Acne Vs. Rosacea

How to tell Acne and Rosacea apart

Both Acne and Rosacea cause redness, bumps, and pustules on the face, however, redness associated with acne tends to be located just around the pimple while the redness for rosacea typically covers a large area.  Also, acne features more blackheads and clogged pores than rosacea.  Acne is most common in teenagers and young adults while Rosacea most frequently affects adults over 30.

Signs & Symptoms of Rosacea & Acne

Rosacea and acne can be easily confused and there are many overlapping features.  However, rosacea patients also tend to suffer from flushing with certain activities, foods, and alcohol.  Acne patients do not typically suffer from these symptoms.  Occasionally, acne can be temporarily related to puberty or less commonly pregnancy.  Here are some ways to distinguish the two conditions:

Signs and Symptoms of Acne

  • Whiteheads
  • Blackheads
  • Swelling
  • Bumps/Pimples
  • Deep, hard Nodules

Signs and Symptoms of Rosacea

  • Large area affected by Redness
  • Smaller bumps/pimples
  • Thickening of skin
  • Eye irritation
  • Itchiness
  • Flushing

Areas Affected by Rosacea & Acne

Acne and rosacea can affect similar areas.  Rosacea mainly affects the skin on the face, however, acne can also be found on additional areas like the back, chest, and shoulders.

Common Areas Affected by Acne

  • Face
  • Neck/Jawline  
  • Shoulders
  • Back
  • Chest


The typical age of those affected by Acne

  • Teenagers
  • Younger Adults

Common Areas Affected by Rosacea

  • Cheeks
  • Nose
  • Forehead



The typical age of those affected by Rosacea

  • Over 30 years old

Treatments for Rosacea & Acne (Acne Scar Treatment)

Treatments for severe Rosacea and Acne are mainly medical and there are a large number of effective treatments and dietary modifications.  Treatment varies based on the severity and location of the area affected. Redness and blood vessels associated with Rosacea can be treated very effectively with lasers.  

Common Treatments for Acne

  • Topical treatments (there are many different ones now depending on the type of acne)
  • Oral antibiotics for short term use to decrease inflammation
  • Hormonal treatments 
  • Isotretinoin (“Acutane”) for resistant and nodulocystic acne 
  • Laser Therapy for redness
  • Fillers, lasers, and Microneedling for scars and discoloration 

Common Treatments for Rosacea

  • Topical anti-inflammatory medications applied directly to the skin
  • Oral medications that decrease inflammation
  • Topical treatments for flushing  
  • Laser Treatments