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Red, Bumpy Skin: Is It Rosacea, Acne or Both?

If you’re suffering from red bumpy skin that is itchy and sore, you need to know if it’s acne or rosacea. The two are different conditions and must be treated by different methods; otherwise, you may risk worsening the condition. Here are some tips to help you recognize and treat them.


Acne is one of the most widespread dermatological conditions. It occurs when hair follicles become blocked with oil and dead skin cells. It most often occurs on the face, neck, shoulders, and back, though it can occur in other parts of the body. Though a variety of treatments area available, acne can be persistent. You can find helpful acne treatment reviews here. Symptoms include one or more of the following:

  • Plugged pores “ whiteheads
  • Open plugged pores “ blackheads
  • Small red bumps “ papules
  • Pus filled pimples “ pustules
  • Painful lumps beneath the skin’s surface “ nodules
  • Pus-filled lumps beneath the skin’s surface “ cystic lesions

The main factors leading to acne are dead skin cells, oil production, bacteria, and clogged pores.

Acne Treatments

There are several prescription, over-the-counter and herbal remedies to treat acne.

Prescription medications: These are usually antibiotics, retinoid drugs, Dapsone gel, or Isotretinoin (in cases of very severe acne).

Over-the-counter therapies: These therapies include salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, alpha hydroxy acids, and sulfur.

Herbal remedies: These options include aloe vera, amaranth, neem, coriander, and licorice root.


Around 14 million adults and teens suffer from rosacea. It is a chronic skin disorder that results in redness, soreness, and inflammation of the skin as well as possible skin irruptions. People with fair hair and skin and blue eyes are most commonly affected. Symptoms include one or more of the following:

  • Persistent redness of the face and/or neck
  • Acne-like sores
  • Burning or stinging sensation on the skin
  • Fine reddish veins around the cheeks and nose
  • Red, swollen eyelids

Rosacea is caused by dilation of the skin’s blood vessels, which may be triggered by a number of things including the sun, spicy food, exercise, friction, and perfumed laundry detergents.

Rosacea Treatments

There are a number of treatment options for rosacea.

Medications: These drugs include oral antibiotics, brimonidine (to reduce redness), Isotretinoin (for very severe cases), azelaic acid and metronidazole.

Other therapies: Laser therapy is sometimes used to reduce the redness of dilated blood vessels. Dermabrasion, electrosurgery and pulsed light therapy may also be used.

Herbal treatments: Herbal therapies include licorice root, lavender oil, tea tree oil, honey, and chamomile.

One of the main reasons it’s important to distinguish between these two conditions is to prevent unnecessary use of antibiotic medications, which can lead to antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance can make it very difficult to treat certain bacterial infections and could lead to serious illness or even fatality.

If you have a skin condition similar to the ones described above, but you are uncertain if it is acne or rosacea, you should consult with a physician or dermatologist to get a correct diagnosis.