Difference Between Rosy Cheeks & Rosacea

Doll-like Child
A toddler with rosy cheeks looks up as she plays in a playground. (Image: deuel-edged-photography/iStock/Getty Images)

Rosy cheeks can be a symbol of a youthful, healthy glow, but for some people, rosy cheeks are the result of rosacea, a skin disorder that causes redness of the facial skin. Knowing the difference between healthy rosy cheeks and rosacea is important, because rosacea may require medical attention. If you are uncertain whether your cheeks are simply rosy or whether you may have rosacea, consult your doctor for a diagnosis.

Location

Rosy cheeks are usually limited to the cheek area. Rosacea can appear on your cheeks, chin, nose, forehead and neck.

Patchiness

One of rosacea’s key attributes is its patchiness. Rosy cheeks are usually smoothly pink throughout the cheek area, while rosacea usually appears as oddly shaped pink or red patches. These patches of skin often feel rough or dry.

Pimples

If you have pimples or acne on your face in the areas that are usually red, then you likely have rosacea. Rosacea’s pimples are more subtle than acne pimples and tend to cluster in one or two areas.

Lines

Next time your cheeks are looking particularly rosy, take a close look in the mirror. If you see any reddish lines on your face within the rosiest areas of your cheeks, you are seeing the blood vessels in your cheeks, which is a sign of rosacea.

Swelling or Irritation

Rosy cheeks fill in your face and leave it smooth and glowing, but if your rosy color stems from rosacea, your cheeks can feel swollen and unusual to the touch. You may also experience irritation after consuming spicy foods or spending time in the sun.

Treatment

If you suspect you have rosacea, consult your doctor immediately. Left unchecked, rosacea can turn into an ugly, patchy mess across portions of your face and neck. If you do have rosacea, your doctor can prescribe oral and topical antibiotics to keep your symptoms at bay and prevent them from getting worse. If you have rosy cheeks, keep them well moisturized year-round with a twice daily facial moisturizer as part of your regular skin care routine. If they tend to chap in cold winter weather, carry a moisturizer with you when you go out and apply as needed.

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