Acne Rosacea and Acne Vulgaris – What is the Difference?

Acne Rosacea and Acne Vulgaris - What is the Difference?There are quite a number of skin conditions experienced worldwide, affects any race and all ages, but perhaps the most common is acne. Acne is medically termed as acne vulgaris actually comes from the Greek word acme or akme which means “point” or “spot”. It came to be termed acne because in 1835, acme was misspelled as acne. This skin disorder affects a lot of people, although not detrimental to one’s health can still somehow affect the life of those affected. Acne vulgaris is so common that skin specialists say that three-quarters of teens and adults will experience acne vulgaris. There is another common skin condition that is often confused or mistaken as acne; this skin condition is called acne rosacea. While this is also a harmless skin condition, knowing the difference between acne vulgaris and acne rosacea and how these two skin conditions come to occur is important in order to receive the appropriate treatment.

Acne Vulgaris

Acne vulgaris, commonly known as acne, is a skin condition that involves the oil glands located at the base part of hair follicles. Acne vulgaris occurs when oil and dead skin cells clog up the pores. To better understand why this happens, human skin consists of pores which are connected to the oil glands under the skin. These oil glands are connected to the pores through the small canals called follicles where hair also grows. The sebum or the oil produced by the oil glands is responsible for carrying the dead skin cells through the follicle towards the surface of the skin. Acne then occurs when sebum and dead skin cells plug the pores. This can progress into a more serious kind of acne where the plug ruptures and gets infected by bacteria. Although the actual cause of this mechanism is not yet known, acne vulgaris is believed to be caused by an increase in hormones, specifically androgen hormones. The increase in this hormones results in the increase of sebum production. Susceptibility of a person to acne vulgaris is also hereditary. In contrast to the common idea that acne vulgaris presents itself only as red bumps or red, inflamed and painful pus-filled pimples, it can actually present itself as whiteheads and blackheads as well. These symptoms of acne vulgaris develop on the face, neck, back, shoulders or the chest area.

Acne Rosacea

Rosacea is a common long-term and non-curable skin condition that is also called adult acne or acne rosacea because of the similar appearance with acne vulgaris. It is termed as adult acne because unlie acne vulgaris where if affects mostly teenagers, acne rosacea occurs in adults around 30 to 50 years of age. Acne rosacea is a different kind of skin condition than acne although both can co-exist. The symptoms are only limited to the face area like forehead, nose, cheeks and chin. Acne rosacea affects the central region of the face presenting itself as a flushing of the face, and then redness develops with small red bumps and cysts similar to acne vulgaris. In acne rosacea, small and red blood vessels are also visible. Another difference of acne rosacea from acne vulgaris is that there are usually no whiteheads or blackheads present. Acne rosacea has flares and remissions as the symptoms usually come and go. In some instances, the face may be clear of symptoms for quite some time, even for years, then symptoms may flare again. Ocular rosacea as a complication of acne rosacea may also occur in some cases, which may present as drying, burning, stinging, or itching of the eyes, sensitivity to light and eyelid problems like styes. While both acne rosacea and acne vulgaris have bumps and cystic pimples, the process that causes these skin conditions vary. The exact cause of acne rosacea is also still unknown however this condition seems to be caused by the dilation of blood vessels of the face. It can be due to genetic factors or hereditary, some gastrointestinal diseases, medications that cause blood vessel dilation, and a recent study suggests that acne rosacea may be associated with a dysfunction of the immune system. While acne vulgaris may be outgrown, most patients with acne rosacea do not outgrow this skin condition, and if left untreated, it will worsen.

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