Skin Misdiagnosis Blog

Common Skin Diagnosis and Misdiagnosis

You’ve probably said it yourself. “Oh, I have acne.” Or “My skin is just sensitive.”

As estheticians, we see clients all the time who have diagnosed their own skin condition and are using products to “cure” their skin… only for us to discover that it’s the wrong diagnosis! Before you self-diagnose, let us help you figure out what’s going on with common skin problems.


Just because your skin is red doesn’t mean you have rosacea. Rosacea is a skin condition that causes flushing of the face and visible blood vessels (sometimes with pus-filled bumps, too). While rosacea is a real problem for some people (and can only be diagnosed by a dermatologist), we find that many of our patients have something else: Transepidermal Water Loss (also known as TEWL) or vascular matting.

TEWL affects everyone because the moisture in our skin is constantly evaporating. But for people who do not have an effective skin barrier, TEWL gets worse. It looks like enlarged pores, dry or flaky skin, redness, distended veins, and even more pronounced wrinkles and lines.

Vascular matting is the red and spidery-looking veins. They may look like bruises and show up on the face and thighs. UV exposure, smoking, and alcohol can all cause vascular matting, and picking and poking at the skin can make it worse.

The good news is that even if it’s not true rosacea, we can help! We can repair the skin barrier and improve the condition of your skin, as well as target redness. But see us before you start treating the wrong thing.


Acne and breakouts are not the same thing. Acne is a skin disorder that causes bumps like blackheads by clogging hair follicles with dead skin cells and oil. Cuticle buildup worsens the condition and leads to a cycle of clogged pores and more blemishes.

But breakouts can happen for many reasons, not just from acne. While they certainly can look similar with red and irritated bumps and lesions, the reason is different. Breakouts may be caused by an impaired skin barrier or a hormonal imbalance. You may think that any pimple is due to excess oil and try to dry out your skin with harsh treatments. This can make breakouts worse!

We can help you treat both acne and breakouts, but it’s essential to diagnose the underlying condition correctly.


There are two types of hyperpigmentation: passive and inflammatory. Passive hyperpigmentation tends to be hormonal and can be challenging to treat since it is an internal condition. Inflammatory hyperpigmentation is pigmentation that comes from exposure or trauma, like the sun, a wound, or acne.

There’s also a skin condition that can mimic hyperpigmentation called Malassezia. It’s a fungus found naturally in our microbiome that lives in the most superficial layer of skin. But sometimes, it can get out of control and appear as pigment in the skin.

All of these things require different treatment plans. So if you’ve dealt with pigmentation issues that are not improving over time, you need to talk to an expert. We can help figure out what’s going on and develop a proper treatment plan for you.


Wrinkles are just wrinkles, right? Not quite! Fine lines, wrinkles, and glycation can make skin appear older, but they’re all slightly different. As you might expect, the treatment also differs for these things.

As we age, our skin begins to thin, and collagen decreases. Aging naturally changes how our skin looks, causing fine lines and wrinkles as production slows down.

But glycation is caused by a different process. Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs – what a fun acronym!) are caused by excessive sugar in the body. Sugar can get in between the cells that give our skin its structure. Then the skin structure collapses, causing cross-linked wrinkles. Sun damage and smoking can cause skin structures to collapse, too.

We can help treat signs of aging, but we’ll also help you think about sugar, sun, and smoking changes. Lifestyle changes, along with the proper treatment and home care, are going to make a big, big difference for you!

Here’s the good news. No matter the cause of your skin condition, we can help! Our expert estheticians can help you find just the right treatment plan to help solve any skin woes. While a dermatologist needs to diagnose some conditions, we can be part of your treatment plan.

Ready to banish your skin troubles for good? Try our online consultation on our website and make an appointment to see how we can give you beautiful, healthy skin no matter the diagnosis.

10 Years Younger in 10 Days

Want to significantly and quickly revise signs of aging but do not want to commit to invasive surgery or procedures? SPA Melissa Allen’s 10 Years Younger in 10 Days is the...

Book Now

DMK Enzyme Treatments

DMK Enzyme Treatments work to oxygenate, detoxify, and improve your skin's ability to function by removing dead skin cells and impurities trapped in the skin. The results are brighter, younger-look...

Book Now


Book Now