ZocdocAnswersWhat causes neck rashes?

Question

What causes neck rashes?

I'm a woman and I'm 20, and I've had a pretty bad acne problem since I was in my early teens. Recently, I started developing a painful rash that's spread along the sides of my neck where it touches my shirt. Is this an allergic reaction? How should I treat the rash? I can't stop wearing shirts.

Answer

Rashes on the neck, and on the skin generally, can be caused by many things, including several common environmental exposures as well as medical conditions. Physicians who will be well qualified to discuss this issue with you include your primary care physician or your dermatologist. A very common cause of the type of rash you describe, limited to the parts of the neck at the shirt line, is an allergic or sensitivity reaction. The most common offending agent is a new detergent, soap, or other cleaning product. Your physician may ask whether or not you have recently changed cleaning products and may assist you with identifying the offending agent. Rarely, a similar reaction can be caused by sensitivity to a particular type of fabric; paying close attention to the fabric labels on your clothing can help to identify the cause. Other causes of rash on the neckline including photosensitivity reactions, caused usually by exposure to sunlight. These are more common in people who have recently started taking a new medication that predisposes to photosensitivity. Common medications that cause photosensitivity include antibiotics that are routinely taken for acne management. As always, the diagnosis and management of your specific condition will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Scheduling an appointment with your primary care physician or your dermatologist is recommended.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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