Pimples? Redness?  Before you reach for acne skincare products, I’d like to take a look at a common area of skincare confusion – Is it Acne or Rosacea?


If you begin to notice pimples and redness on your skin, it is only logical to assume that you have acne. These are very common signs, so it is likely that you do have acne. These symptoms are also two very common signs of Rosacea. Unfortunately, most people are unfamiliar with this condition and will start treating their troubled skin with products designed to help clear acne. As the two conditions have similarities, people tend to think they can be treated the same way. Doing so may make Rosacea worse.

Let’s clear up the confusion — and clear up your skin in the process!

Common signs of acne

  • Red bumps (papules)
  • Inflamed skin
  • Bumps with pus (pustules)
  • Whiteheads
  • Blackheads
  • Scars
  • Cysts

Common signs of Rosacea

  • Persistent redness
  • Flushing
  • Red bumps
  • Pimples
  • Visible blood vessels

Location, location, location

Acne can occur on multiple areas of the body. While we see it on faces, it can also be found on the back, chest, shoulders and even the buttocks. Rosacea is almost always isolated to just the face. The nose and cheeks are the most common places for Rosacea.

Symptoms can vary dramatically

Those with acne often find that their skin is oily. Clogged pores are typical, leading to blackheads, whiteheads and red pimples. Rosacea tends to begin as skin redness that manifests into much more severe symptoms. Blood vessels dilate and become visible, especially on the nose. Inflammation tends to increase, which results in more pimples. Even the eyes can be affected, turning red and making them feel as though there is something gritty in them.

Treatments also differ

Clearing up acne can vary depending on severity of symptoms. The first line of defense is to use acne skincare products. If there is no significant improvement after using over the counter acne products, a dermatologist may prescribe topical or oral medications. Rosacea can be treated, but not cured. Avoiding common triggers is key. Using extra gentle Rosacea skincare products may help alleviate symptoms. Prescriptions may also be necessary.

If you are unsure of whether you have acne or Rosacea, you may want to make an appointment with a dermatologist. Once you have an accurate diagnosis, finding the best treatment will be much easier.