"About one month ago, I found some pimples on the back of my neck, I talked it with my mother but she didn't know why it appeared. Does anyone have the same experience and know how to treat it?"

Pimples on the back of neck hairline might be caused by anything from using a new shampoo to a skin condition. Here’s what you need to know about pimples, back of neck irritations and similar problems.

Pimples on Back of Neck: Neck Acne

Pimples on your back of neck or otherwise are usually considered body acne. Neck acne can appear quite suddenly and take a very long time to go away, even with proper cleansing and treatment. That might be because the skin at the back of the neck is tougher than that at the front, which allows acne to find a place to “hide.”

Possible Causes

  • Pimples on the back of neck hairline are often caused by the oils from your hair, which can clog the pores. This is especially true if you have longer hair, or if you experience a great deal of oil produced from the pores on your head.

  • If you have a habit of rubbing the back of your neck, this can also lead to pimples to appear. This kind of neck acne can be brought on by bacteria and dirt on your hands or underneath your fingernails, which is then transmitted to your pores when you rub the area.

  • Oil builds up on things you touch, like your pillowcases. So if you don't change and wash them regularly, you may find pimples on back of the neck one morning after getting up.

  • Some lotions, shampoos, conditioners and hair products can cause problems for your skin by clogging the pores. They might also cause irritation that can then lead to painful pimples.


Remember that the skin on the back of your neck is tough, much tougher than that at the front. The skin at the front of your neck should always be treated like facial skin, as it is more sensitive. The skin on the back of your neck, however, should be treated like the skin everywhere else on your body.

You can look to over-the-counter remedies, such as creams and pads containing salicylic acid. Benzoyl peroxide might also help. Be sure to watch for dry skin when using these products; if you do experience severe drying of the skin, follow the treatments up with an oil-free moisturizer made specifically for acne-prone skin.

The best treatment for pimples on back of neck is prevention. Work to keep the skin clear by following these simple guidelines:

  • Always wash your hair regularly. Use a shampoo that won’t clog your pores.

  • Wash your pillowcase at least once a week with detergents that are very gentle and mild, such as those with no dyes or fragrances.

  • Never touch your neck. If you must scratch an itch, use a tissue to provide a barrier between your fingers and the skin of your neck.

Pimples on Back of Neck: Ingrown Hair

Sometimes it’s not acne that causes the pimples. Ingrown hair is a quite common reason for things that look like pimples on the back of your neck. This happens when a hair curls around itself and grows in the wrong direction, heading back into your skin. It leads to a raised bump, usually a very red one that hurts when you touch it. Sometimes the bump can get worse and look like a pimple with a white center. Or it might even turn into a sore.

Possible Causes

  • If you have curly hair, you are more likely to get ingrown hairs that look like pimples. Coarse hair is also a factor.

  • If you have higher levels of sex hormones, you might have excessive hair growth. The more hair you have, the more likely you are to get ingrown hairs.

  • If you shave the area, ingrown hairs are much more likely.


Ingrown hairs tend to go away on their own: your body fights them off. However, if it doesn’t go away soon, the area can become inflamed and infected. If you scratch at the area, you might even develop a scar. Ingrown hairs that have caused a more long-term problem can be treated with prescription medications, or with a lancing at the doctor’s office.

As with other pimples on back of neck, the best treatment is prevention. Follow these guidelines for preventing it in the first place:

  • Don’t shave the area if you can possibly avoid it.

  • If you must shave, use a single blade in your razor, and always move the blade with the direction the hair naturally grows – never against it.

  • Use very warm water when shaving.

  • Use a lubricating, moisturizing shave gel.

  • After you shave, apply a cool cloth to the area to keep any irritation at bay.


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