All pimples are not caused by acne. Would it surprise you to know that there are other skin problems that cause pimples, inflamed bumps and other acne-like symptoms?
Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish between common acne (AKA acne vulgaris) and acne “look-alike”. If you are not sure what is going on with your skin, it is always wise to consult a doctor to get the correct diagnosis of your skin problem.


Erythema and telangiectasia are observed on the cheeks, the nasolabial region and the nose. Inflammatory papules and pustules can be seen through the nose. The absence of comedones is a useful tool for distinguishing rosacea from acne.
Also known as rosacea acne, it is a chronic inflammatory skin disorder that causes small pimples similar to those of acne on the cheeks, nose, chin and forehead. It is often mistaken for adult acne.

How can you tell the difference? Rosacea causes dilation of the blood vessels, which gives the skin a reddened appearance. Acne can cause red pimples but does not cause flushing of the face.
Rosacea usually does not develop until the age of 35 and is more common in women than in men. With rosacea, you will often have breakouts that are interrupted by periods when the skin is relatively clean. The exact cause of rosacea is unknown, but there are treatments.

Keratosis Pilaris
Although it has a long name that you have never heard of, there are chances that you have already seen keratosis pilaris. It is an extremely common skin condition that causes small, rough bumps on the surface of the skin. Often, skin with keratosis pilaris is described as a sensation of “sandpapery”.The bumps can be skin-colored or red and can look like tiny pimples.Keratosis pilaris is usually found on the back of your arms, thighs and buttocks.

But it can also develop on the face, especially in children, where it is often confused with acne.Keratosis pilaris is caused by an accumulation of keratin (a protein in the skin and nails) in the hair follicle. These keratin corks give a rough appearance, resembling goose bumps or a pimple. It is not serious. It usually disappears without treatment but tends to return. A gentle moisturizer can help improve bumps.

Although the red bumps and pustules of folliculitis may resemble acne breakouts, they are actually caused by irritation and inflammation of the hair follicles.
How can you irritate a hair follicle? Shaving is an important cause. Friction can also irritate the follicles, such as when the straps of a thick backpack rest on the skin.Sometimes folliculitis is caused by a bacterial infection. Folliculitis can occur anywhere on the body.

Miliaria Rubra
Miliaria rubra is the technical term for your common heat rash or thorny heat.Miliaria rubra is an acute inflammation of the sweat glands. You will have small red bumps on the surface of the skin. The rash can also cause itching or burning.
As you may have guessed, miliaria rubra is caused by overheating of the skin. It’s more common in babies and young children, but it can happen at any age.Generally, you feel a heat rash on the areas of the skin covered with clothing. In severe cases, the rash can spread to the face, especially to the cheeks.Did the eruption appear quickly? Suspicious miliaria rubra. Acne pimples develop over time.

Incarnate hair
Ingrown hairs can cause the development of pustules (also called “white dots”) on your skin. These can look so much like acne, it can be very difficult to tell the difference. Here’s a hint though: if skin rashes occur only in the beard area, there is a good chance that it is ingrown hair.
Incarnate hairs, also called pseudofolliculitis barbae, are very common in the beard area.

African-American men, or anyone with thick or curly hair, are prime candidates for developing this skin problem.
Ingrown hairs may also appear in other areas of the body and are more common in places where one shaves or waxes (such as legs, bikini area, etc.).Gentle scrubs can help in some cases. But often, the best treatment is to let the hair grow.

A boil looks like a big button.Do you have what looks like a zit monster? It may not be an acne pimple, but a boil.
Boils look like acne whiteheads, but only of excessive size. They occur when the hair follicle becomes infected.Do not try to bring out that bad boy, though. You will damage your skin and may spread the infection.

Some boils can heal on their own, but if they are very bulky, painful or long lasting, it is best to have them treated by a doctor.If you are not 100% sure what you are treating is acne, call your doctor. Once you get the right diagnosis, you can begin to treat your skin problem appropriately and give your skin an appearance and feel of well-being.

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