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Acne vs. Rosacea

Acne is something that a lot of us have to go through, as it “affects approximately 85% of the adolescent population” and is categorized as a “chronic inflammatory disease” [1]. People who tend to have more acne also tend to have more sebaceous glands (glands that secrete an oily substance). Sites on the skin that usually have more sebaceous glands include the face, back, and chest. Acne is versatile, in that it has many forms and can appear on multiple sites on the body.

Rosacea is different from acne, as it is categorized as a “chronic facial inflammatory dermatosis characterized by flushing (or transient facial erythema), persistent central facial erythema, inflammatory papules/pustules, and telangiectasia” [1]. Let’s break this down. Facial erythema is more commonly known as facial redness, papules are equivalent to a small pimple, pustules are small pus-filled sores, and telangiectasia is when the blood vessels in the skin are widened.

What are some similarities and differences between the two? Well, first and foremost, the cause of rosacea and acne are not clearly understood. Both can look a bit similar, as they both can include redness, bumps, and pustules. However, rosacea causes a lot more redness, and, while acne can cause different types of bumps, such as blackheads, rosacea only contains pustules. Also, the main difference between the two is that rosacea is a relapsing condition. It will come and go whenever it decides to flare up. Acne, on the other hand, is usually chronic.

So, how can you protect your skin? Pay attention to when your acne/rosacea flares up. Try and pinpoint certain triggers so that they can be avoided. You can also protect your skin from the sun. Sunscreen will block ultraviolet rays from doing damage to your skin. Lastly, you can treat your face. Try to avoid touching your face all the time; we touch a lot of things with our hands, and that bacteria can transfer easily to the face. Also, wash your face gently to avoid damaging your skin.

If you are experiencing heavy amounts of acne or rosacea, consider seeing a professional, as they may be able to help you with treatments.


1. Picardo, M., Eichenfield, L.F. & Tan, J. Acne and Rosacea. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb) 7 (Suppl 1), 43–52 (2017).

2. Guy F. Webster, Acne and Rosacea. Medical Clinics of North America, Volume 82, Issue 5, 1998, Pages 1145-1154, ISSN 0025-7125,



Author: Kayjah Taylor

Editor: Lauryn Agron

Health scientist: Naiya Upadhyay

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