Much like the skin of the back, the skin of the back of the neck is thicker than facial skin and can require the one-two punch of generous amounts of 2.5% benzoyl peroxide AND 10% glycolic acid to get acne under total control. Follow this Regimen—precisely—using any of the recommended over-the-counter products. You can expect results in weeks and completely clear skin in 3-4 months (or faster for many people).
Acne on the back of the neck is more similar to body acne than it is to facial acne and it tends to present unique challenges. Neck acne lesions can be painful and can have an abrupt onset and long lifespan.
This is not to be confused with the skin of the front of the neck, which is extremely sensitive and should be treated in the same way as facial skin.
Much like the body, the skin on the back of the neck is much thicker than the face and can produce lots of oil. Because of this, the skin on the back of the neck can often produce more severe lesions such as cysts and nodules, or large whiteheads. Neck acne tends to be more prevalent in boys and men, but girls and women can experience it as well.
Neck acne is caused by the same mechanisms that cause facial and body acne. Pores become clogged due to a build-up of cells which stick together and cause a plug. Then bacteria and skin oil, which would normally drain to the surface, get caught inside, causing redness and pus to develop.
Irritation can aggravate neck acne. Collared shirts that rub on the skin of the neck can make acne worse. This often creates a vicious cycle. Neck acne develops, and the sufferer will wear collared shirts to cover it. The collared shirts then cause irritation and aggravate acne, and so on.
Treatment must continue until your body outgrows the disease, which the majority of people do for the most degree after adolescence.16-17 Aside from Accutane, there is no other oral or topical treatment for acne which produces long lasting remission of acne symptoms.18 However, ongoing treatment can get the skin completely clear and keep it that way for years if need be.
The most effective treatment for most people aside from Accutane is benzoyl peroxide, which has been a mainstay of acne treatment since the 1930s, and for good reason. It is the only medication which can penetrate into the skin and deliver oxygen.19 Acne bacteria cannot live in the presence of oxygen, and benzoyl peroxide kills 99.9% of them almost instantly.20 However, for benzoyl peroxide to completely clear acne, it must be applied as outlined in The Regimenーgenerously, and in 2.5% strength. For many people, applying in this fashion allows them to suppress acne symptoms until their bout of acne naturally subsides.
Learn The Neck Regimen »
For severe, widespread, and potentially scarring acne, Accutane is an option. Isotretinoin is a systemic oral treatment which is taken for 15-20 weeks and produces long-term remission of acne symptoms in 2/3 of people, but comes with a large range of side effects including causing severe birth defects, and must be administered in close partnership with your physician.21-22
Learn about Accutane »
† Women of Asian heritage and men and women of African heritage can respond to some antibiotics differently – if you fit into any of these categories, check with your physician if you decide to take antibiotics for your acne.
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I really just want to speak to those of you who have suffered like me from acne. There is nothing I have wanted more than clear skin the past 5 years, and I've never gotten it. I wouldn't go out or just keep my face hidden or cover my acne with my hands always. I'm outgoing, but a hermit when I'm breaking out terribly, even though I almost always was. I have done it ALL ladies and gents! Accutane for a year…yes longer than usual, that worked but it came back 6 months later almost as bad. I went to UPenn and they told me my options were 1. Accutane again (huge hassle with government protectio...