Is It Rosacea Or Acne? When To Seek Treatment

When Pimples Aren’t Acne

Read Time: 3 minutes

No one likes waking up with a new pimple. Some patients, however, get frequent, uncontrollable breakouts. Most people assume this is a symptom of acne. However, a condition called rosacea can also cause pimple-like bumps. What is the difference between the two terms? Here’s what patients need to know about the two conditions and when to seek treatment.

Symptoms of rosacea

A common sign of rosacea is small bumps and pimples on the complexion. In one survey, 30% of patients noted that these acne-like pustules were in the top 3 symptoms of rosacea to appear. Other signs of rosacea can include redness, dilated blood vessels, or a swollen nose. The condition is usually concentrated on the central area of the face and is most common on the cheeks or nose.

Symptoms of acne

Like rosacea, acne can appear on the face. Acne can also pop up on the back, chest, shoulders, or anywhere else on the body. This skin condition is characterized by pimples, blackheads, bumps, or nodules. Often, people experience an oily complexion due to the overproduction of sebaceous glands.

How to tell the difference

While both conditions can cause small bumps and pimples, there are some differences. Rosacea most characteristically causes redness and flushing and appears only on the face. Acne can pop up anywhere and is usually not accompanied by the redness of rosacea.

Treatment options

Contrary to popular misconception, poor hygiene does not cause rosacea or acne. However, certain topical medications can help decrease the symptoms of both conditions. Additionally, rosacea treatment typically involves avoiding specific triggers, such as spicy foods, extremely hot or cold temperatures, excessive wind, stress, or alcohol.

Risk factors

While there are a lot of myths about greasy food causing acne, people who eat a diet high in refined sugars may experience more acne. Genetics also play a role in whether or not a person has either acne or rosacea. Hormonal changes or certain medications can trigger acne. People who are female, over 30, and have a fair complexion may be more likely to develop rosacea. Smoking is a risk factor for both conditions, as well as for early aging and wrinkles.

When to see a dermatologist

Many people think that because acne is relatively common, the condition doesn’t require a visit to the dermatologist. Anyone who is experiencing frequent and frustrating breakouts should seek advice from a dermatologist. These specialists can help determine the root cause of the problem, whether rosacea or acne, and provide treatment options.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Got Age Spots? We Have Solutions

Do you notice unsightly age spots on your face, hands, and elsewhere? Your skin sustains sun damage that can result in age spots. Keep reading to learn about your options for professional cosmetic treatment to remove or reduce your age spots.

Why Do I Still Get Acne and What Can I Do About It?

Have you tried face wash after face wash but still struggle with adult acne? You’re not alone. Thankfully, your dermatologist can provide comprehensive care. Keep reading to learn about the common causes of acne and what we can do to help.

How to Prevent a Rosacea Flare-Up

Identifying and avoiding triggers, along with lifestyle changes to best care for your sensitive skin, is key to preventing rosacea flares. Partnering with a dermatology specialist is the best first step to calming rosacea flares.

Melanoma vs Sun Spots: 3 Signs And Symptoms To Know

While often common in people over 50, even younger adults can develop sunspots. Also called age spots, liver spots, or solar lentigines, these dark spots come from exposure to the sun. People with lighter skin, women, and...

3 Tips To Prevent And Reduce Acne Scars

Acne is an adolescent rite of passage that can leave behind a memorable mark well after the pimples go away. Instead of accepting a fate full of acne scars, individuals can take proactive steps to not only prevent acne scars...

What Are Skin Tags? When To Consider Skin Growth Removal

Skin tags, also known as acrochordons, are tiny flesh-colored skin growths that are painless and benign. Skin tags can form in places in the body that experience excessive friction such as the armpits, eyelids, groin, thighs, neck, and...