Acne and rosacea are two of the most common skin conditions that affect people of all ages and races. In the United States, acne affects almost 50 million Americans annually, and rosacea affects more than 16 million people.
Acne is a skin condition caused by oil or dead skin cells clogging hair follicles, thereby causing inflammation in the form of whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples. Rosacea is a type of skin breakout that causes skin redness, typically around the nose, cheeks, chin, and forehead. Rosacea sometimes looks like an intense blush but can also result in small, red, pus-filled bumps on the skin. In some extreme cases, rosacea may also affect the eyes.
Symptoms of Acne
Acne may be caused due to any number of reasons, including but not limited to genetics, hormonal function, bacterial growth, and other causes. Acne tends to manifest most in teenagers due to the onset of hormonal changes in the body, but it may also occur in adults. Symptoms of acne include:
- Whiteheads caused due to closed clogged pores
- Blackheads caused due to open clogged pores
- Small reddish bumps on the skin called papules
- Pimples, which are papules with pus at their tip
- Painful pus-filled bumps under the skin like a cyst
Symptoms of Rosacea
Studies have still not been able to find a clear cause for rosacea, but it is known to be triggered by intense exposure to sun and heat, as a reaction to strong emotional situations, and as a reaction to high consumption of caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods. You could also have a genetic predisposition to rosacea if your parents have also suffered from it. Rosacea has four subtypes, and each subtype has its own symptoms.
- Erythematotelangiectatic Rosacea (ETR) is associated with facial redness, flushing, and visible blood vessels. Its symptoms include redness in the center of the face, broken blood vessels, swollen and sensitive skin, stinging or burning sensations on the skin, and rough and dry skin.
- Papulopustular Rosacea (or acne rosacea) is associated with acne-like breakouts and often affects middle-aged women. Its symptoms include breakouts on the skin (oily and sensitive skin), visibly broken blood vessels, and raised patches of skin.
- Rhinophyma is associated with the thickening of the skin on your nose. It usually affects men and is often accompanied by another subtype of rosacea. Its symptoms include bumpy skin, thick skin on the nose, chin, forehead, cheeks, and ears, large pores, and visibly broken blood vessels.
- Ocular Rosacea affects the eye area and can affect sight if left untreated. Its symptoms include bloodshot and watery eyes, burning sensation in the eye, gritty eyes that feel dry and itchy, sensitivity to light, cyst-like formations in the eye, reduced clarity of vision, and broken blood vessels on eyelids.
While for some people, self-care options might help to keep the skin problems under control, most people will need to consult a dermatologist who can advise them on treatment and medication for their specific skin problem.
Difference between Acne and Rosacea
Acne and rosacea are often confused with each other since they can sometimes look similar. However, medically, rosacea is very different from acne. Some key differences are listed below:
- While acne results in blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, and cysts, rosacea tends to cause skin redness and pimple-like breakouts of the skin, but no blackheads.
- Acne can affect any part of the body. However, rosacea tends only to affect the face area.
- Acne can cause the skin to have a bumpy texture due to blemishes or scars that appear when the acne clears. However, rosacea generally causes blood vessels to be visible in a reddish spread around the face and is accompanied by large pores.
- Usually, those suffering from acne will see redness only around the breakout areas. However, rosacea can spread over a wider area and result in eye problems, such as bloodshot eyes, red and swollen eyelids, and eye discomfort.
- While acne is most commonly found in teens and tweens, rosacea is most common in people in the 30 to 60 year age group.
- Acne is usually a chronic problem, while rosacea occurs in cycles, where the symptoms may appear and stay for a few weeks before disappearing and then returning when triggered
It is always best to consult a dermatologist to diagnose your skin problem so that an appropriate treatment plan can be recommended and implemented for you.
For some people, over-the-counter acne or rosacea medications like topical creams can help ease and, in some cases, resolve these skin problems. If such remedies have not worked for you, it may be time to consult an experienced dermatologist who can recommend prescription-strength medication or other treatment options for your skin condition.
The type of treatment recommended for your acne situation is likely to depend on the condition of your skin, your age, and the kind of acne you have.
Other than oral medication, your dermatologist may also suggest other forms of treatment for your condition. Your dermatologist may recommend a combination of treatment options from the list below:
- Topical Medications, in the form of gels and lotions, are applied multiple times a day to the affected area(s). These may include topicals, such as retinoids, antibiotic gels and creams, and azelaic acid or salicylic acid-based cream or gel.
- Oral Medication includes antibiotics and oral contraceptives for women
- Light therapy treats particular forms of acne and can be effective in some cases.
- Chemical Peel helps reduce any scarring and helps to clear clogged pores caused by acne.
- Microdermabrasion helps to clear up mild acne and any resulting scarring.
- Microneedling helps improve the appearance of scars for patients with severely scarring acne.
The first step to treating rosacea is to know what triggers it in your body and form habits that help avoid those triggers. And while there is no permanent cure for rosacea, mindful self-care and timely treatment can help you manage skin redness and ease any discomfort. Your dermatologist may suggest medication such as:
- Gels with Brimonidine to tighten blood vessels in the skin to get rid of some redness.
- Azelaic acid-based gel and foam to clear bumps, swelling, and skin redness.
- Antibiotics to kill bacteria on your skin and bring down redness and swelling.
Treatment for rosacea can take a few weeks or months to show results. Sometimes, additional procedures may be recommended by your doctor to treat your rosacea. These procedures may include:
- Lasers that use intense light to treat swollen blood vessels.
- Gentle microdermabrasion to sand off the top layer of skin and encourage healthy skin regrowth.
Acne and Rosacea Treatments in Elmer, NJ
Acne and rosacea treatments are available at the Warmuth Institute of Dermatology (a part of Schweiger Dermatology Group) in Elmer, NJ. Call us at (856) 358-1500 to set up your consultation today.