Now that you’re investing in your skin and learning more about achieving your #SkincareGoals, it’s time to stop assuming everything is an acne breakout. These skin concerns are the real deal, so get to know them.

It’s no secret that our skin can be confusing and give us mixed signals. If only each bump that appeared on our faces came with a label. Often when we see a red or inflamed bump pop up, we immediately think it’s a pimple or acne breakout - but that’s not always the case. Identifying the skin concern, knowing when a dermatologist intervention is needed, and doing your research can help you determine the proper treatment without the meltdown. We’ve all been there.

We’re breaking down and breaking through these five skin concerns that are, in fact, not acne.

1. Perioral Dermatitis

Perioral dermatitis is a non-contagious facial rash in which bumps develop around the mouth, eyes, nose, and forehead. Experts consider it a type of rosacea, we consider it a bumpy road.

Causes include:

  • Some sunscreens
  • Certain cosmetic products
  • Bacterial or fungal infections
  • Use of strong topical steroids on skin

    Treatment suggestions:

    • Set up a dermatologist appointment
    • Change to mild, fragrance-free cleansers and moisturizers
    • Be gentle when touching and washing skin
    • Stop all use of cosmetics and other products on the affected area during healing period

    2. Milia

    Milia shows itself in the form of small white bumps that appear under the skin. These bumps are usually grouped together on the nose, cheeks, and eye area, though they may appear elsewhere. Don’t stress and definitely don’t mess.

    Causes include:

    • Dead skin trapped under the surface of the skin
    • Keratin build-up

    Treatment suggestions:

    • Do not pick bumps to try to remove them from under the skin
    • Wash your face with a gentle cleanser
    • Gently exfoliate the area 1-2 times a week
    • Be patient - these bumps often naturally push their way to the surface and expel over time

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    3. Rosacea

    Rosacea can present itself in many different forms. Sometimes rosacea may look like acne-related bumps, while other times your skin may have red, visible blood vessels. Swollen, red bumps that contain those familiar white caps (that rhyme with fuss) are another form of rosacea.

    Causes include:

    • Combination of hereditary and environmental factors
    • Flare-ups can happen from spicy food, alcoholic beverages, extreme temperatures, cosmetic products, etc.

    Treatment suggestions:

    • While there is no cure for rosacea, avoiding certain triggers from foods and topical products can help control symptoms
    • Avoid direct sunlight without sunscreen
    • Seek prescription options from a dermatologist

    4. Keratosis Pilaris

    Keratosis pilaris looks like dry, rough patches and tiny bumps that appear on the upper arms, thighs, cheeks, or butt. These bumps don’t typically hurt or itch, but rather make your skin feel a bit like sandpaper.

    Causes include:

    • Seasonal changes in humidity
    • Keratin build-up

    Treatment suggestions:

    • Use exfoliating ingredients to remove dead skin (lactic acid, salicylic acid, etc.)
    • Physical exfoliants can also be useful depending on location
    • Avoid picking (although we know it’s tempting!)

    5. Folliculitis

    Folliculitis is what happens when hair follicles are inflamed. Small, red bumps or white-headed pimples appear on the surface around the hair follicle, which can be tender or itchy. Not an acne breakout, but a close cousin.

    Causes include:

    • Infection of hair follicles with bacteria
    • Viruses
    • Fungi
    • Inflammation from ingrown hairs

    Treatment suggestions:

    • Keep the area clean by washing twice a day with warm water and antibacterial soap
    • Use over-the-counter antibiotics, or products containing oatmeal, as a topical to rub on skin
    • Avoid shaving, scratching, and wearing tight/rough clothing on the infected area
    • Call up a dermatologist if you’re concerned that the area has not healed within two weeks of at-home care

    We know that was a lot of information to digest, but hey, at least you’re not assuming an acne breakout is taking over your social life! The good news is that these skin concerns have treatment plans. Use our suggestions above to get your skin right in the comfort of your home. In the event that your skin concerns aren’t getting better, consult with a dermatologist. 


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