Is It Acne Vulgaris Or Rosacea?
Acne Vulgaris vs. Acne Rosacea
Is the skin on your face inflamed and painful? Don't be so quick to diagnose yourself as having acne vulgaris, the type of acne most of us are familiar with. There is another potential skin condition that can cause similar results. Acne roseacea is also common and treatment needs to be handled differently.
The Lowdown On Acne Vulgaris
Acne vulgaris is the technical term for the most common form of acne that is generally associated with teenagers. Acne vulgaris results when sebum, which is an oil produced by the skin, and dead skin cells collect in the pores. If exposed to air, the resulting oxidation causes the surface of the clog to darken, creating the typical "blackhead". If the clog attracts bacteria (due to irritation) and becomes infected, a "whitehead" forms.
Acne vulgaris is most likely to develop during adolescence because the increased production of androgens, which encourage sebum production, although it does affect adults as well.
There are no defined trends with respect to sex or genetics that explain why some individuals are prone to developing acne vulgaris and others are not. It is largely found on the face, although it may spread to the neck, chest and upper back. There are a variety of over-the-counter treatments and prescription medications available to combat acne vulgaris.
Rosacea, Often Confused With Acne Vulgaris
Rosacea is often confused with acne vulgaris, because of the splotchy redness it creates. Rosacea initially presents as erythema, or the appearance of flushing, across the cheeks, nose and forehead, and may progress to more permanent skin discolorations, thickenings and irritations.
Whereas acne is common amongst teenagers, rosacea is usually diagnosed in middle-aged women and appears to have a genetic component. Despite evidencing family trends, there is no widely accepted explanation for the causes behind the development of rosacea. In addition, many over-the-counter acne vulgaris treatments can actually make rosacea worse!
Let The Dermatologist Make The Diagnosis
If you suspect that you do not have typical acne vulgaris, then a trip to the dermatologist is in order. Because rosacea can actually get worse if treated with medications intended for acne vulgaris, you do not want to self-diagnose this condition and then be wrong!