Images of Acne Keloidalis Nuchae
Acne keloidalis nuchae is a skin condition in which the back of the neck develops inflamed bumps. These bumps can grow larger as the condition progresses and can become painful; without treatment these bumps can result in large scars known as keloids. Acne keloidalis nuchae is seen almost exclusively in black men. The condition may be related to irritation from shaving, skin infection, or a problem with the immune system.
Who's at risk?
Acne keloidalis nuchae is most commonly found in young adult men of African descent, and it is less commonly seen in men of Latino or Asian descent. It is very uncommon in women.
Signs and Symptoms
The most common locations of acne keloidalis nuchae include:
- Back of the neck (posterior neck)
- Lower back of the scalp (occipital scalp)
People who develop acne keloidalis nuchae should focus on avoiding irritation to the area in order to prevent the formation of additional lesions:
- Wash the area gently with non-irritating cleansers. (But no hard scrubbing!)
- Avoid head wear (such as sports helmets) and shirt collars that rub against the back of your neck.
- Avoid closely shaving the back of your neck.
- For itchy lesions, try an over-the-counter cortisone cream.
When to Seek Medical Care
If you suspect you have acne keloidalis nuchae, you should seek help from your primary care provider or a dermatologist in order to prevent the possible formation of large scars and permanent hair loss to the involved areas.
Treatments Your Physician May Prescribe
The prognosis of acne keloidalis nuchae is good if treatment is started early.
Topical creams, lotions, or gels may include:
- A retinoid cream such as tretinoin, tazarotene, or adapalene
- A prescription-strength steroid or cortisone preparation
- An antibiotic such as clindamycin
- Antibiotic pills
- A short course of steroids, such as prednisone (for severe or advanced cases only)
- Steroid injections directly into the inflamed bumps or scars
- Surgical excision of single bumps or larger scars
- Laser destruction
- Liquid nitrogen (freezing or cryotherapy)
Trusted LinksClinical Information and Differential Diagnosis of Acne Keloidalis Nuchae
Bolognia, Jean L., ed. Dermatology, pp.562-564, 1041-1042. New York: Mosby, 2003.
Freedberg, Irwin M., ed. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 6th ed, pp. 648-650. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003.