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  5. Acne Vulgaris Vs Acne Rosacea: Understanding The Difference

What kind of acne do you currently have? While acne vulgaris refers to the regular pimples, acne rosacea also looks similar.

Misjudgement of the condition may lead to inaccurate treatment, thereby worsening the situation. Therefore, it is essential to understand the primary differences between acne vulgaris and rosacea.

Here, we attempt to explore all the characteristics of both acne vulgaris and rosacea to give you a better idea about both skin conditions and help you identify them. Scroll down to read more!

What Is Acne Vulgaris?

Acne vulgaris is a medical term for normal acne. It is considered to be the most common skin condition, and one can get it at any stage of life. In the United States of America, more than 40 million people get acne vulgaris, irrespective of their age and gender.

In this condition, one or more red painful bumps may suddenly occur on the top of your skin. Few of these bumps may cause itching and irritation as well. But these are usually not harmful and go away on their own. Blackheads, whiteheads and pimples are types of acne you may experience on your skin. [1]

What Is Acne Rosacea?

Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin disease that occurs mainly between the age of 30 to 60 years. There are four subtypes of rosacea, in which subtype two is called acne rosacea. It looks like acne at the first stage, but has a deeper impact than normal acne.

It causes swelling and the blood vessels under the skin become visible. Acne rosacea can also potentially make your skin thicker. The reason behind rosacea’s appearance is still not known, and the same holds true for its cure as well. While there is no known cure for acne rosacea, the usage of proper medication can help control the condition. [2]

What Is The Difference Between Acne Vulgaris & Acne Rosacea?


Acne Vulgaris [3]

Acne Rosacea [4]

Affected Areas

It appears primarily on your face. But it can occur on your back, shoulders, neck and chest also.

Rosacea mostly affects the facial region. It occurs on the forehead, nose, cheeks and chin area.

Affected Age

Acne vulgaris usually starts when you are in your adolescence. But it can appear at any stage of life. There is no age limit for it.

Acne rosacea happens mostly between the age of 30 to 60 years.

Who Gets Affected?

Anyone irrespective of their gender may suffer from acne vulgaris. Women before and during their period may get acne. Also, women on birth control pills, or going through pregnancy may face the same.

Rosacea does not happen to teenagers or kids. It is known as adult-acne because of this. Women during their menopause mostly get affected by acne rosacea.


1. Blackheads

2. Whiteheads

3. Red bumps

4. Tender skin

5. Pustules

6. Painful lumps under the skin (cyst)

7. Itchiness

1. Redness on nose, chin, forehead and cheeks.

2. Swelling

3. Burning sensation

4. Visible blood vessels

5. Pimples

6. Itchy and watery eyes

7. Swollen eyes

8. Sensitivity to light

9. Blurred vision

10. Thicker skin


1. Too much consumption of high-glycemic food such as junk food, chocolate etc.

2. Too much usage of oil-based cosmetic products.

3. Over-exposure to sunlight.

4. Hormonal changes during puberty, periods and pregnancy.

1. There is no particular reason behind rosacea’s appearance. But the study of cases has shown that if you have a family history of the skin condition, you may also suffer from the same.

2. Few also suggest that people who blush a lot get rosacea due to the expansion of blood vessels. But there is no scientific evidence to prove the theory.

Available Treatments

1. Topical retinoid cream

2. Benzoyl peroxide- antibacterial cream

3. Prescribed oral antibiotics

4. Chemical Peel

5. Dermabrasion

6. Photodynamic therapy

There is no cure for it but you can try the below-mentioned points to control it.

1. Cleaning the face with an oil-free mild cleanser.

2.Prescribed antibiotics

3. Over-the-counter soothing gel.

4. Laser surgery to reduce red lines

5. Microdermabrasion to reduce thickening of the skin

Common Factor

Acne vulgaris looks very similar to acne rosacea as both appear as red bumps on your skin.

Both skin conditions have a few common symptoms like redness, bumps, pimples, skin irritation etc.

Risk Factor

1. People in adolescence may get affected by acne vulgaris the most.

2. Acne vulgaris mostly does not need medical attention. Even if it does, skin becomes clear within six to eight weeks at the max.

3. Severe and stubborn acne vulgaris also recovers after strong medication.

4. In severe acne cases, there is a risk of scarring.

1. Women on their menopause and fair-skinned people are more likely to get rosacea.

2. It damages the skin cells and blood vessels of your face.

3. Untreated rosacea may permanently leave your skin with visible blood vessels and reddish flushed skin.[5]

Things To Avoid

1. Over-exposure to sun

2. Scratching the acne.

3. Tight-fitting clothing

4. Junk food

5. Harsh cosmetics

6. Smoking

1. Over-exposure to sun

2. Using alcohol, menthol based products

3. Spicy food

4. Tea or coffee

5. Smoking

6. Consuming alcohol

7. Consuming food that contains cinnamaldehyde

Things To Do

1. Minimise stress

2. Wash your face every day

3. Healthy diet

4. Sufficient water intake

5. Remove makeup before sleeping

1. Stress control

2. Proper diet

3. Enough water intake

4. Use mild skincare products

5. Make an appointment with a dermatologist if you have rosacea symptoms

Wrapping Up


Acne vulgaris and acne rosacea confuse people because of the similarities in their appearance. But they are two completely different types of skin conditions and each requires a unique approach to deal with it.

With the mentioned symptoms, it would be easier for you to identify whether you are experiencing acne vulgaris or acne rosacea. But in both cases, if your acne is getting worse day by day, do visit your dermatologist and avail professional help. Also, remember to use products according to your skin type, as it would help you prevent both acne vulgaris and acne rosacea.

Begin By Knowing Your Skin

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