The skin covering the neck has a greater sensitivity than that of some other areas of your body. Known as the largest organ in your body, your skin should be nourished and protected from damage. When a discoloration, known as hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation occurs in the neck, the results can be cosmetically frustrating.
Hyperpigmentation refers to the discoloration of the skin that occurs due to excess production of melanin. Melanin is responsible for providing your skin with its natural color. When melanin production increases in certain areas of the neck, the result is dark skin tone that contrasts sharply with your normal skin. According to the New Zealand Dermatological Society, the texture of the skin of the neck is also prone to change as the discoloration is fixed.
Hypopigmentation refers to a decrease in melanin production, providing exactly the opposite of hyperpigmentation. In short, what remains are clearer spots on the neck, which are also a sharp contrast to your natural skin tone. Hypopigmentation is more prominent in people with darker skin, such as African Americans, Native Americans, and Latino descent. According to Mayo Clinic, hypopigmentation, also known as depigmentation, occurs in localized areas, such as the back of your neck and face.
The causes of stain formation can be attributed to genetic factors, sun damage and aging in general. Photoaging is a condition that occurs when years of exposure to damaging UVB damage the deeper layers of the skin, according to the New Zealand Dermatological Society. This forms spots known as age spots or liver spots that form on your neck over the course of your life. The clearest pigmentation can be a condition known as vitiligo. According to Mayo Clinic, vitiligo has no known cause, although scientists believe that genetics can play an important role in depigmentation.
Dark spots on the neck can be treated effectively by the use of fade creams containing hydroquinine. These creams break the excess melanin, restoring the natural skin tone. Procedures such as chemical peels and laser skin rejuvenation, which is performed in a licensed dermatologist's office, have also shown results in the correction of darker pigmentation problems in the back of the neck, according to the New Zealand Dermatological Society Lighter skin spots are best treated with corticosteroid creams at the beginning of the disease.Other treatments include protecting the skin with sunscreen and using correctors to even out the skin every day.
Protection is the key to helping your skin heal and preventing further discoloration. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the application of sunscreen throughout the year is recommended to prevent sun rays from damaging the deeper layers of the skin. Protective clothing such as high-necked shirts, scarves and hats shade your neck, blocking strong winds and also UVB rays. Another preventive measure that helps determine changes in the skin is the annual examination of your neck. Look for new spots of discoloration, as well as tumors and patches of irregular shape.