Rosacea is itchier, drier and redder than acne

rosacea-redder-than-acne

This paper published in the Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences is confirming one of the things what we know about rosacea – that it differs from acne in a few important ways.

Rosacea sufferers have an impaired epidermal barrier function that leads to rosacea-specific symptoms of erythema, itchiness, dryness and burning.

The water and lipid contents of the stratum corneum were found to be significanly lower in rosacea sufferers compared to acne sufferers. Also the transepidermal water loss was more significant in rosacea.

These results lend support to the idea that rosacea sufferers must have a good skincare regime, including a moisturizer, in order to get on top of their symptoms. Further it confirms that acne treatments may not be best of class for rosacea sufferers.

How do you measure your skin barrier?

The epidermal barrier function was measured on the cheek of all the subjects, including water content of the stratum cornuem, skin surface lipid level and TEWL. They were measured by Skin analysis SHP88 (Courage & Khazaka electronic GmbH, Germany). The test site was one centimeter away from the right side of the nose on the cheek. Each subject was measured three times and the values were averaged to get the mean value.

Was your rosacea mis diagnosed as acne?

It is pretty common to have rosacea mis-diagnosed as acne. Did you head down a sub-optimal treatment path because your rosacea was treated as acne ? What skincare regime changes can you now recommend?

Article Abstract

Clinical characteristics and epidermal barrier function of papulopustular rosacea: A comparison study with acne vulgaris

Pak J Med Sci. 2016 Nov-Dec; 32(6): 1344–1348.

Objective: To evaluate the clinical characteristics and epidermal barrier function of papulopustular rosacea by comparing with acne vulgaris.

Methods: Four hundred and sixty-three papulopustular rosacea patients and four hundred and twelve acne vulgaris patients were selected for the study in Xiangya Hospital of Central South University from March 2015 to May 2016. They were analyzed for major facial lesions, self-conscious symptoms and epidermal barrier function.

Results: Erythema, burning, dryness and itching presented in papulopustular rosacea patients were significantly higher than that in acne vulgaris patients (P<0.001).

The clinical scores of erythema, burning, dryness and itching in papulopustular rosacea patients were significantly higher than those in acne vulgaris patients (P<0.001).

The water content of the stratum cornuem and skin surface lipid level were both significantly lower in papulopustular rosacea patients than that of the acne vulgaris patients (P<0.001) and healthy subjects (P<0.001); Water content of the stratum cornuem and skin surface lipid level were higher in acne vulgaris patients in comparison with that of healthy subjects (P>0.05, P<0.001; respectively).

Transepidermal water loss was significantly higher in papulopustular rosacea patients than that of acne vulgaris patients and healthy subjects (P<0.001); transepidermal water loss was lower in skin of acne vulgaris patients than that of healthy subjects (P<0.001).

Conclusion: Erythema, burning, dryness and itching are the characteristics of papulopustular rosacea, which makes it different from acne vulgaris.

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About the Author

About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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2 Reader Comments

  1. Jenny says:

    Hi David,
    I think I’ve had a case of Rosacea when I was younger. I don’t usually get acne, but when I do, it isn’t a pretty sight. My acne was always bigger than usual, very painful, and itchy. I didn’t know how to deal with them before so I just usually use ice cubes to relieve the pain. This is a very informative article. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Tina says:

    I’ve had what I thought was acne but now realize after reading your blog that I have rosacea. I’ve stopped using the over the counter acne creams and my skin already feels 100% better! Does drinking more water help combat rosacea, or will it make it worse?

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