Acne vs Rosacea: How to tell them apart 

Acne and rosacea are two of the most common skin conditions today. Find out the similarities and differences in the acne vs rosacea debate. 

Acne and rosacea are two of the most common skin conditions that affect individuals today. However, treatment can often be difficult as they are frequently mistaken for each other. Shared symptoms, such as inflammation, redness, pimples and sensitive skin can make distinguishing between the two difficult. Let’s find out what the similarities and differences are in the acne vs rosacea debate. 


Acne vs Rosacea – Similarities 

Acne and rosacea are both long term, chronic conditions that can worsen if left untreated. They both primarily occur on the face. Rosacea usually presents across the central region, with flushing over the cheeks and nose. Acne is often more widespread in line with the sebaceous glands, with individuals experiencing spots across the forehead, cheeks, jawline and nose. Both conditions can affect people of any age and skin tone, and may also spread to the chest and back. Flare ups are common for both, though the triggers will differ. A common trigger of both conditions is stress. 


Acne vs Rosacea – Differences 

Although anyone can be affected by either condition, rosacea most commonly occurs in lighter skinned women over 30. Acne, on the other hand, largely affects teenagers. If you are weighing up whether acne vs rosacea is affecting your skin, your age may be a big clue. While sufferers of both conditions experience redness and inflammation, those with rosacea may find the redness appears across their whole face. Inflammation in acne, however, is often limited to the areas of the breakouts only. While spots may occur with rosacea inflammation, they will usually appear like pustules and cysts rather than comedones. Whiteheads and blackheads are very specific to acne sufferers, so their presence on the skin suggests it is not rosacea. 


Acne vs Rosacea – Causes 

Rosacea has a number of possible causes including blood vessel abnormalities, and an unusual reaction to microscopic mites on the face. Triggers are thought to include sunlight, extreme weather, exercise, drinks (such as alcohol and caffeine), and certain foods. Acne is caused when hair follicles become clogged and open or bulge outwards, forming a pimple. Acne triggers include changing hormones, medications, cosmetic products, and smoking. Identifying what triggers a flare up on your own skin may help diagnosing acne vs rosacea easier.