Often times, the presence of red bumps is assumed to be acne. However, a subtype of rosacea, type 2 or papulopustular type, can also present with acne-like blemishes.

Therefore, women and men with inflamed spots on their skin may be uncertain if their issues are due to acne or rosacea. This distinction is particularly important because treatment for each condition is quite different.

If you believe you may have acne or rosacea, continue reading to learn how to tell which one it is.

1. Carefully Examine Bumps and Look for Distinguishing Characteristics

In order to determine if your bumps are due to acne or rosacea, closely evaluate the predominant appearance of bumps. If you note that a majority of your blemishes are comedones–also referred to as blackheads and whiteheads – then the culprit is likely acne.

However, if you are mostly experiencing red and inflamed papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts, it can be more difficult to pinpoint a cause and requires the expertise of a board-certified dermatologist.

2. Note Triggers and Patterns

Triggers are another key piece of evidence when it comes to identifying a breakout as acne or rosacea.

Rosacea is commonly precipitated by external factors, such as sunlight, heat, cold, stress, alcohol, spicy food, and hot beverages. On the other hand, internal factors (i.e. hormone fluctuations) are usually responsible for acne.

Therefore, if you notice bumps after being in the sun and heat, it’s probably rosacea. But if blemishes appear around the time of your period, you’re likely dealing with acne.

3. Assess Your Risk for Each Skin Condition

Your age at the onset of symptoms is another important variable in attributing lesions to acne or rosacea.

Often times, acne first occurs during adolescence or early adulthood. In comparison, rosacea is frequently diagnosed after the age of 30.

4. Evaluate the Location of Breakouts

In addition to considering the appearance of breakouts, take a closer look at their location.

Rosacea tends to be limited to the central portion of the face, affecting the cheeks, chin, forehead, and nose.

Whereas acne can occur on virtually any part of the body or face with oil glands.

Want to Learn More About Differentiating Between Acne and Rosacea?

If you are experiencing symptoms and are unsure if its related to acne or rosacea, please call our office today to schedule a consultation with one of our highly skilled and experienced board-certified dermatologists.

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