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Rosacea or something else? How to differentiate your skin condition

Rosacea shares many symptoms with other skin conditions, making it challenging to differentiate. This means that some people don’t know what they are dealing with or seek treatment and products for the wrong condition.



This article explores several conditions with similarities to rosacea and outline some of the key differences.


The information here shouldn’t replace medical advice - if you are unsure of what you are dealing with, please consult with you GP or a dermatologist.


Rosacea or acne?

Acne is the condition most commonly confuse with rosacea. Rosacea and acne can cause redness, bumps, and pimples on the face, making it difficult to distinguish between the two. There are a few key differences that can help differentiate rosacea from acne.

  1. Rosacea tends to occur in middle-aged or older adults, while acne is more common in teenagers and young adults.

  2. The bumps caused by rosacea are typically smaller and redder than those caused by acne, which tend to be larger and more inflamed.

  3. Rosacea tends to be more widespread across the face, while acne may be more localised to the forehead, nose, and chin.

Rosacea or eczema?

Another skin condition that can be confused with rosacea is eczema. Eczema is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that causes dry, itchy, and inflamed skin. Like rosacea, eczema can cause redness and inflammation on the face, making it difficult to differentiate between the two. Here are a few key differences that can help distinguish rosacea from eczema.

  1. Eczema tends to be more widespread across the body than rosacea, which is typically confined to the face.

  2. Eczema is characterised by dry, scaly patches of skin, while rosacea typically causes small bumps and pimples.

  3. Eczema tends to be more itchy and uncomfortable than rosacea.

Rosacea or psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disorder that causes thick, scaly patches of skin to develop on various parts of the body. Like rosacea, psoriasis can cause redness and inflammation on the face. The key differences that can help differentiate psoriasis from rosacea.

  1. Psoriasis typically causes thick, scaly patches of skin, while rosacea causes small bumps and pimples.

  2. Psoriasis can affect any part of the body, while rosacea is typically confined to the face.

  3. Psoriasis can be more uncomfortable and itchy than rosacea.

Exploring this topic further

If you're interested in learning more about how to differentiate rosacea from other skin conditions, there are several resources you can turn to. Here are some further reading suggestions to help you better understand rosacea and its similarities to other skin conditions:

  • NHS - Rosacea This webpage from the NHS provides an overview of rosacea, including symptoms, causes, and treatment options. It also includes information on how to differentiate rosacea from other skin conditions.

  • British Skin Foundation - Rosacea The British Skin Foundation is a UK-based charity that funds research on skin diseases. Their webpage on rosacea includes information on symptoms, triggers, and treatment options. They also provide tips on how to manage the condition and advice on how to differentiate it from other skin conditions.

  • DermNet NZ - Rosacea Differential Diagnosis This webpage from DermNet NZ provides a detailed overview of the different skin conditions that can be confused with rosacea. It includes images and descriptions of each condition, as well as information on how to differentiate them from rosacea.

  • The Rosacea Forum UK This online community provides support and advice to those living with rosacea in the UK. It includes discussion forums, product reviews, and a directory of UK-based dermatologists and clinics that specialise in rosacea treatment.

  • The National Rosacea Society This US-based non-profit organization provides information and resources for people with rosacea, including a section on how to differentiate the condition from other skin disorders. While it is US-based, much of the information is still relevant for a UK audience.


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