Acne Rosacea: What’s the difference between Acne and Acne Rosacea?

Fitness & Health:

There are different types of acne, even though people tend to think it’s a general term for spotty skin. Acne rosacea is a type of acne that mostly impacts people over 30, compared to ‘teenage acne’ which is actually called acne vuglaris. chatted to Dr Deborah Lee from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy to find out everything you need to know about acne and acne rosacea.

Everyone knows about ‘teenage’ acne – the misery of waking up in the morning to find new blemishes and pus-filled spots on your face.

This is the most common type of acne, and its proper name is acne vulgaris.

Acne vulgaris tends to affect young people and generally improves with age.


Far fewer of us have heard of acne rosacea, which tends to affect people aged over 30.

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What’s the difference between acne rosacea and acne?

Acne vulgaris is a chronic inflammatory disease affecting the pilosebaceous glands (hair follicles and grease glands), which are found in the skin of the face, chest and back.

Dr Lee explained: “It is caused by an increase in sebum production, along with bacterial infection of the follicles – specifically due to infection with the bacterium P.acnes.

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“The exact underlying cause is unknown, but there is likely to be a genetic predisposition. In women, androgens (male hormones) play a part.

“Acne vulgaris tends to occur in the teens to early 20s, but it can occur at any age. It tends to improve as you age.”

Acne rosacea on the other hand only affects the face, but it is still a chronic inflammatory skin condition.

Dr Lee said: “No one knows what causes acne rosacea, but it may be due to an abnormal immune response in the skin, coupled with other factors such as infection.

“Large concentrations of inflammatory mediators – cell signalling molecules – are found in the facial skin.

“These result in dilatation of superficial blood vessels in the skin, leading to redness, flushing and swelling.

“The skin often becomes hypersensitive, including increased sensitivity to ultraviolet light. “We all have mites in our skin, but rosacea sufferers, specifically, have increased numbers of Demodex mites.

“These further exacerbate skin inflammation. These mites are not infectious, and there is no need to keep away from other people.”

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As mentioned, acne rosacea tends to affect people in their 30s and above, and it is more common in women.

Acne rosacea also has different categories within it – there are different types of acne rosacea.

Dr Lee said: “Papulopustular rosacea describes those who get papules and pustules usually over the cheeks.

“Erythrotelangiectetic rosacea refers to the skin flushing, and small, broken blood vessels, often seen on the skin surface.”

Unlike regular acne, rosacea can affect the eyes – this is called ocular rosacea.

Dr Lee explained: “The eyes feel gritty, dry and sore. There may be recurrent eye infections with blepharitis, conjunctivitis, and Meibomian cysts.

“This can be associated with keratitis and corneal irritation and may require help with management from a Consultant Ophthalmologist.”

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