HHow many times have you looked in the mirror and wondered if this new piece of red, irritated bumps on your face is acne or … something else? And how many times have you been through a Google rabbit hole trying to figure out what was going on — just to log off without getting satisfactory answers?
Whether you have acne, rosacea or something else entirely, the complexity of your skin microbiome is partly responsible for the difficulty of reaching a verdict through Google. For the uninitiated, the skin microbiome is a diverse environment of bacteria that helps your skin do its job. When these bacteria are in balance, your skin looks and feels healthy. But when opportunistic bacteria overgrow, they can cause inflammation, resulting in redness and bumps you see in the mirror.
“Without a balanced skin microbiome, your skin’s immune system struggles to function properly and the skin is more easily activated to break out,” says board-certified dermatologist Julie Russak, MD. “Acne and rosacea are both inflammatory skin conditions caused by bacterial imbalances in the skin microbiome.”
In honor of Rose Acne Awareness Month, we partnered with skin health pioneer Gladskin to ask Dr. Russak on the differences between acne and rosacea so you do not have to go to Google to find out what is going on with your skin.
First: rosacea. “Rosacea is an inflammatory condition of the skin where the immune system overreacts to internal and external stimuli,” says Dr. Russak. “Rosacea-prone skin is genetic, but the symptoms and manifestations of rosacea are actually an imbalance in the skin microbiome.” So, does it look exactly like acne?
According to Dr. Russak, the two conditions may be similar if you are dealing with pPurulent rosacea (a variant commonly referred to as “pink acne”), which can present with inflammatory bumps – also known as pimples – in addition to redness, tenderness and swelling.
Now that we know how similar they are, let’s see how to tell the difference, right?
Keep scrolling to learn more about rosacea versus acne.
1. The causes of rosacea versus acne
It is easy to combine acne and rosacea because they may look alike, but examining the causes sheds light on how different conditions are.
“Acne is a disorder of the posterior unit — that is, the hair follicles and the oil glands,” says Dr. Russak. “Rosacea is the result of innate abnormalities of the immune system that lead to inflammation of the skin.” Some types of acne can also be due to hormones, while rosacea is not, he adds.
That said, acne and rosacea have similarities: They are both inflammatory skin conditions, and when bad bacteria overgrow, they can cause any disease to flare up, says Dr. Russak.
This is why Gladskin focuses on science-backed solutions to balance the skin microbiome – but, more on that in a second.
2. The symptoms
We know that both acne and rosacea can be caused by pimples, but how do you know who is to blame? Dr. Russak says beware of any additional symptoms. Redness and erythema are signs that your spots may be rosacea, while hyperpigmentation and post-inflammatory scarring are caused by acne rather than rosacea, he says. However, the symptoms of rosacea, such as redness, can often be lost on BIPOC skin, as it is less obvious in its natural appearance, says Dr. Russak, so it is important to talk to a dermatologist if you are concerned about your skin condition. your.
And if you are wondering if you can deal with both acne and rosacea, the answer is, of course, yes. “They could appear at the same time, or at different times, and they are also likely to appear in different parts of the face,” says Dr. Russak.
“If your face is swollen and you are not sure why, be sure to visit a certified dermatologist to make sure you have the correct diagnosis,” he says. Because an IRL doctor hits Dr. Google, every time.
3. The treatments
Finally, the piece you have been waiting for: how to take care of acne versus rosacea. Unfortunately, people with rosacea traditionally did not have many options other than prescriptions with strong ingredients and cosmetics to cover the symptoms.
Gladskin’s Redness Relief Cream with Micreobalance® takes a new approach and offers a third option for skin with a tendency to rosacea, restoring the bacterial balance in the skin microbiome to reduce facial redness. It also contains moisturizing and emollient ingredients, which Dr. Russak says are important for skin with a tendency to rosacea, as it is usually accompanied by high transdermal water loss (also known as inability to retain moisture).
“Gladskin belongs to a category of its own: It makes your microbiome healthier, eliminates any problems with recovery and its ingredients are gentle and well tolerated on extremely sensitive skin prone to rosacea,” says Dr. Russak. “My patients using Gladskin report reduced sensitivity — meaning their skin is healthier [and] stronger and that is the best result I can ask for “.
If you’re dealing with acne (and you’m sure about it now!), Gladskin has a solution for that as well. Gladskin Blemish Gel also contains Micreobalance® to help your skin start to look clearer and has no harsh ingredients that can cause further inflammation.
So the next time you look in the mirror, remember this: 1. You look great. And 2. Your skin microbiome plays a big role in the health of your skin — and we hope that understanding it a little better means less time spent on Google skin care solutions.
Top photo: Stocksy / Studio Firma