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Adult Acne & Rosacea

Adult Acne & Rosacea Adult Acne & Rosacea Adult Acne & Rosacea


Approximately 50 million Americans, including many adults, suffer from acne vulgaris, commonly called acne. Meanwhile, another 14 million have rosacea, a skin condition characterized by facial flushing, redness and pimples. Although acne and rosacea are two distinct conditions, they share similar symptoms, including pimples and skin discoloration. In addition, they share treatments, because what works for acne often also works for rosacea.

Acne Causes

Hormones--specifically testosterone and other male hormones--appear to cause acne, according to the Cleveland Clinic. The skin condition generally begins in your early teen years and can continue into adulthood. Adult cases generally are more stubborn to treat. Acne lesions include whiteheads and blackheads, small bumps known as papules and pustules, and sometimes cysts. If you have severe acne, you're likely to scar.

Rosacea Causes

Rosacea most commonly occurs in fair-skinned adults starting at age 30. The condition often begins with a tendency to flush. Eventually, your face will be red constantly with visible red blood vessels, especially on your cheeks and nose, and you'll break out in small pimples. Left untreated, the condition can lead to facial swelling.


Topical medications can curb both acne and rosacea. Dermatologists often prescribe tretinoin to clear pores in adult acne and in rosacea. They frequently recommend oral antibiotics in both skin conditions--in acne to kill acne-causing bacteria--and in rosacea to calm inflammation. The acne mainstay medication benzoyl peroxide can also be useful in treating rosacea to reduce swelling and redness.

Laser Therapy

Both adult acne and rosacea patients increasingly are choosing laser therapies to treat their conditions. In acne, laser therapy can help shrink the skin's oil-producing glands, slowing the production of oil and therefore new pimples. In rosacea, lasers can treat excessive redness and can serve to shrink visible blood vessels. Lasers also can help smooth out bumpy skin, which is common in rosacea patients.


If you're an adult who suddenly develops pimples, you might consider setting up a consultation with your dermatologist to determine the cause, which could be either adult acne or rosacea. Because adult acne can be difficult to clear, you'll likely need professional medical help. If you've developed rosacea, you'll also need a dermatologist's assistance. Fortunately, effective treatments are available for both conditions.

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