Fluctuating hormones in teenagers can lead to the development of a skin condition known as acne. Acne can result in facial redness—a shared trait of rosacea, a skin condition related to blood vessels in the face. Because both conditions can affect a teenager’s self-esteem and are treated in different ways, a fast diagnosis and treatment can help to reduce symptoms.
Rosacea occurs when blood vessels in the skin do not work properly, which can cause symptoms including redness and the appearance of being flushed, according to Dr. Geoffrey Nase, on his rosacea resource website DrNase.com. Although this condition "most commonly presents in the 3rd and 4th decade of life," teenagers can experience the condition, notes Dr. Peter Crouch on Rosacea-Research.com.
Acne is a skin condition that also causes facial redness, according to Kids Health. However, this redness is due to inflammation of the facial pores. For teenagers, this most often occurs when the hormones stimulate the overproduction of oil. This clogs the pores, resulting in acne blemishes.
Rosacea is characterized by facial flushing—meaning a teenager’s skin may be red on the cheeks. Rosacea sufferers also may have papules, which are small, white bumps that do not contain any pus, states Dr. Nase. While acne blemishes are red, in teenagers the lesions are often filled with sebum or bacteria, according to Kids Health. These may include pimples, whiteheads or blackheads.
Many teenagers hold misconceptions about the causes of their acne or rosacea. For example, eating chocolate or drinking sodas are not linked with causing acne, reports Kids Health. Teenagers also may turn to the tanning bed to reduce rosacea or acne symptoms—this can actually exacerbate either condition.
Treating acne requires cleansing the skin twice daily to remove excess dirt and oil. While it can be tempting to scrub the face, refrain from doing so—this can aggravate the pores and cause them to produce more oil. You also can apply an over-the-counter treatment such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, which can help to reduce oil, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Anti-acne treatments are not effective for treating rosacea and may irritate the skin, according to Dr. Nase. Those with rosacea should always wear a sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 15 or higher, because the sun can aggravate rosacea symptoms. Since many topical applications lead to irritation, a teenager should discuss with a physician what products can be used.
Both acne and rosacea are linked to self-esteem issues for teenagers, including embarrassment, depression and anxiousness, according to Acne Rosacea Guide. Because self-image and self-esteem are very delicate during teenage years, treating acne and rosacea can help teens to avoid emotional issues. Teens should avoid picking or popping rosacea and acne blemishes, as this can leave scars. If you notice your teen picking at these areas excessively, it could be a sign of a psychological condition known as dermatillomania.