ZocdocAnswersWhy do I have scratch marks on my neck?

Question

Why do I have scratch marks on my neck?

Could I be scratching myself when I sleep? I don't know what else to think. I have around ten little scratch marks on my neck and the skin hurts and I don't know what is going on. Do people scratch themselves in their sleep a lot?

Answer

I am not sure exactly what could be going on. I would recommend that you see your primary care doctor, because it sounds like the cause of this is somewhat mysterious, and it would be good to have someone examine your skin closely to help figure it out. Some potential explanations would include, as you suggest, scratching yourself vigorously while you sleep, enough to cause scratches. This can occur, but almost always in the setting of a skin problem that provokes severe itching. Therefore, if your skin otherwise looks and feels fine it would be hard to blame this just on scratching. Although I hate to mention it, I think it is important to consider the possibility that these are bite marks as well. Bed bug infestations, for example, are no the rise around the country, and they often appear as raised reddened lines of skin that 'appear' in the morning and may itch or hurt. Alternatively, it is possible that these areas represent contact dermatitis, or a sensitivity reaction of the skin to some chemical or other environmental exposure that your are coming into contact with. Again, start by seeing your primary care doctor who should be able to help narrow down the possibilities.

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