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Skin Conditions That Look Like Acne But Are Not

Have you noticed an outbreak, a bump, or a rash on your skin?

Though some skin problems are mild and vanish, others can damage your physical appearance and even your health. Here, we share skin conditions that may look like simple pimples or acne, but could negatively affect our health and well being. From harmless blemishes to severe and potentially fatal problems such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, you need to know what skin conditions you are dealing with.


woman with severe rosacea
image credit:

First, the skin condition Rosacea is often mistaken for acne. A chronic, inflammatory condition, it causes small, red or pus-filled bumps on the skin. Severe flushing and persistent redness spread across the nose, cheeks, chin, and forehead. Those who suffer from this skin disorder feel a burning sensation. They also experience bumps, redness, and swelling in the eyes and eyelids. Triggered by allergy-causing foods, spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine, Rosacea differs significantly from acne.

Popular treatments often combine dietary and lifestyle changes with prescription topicals and non-irritating skin care formulas. You can consult your doctor for the right diagnosis and treatment.

Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Face Cream

For skin care products, we recommend using Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Face Cream. It is a lightweight gel face cream that contains different hyaluronic acids, which maintain moisture in the skin, without causing breakouts. Rosewater eases skin irritation for long-lasting comfort, smoother and fresher skin, and protection from dryness.

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Keratosis pilaris

keratosis pilaris on arm
image credit: Beautylish

Next, keratosis pilaris is another chronic skin problem. Characterized by rough red, white, or skin- colored bumps, it can cause discomfort. The bumps usually develop on the upper arms and legs and feel like sandpaper. Health professionals explain, these small bumps are caused by abnormal amounts of keratin, which obstructs hair follicles. Though keratosis pilaris is harmless, you may experience dryness and itchiness. You can treat this skin problem with topical retinoids. You can also use creams with salicylic acid and lactic acid since these ingredients work together to eliminate dead skin cells and remove clogged follicles.

Are you looking for relief? You can use lukewarm bathwater for about ten minutes or less. Additionally, you can avoid soaps and cleansers that have harsh lathering solutions such as lauryl sulfate and heavy fragrances like aloe vera, cucumber extract, and glycerine.

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Try KP Elements Keratosis Pilaris Body Scrub & Exfoliating Cream set, with natural botanical extracts, essential oils, and vitamins. With healing benefits, it leaves your skin fresh, soft, and healthy.

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Sebaceous hyperplasia

sebaceous hyperplasia on forehead
image credit: Healthline

Sebaceous hyperplasia is one of several genetic skin conditions. It appears as flesh-colored bumps that look like doughnuts. These lesions develop on the cheeks, forehead, chin, and nose. Since they are enlarged oil glands, you can squeeze oil from them. This condition is benign. Most individuals prefer treatment like electrodesiccation for aesthetic reasons. Some doctors may also recommend isotretinoin for treating this condition.

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For skin care products, try Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting  2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant with a pH range between 3.2 and 3.8. It is fragrance-free and clinically proven to be a non-irritating skin care product, giving your skin a healthier look!

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image credit: MayoClinic

Folliculitis is a common summer skin problem characterized by small, red tiny pimples with pus. These lesions may be caused by yeast, bacteria, or other kinds of fungus. Additionally, when these bumps break open, they may release pus, blood, or both. Usually itchy and painful, they are found on the neck, butt, thighs, and armpits. You can treat mild cases of folliculitis with non-prescription wipes and lotions, as well as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid-based cleansers.

Panoxyl 10% Acne Foaming Wash

PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash contains 10% benzoyl peroxide, the highest strength of BPO available without a prescription.

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It is important to note that severe cases may require oral antibiotics. For folliculitis that involves a yeast infection, your doctor may recommend a prescription-strength antifungal medication.



Basal cell carcinoma

basal cell carcinoma
image credit: Mayo Clinic

More severe, Basal Cell Carcinoma is one of several skin conditions caused by excessive UV exposure. It looks like shiny transparent or pinkish lesions with small blood vessels. They are usually mistaken for acne cysts. If you have these kinds of lesions, see your doctor immediately. Treatment may include photodynamic therapy, Mohs surgery, or tissue scraping.

Perioral dermatitis

Another skin condition you may experience is perioral dermatitis. An inflammatory facial rash found around the mouth; this condition may be caused by topical steroid usage or the fluoridation found in toothpaste. If you suspect perioral dermatitis, discontinue all topical steroids, whether prescription or over-the-counter. Stop using heavy face creams and switch to mild, non-irritating cleansers and lightweight non-comedogenic lotions.

CeraVe Hydrating Facial CleanserYou can use CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser. With hyaluronic acid, it retains the natural moisture of the skin. You can also use the Origins Modern Friction as a gentle exfoliator. It contains skin-refining rice starch and lemon oil.

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Ingrown Hairs

ingrown hairs
image credit: SHEfinds

Finally, ingrown hairs are one of the more common skin conditions. They appear when a hair turns around and grows back into the skin, creating a raised bump. Just like acne, they look like white bumps, red bumps, or “underground cysts.” You can find them mostly around the bikini and underarm areas. Avoid making the condition worse by pricking them. Luckily, in some cases, ingrown hairs may simply disappear unless they become infected. If you notice that they are getting worse, see your dermatologist immediately. Your doctor may recommend topical treatments (like salicylic acid-based creams and cleansers) or professional extraction.

Serious Serum - AHA BHA LiquidThe Serious Serum – AHA BHA Liquid is formulated with a perfect blend of lactic acid (6%), glycolic acid (3%), and salicylic acid (1%) making your skin smooth. This product is developed for post waxing use, reduce the growth of ingrown hairs, and minimize redness.  


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There you have it. We hope that this information we shared today will help you!

Last note,

Ingrown hairs feel very pesky and uncomfortable. If you have curly hair, you could be more at risk for ingrown hairs. Tweezing and shaving can make the problem worse. Sometimes ingrown hairs heal on their own, but if the problem worsens, you should treat the infected spot. Acne medications and steroid creams may reduce swelling and clear the infected spots.

See your dermatologist if you are in doubt. Or, if you decide to buy products online, know the ingredients and read customer reviews. Always consult your doctor for the right diagnosis and treatment.

For the best options, we recommend that you consult with your dermatologist.

Make sure to wash your face with one of the Recommended Facial Cleansers

Also, protect your skin with one of these Best Moisturizers For Acne Prone Skin

Now It’s Your Turn

I hoped you enjoyed my Skin Conditions That Look Like Acne but Are Not post.

Now I want to hear from you:

Which of these in this post is you most excited to try?

Are you going to use any of them? Or do you have a suggestion for something that has worked for you?

Let me know by leaving a quick comment.

What do you think?

Written by Maria

My passion is helping other people overcome the pain and embarrassment of acne. I have dealt with acne since my teenage years and know first-hand how hard it is to suffer from this condition.

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