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Acne vs. Rosacea: How to Spot the Difference

Skin irritation often appears in the form of redness. If you experience breakouts of red areas on your face, chest, back, arms, or elsewhere on your body, you may wonder why. Does acne cause your symptoms? Or do you have rosacea?

At Apex Dermatology, Dr. Karin Harp, MD, FAAD, FASDS, Dr. Aria Vazirnia FAAD, Kristin Rupert PA-C, Sherri Anderson PA-C, Mary Hanna BC-NP. Lani Keene LE, Riley McCarthy RN, and the team support you in discovering your skin’s unique care needs. 

Providing a variety of skin care solutions from our state-of-the-art office in Westlake, California, we can help you determine if you suffer from adult acne outbreaks or rosacea and recommend effective treatments to soothe and suppress your symptoms. Let’s take a closer look at the acne vs. rosacea question.

Dealing with adult acne

People who are prone to adult acne have skin that’s sensitive to harmful bacteria. You may also have very oily skin or skin that sheds a lot, resulting in clogged pores where bacteria can congregate and multiply.

During an acne outbreak, raised and reddened pimples, sometimes with black or white centers, appear in zones around your face, chest, back, and upper body. Pimples can leave you feeling less than confident in your appearance and can even become physically painful when severe.

Understanding rosacea

Did you know that rosacea is actually an inflammatory disease? Women aged 25-55 are most likely to suffer from rosacea, although this condition can affect people of all ages and genders.

In the early stages, rosacea can appear similar to acne. Like acne, rosacea symptoms tend to flare up and then fade away, only to recur again and again. Your skin may be sensitive to triggers like sun exposure, resulting in red acne-like bumps that progress to larger, spreading blotches that may eventually affect much of your face.

Telling the difference between acne and rosacea

When you start breaking out, it might be initially hard to tell if you’re dealing with acne or rosacea. But, it’s important to get your diagnosis right because, although these conditions may look similar, they typically need different treatment approaches.

Ultimately, acne mostly affects the surface layers of your skin, where bacteria breed and result in pimples. In contrast, rosacea-related swelling or pimples come from beneath the outer surface layer of your skin. Rosacea also doesn’t involve bacterial infection, influencing treatment needs.

Rosacea outbreaks often come with additional symptoms like a flushed or red face, swelling around your eyes, and visible blood vessels around your cheeks and nose (called telangiectasia). To prevent rosacea, you may need to avoid triggers like sun exposure, wind exposure, and even spicy foods or hot drinks.

Topical medications can help with rosacea symptoms, and antibiotics may be needed for severe outbreaks. Laser treatment can address both acne and rosacea symptoms. Your provider at Apex Dermatology recommends the right treatments and changes to better support and improve your skin.

When your skin breaks out in mystery bumps, contact the skin care experts at Apex Dermatology to learn more about the right treatment approach for the underlying cause.

To schedule your confidential consultation appointment, call now or book online.

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