Is rosacea the same as acne?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Rosacea and acne are both common skin conditions, but they are not the same. In acne, infected or inflamed pores cause pimples or raised red spots with a white center. The inflammation is caused by bacteria and other substances in clogged hair follicles, which are the tiny openings in the skin through which hair grows. In more severe acne, cysts form when the blockage and inflammation deep inside hair follicles produce painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin.

People with rosacea may have persistent redness on the face, visible blood vessels, roughness, and pimple-like bumps on their faces. About 40 to 50 million people in the United States have some type of acne, while 14 million are affected by rosacea. While acne is common in adolescence, adults in their 50s (usually women at menopause) may get acne, even for the first time. People who get rosacea are usually middle-aged or older.

There are certain triggers for acne and rosacea. Hormones are a main trigger of acne, while the sun, alcohol, and spicy foods can trigger rosacea flare-ups. Rosacea is a chronic (long-term) condition that can't be cured, but like many skin conditions, it can be treated.

Rosacea (ro-ZAY-she-ah) is a common skin problem often called "adult acne." Faired skinned and menopausal women are more likely to have rosacea. Rosacea also seems to run in families. It causes redness in the center parts of the face and pimples. Blood vessels under the skin of the face may enlarge and show through the skin as small red lines. The skin may be swollen and feel warm.

Women with rosacea do not have the same lesions as seen with common acne. They may have flushing of the face, when they are hot, drink alcohol or hot drinks, or eat spicy foods. This flushing causes the face to appear red. In the most severe form, this redness does not go away. The eyes may become swollen and nodules in the skin may be painful.

You can help keep rosacea under control by keeping a record of things that cause it to flare up. Try to avoid or limit these triggers as much as you can. Antibiotic lotions or gels can also help. Sometimes, you may need to take antibiotic pills. Your dermatologist may treat you with laser surgery. If you think you have rosacea, talk with your doctor about these treatments.

This answer is based on source information from the National Women's Health Information.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.