peel gets rid of the affected skin and allows the regeneration of new dark spot free skin.  The chemical peels range from mild such as alpha hydroxy acids (glycolic and lactic acid) to moderate acids such as trichloroacetic acid to the strongest kind which is the use of a phenol solutions notes American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Dermabrasion and microdermabrasion

This process acts as an exfoliating procedure that stimulates the regeneration of new skin, gets rid of wrinkles and brightens the skin.

Our references and sources

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