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Rhinophyma nose: Causes, pictures, and treatment

Michael Picco
Michael Picco

Technical Director - Energy & Environment

Once the condition has progressed, surgery is probably the best option. Unfortunately, if left untreated, rhinophyma can obstruct the nostrils and affect breathing, deeming a medical evaluation worthwhile. Before discussing potential treatment options for alcoholic nose, it is important to understand whether or not alcohol itself is truly to blame.

Side Effects of Rhinophyma

Rosacea affects the nose more in men and the cheeks more in women, which makes men much more likely to get rhinophyma than women. Rhinophyma has not been shown to be connected to alcohol use, and calling rhinophyma an “alcoholic nose” is not medically correct. Alcoholic nose, known by its clinical name, rhinophyma, is a condition that causes the nose to become bumpy, swollen, and red in appearance.

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Some food can trigger rosacea as well, such as certain spices, dairy, and caffeine. People with an alcoholic nose often have a genetic predisposition to or a family history of rosacea. This is especially if treatment for the skin condition is ineffective. “Alcoholic nose,” or drinker’s nose, is a skin condition commonly identified by a red, bumpy, or swollen appearance of the nose and cheeks.

Alcoholic Nose Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

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Each individual is sensitive to alcohol in different ways, so everyone who has rosacea may not see a flare-up after drinking. The shoulders and chest are also susceptible to looking more flushed or red after drinking alcohol. Until recently, doctors believed that rosacea and rhinophyma could be caused by alcoholism. However, it is very important to note that rosacea and rhinophyma can be agitated by things other than alcohol. Stress, sleeplessness, dehydration, depression, improper diet, dry skin, and many other factors can agitate rosacea and rhinophyma.

Rhinophyma causes the nose to become even more disfigured due to the progressive dilation of the nasal vessels as well as the involvement of cysts and pustules. Alcoholic nose or rhinophyma is a rare condition that typically affects Caucasian men between 50 and 70. It’s not just spicy foods and alcohol that cause flare-ups of rosacea or instances of rhinophyma. As shown in the previously linked information from both the Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic, genetics also play a part in the development of either condition.

Take the first step toward addiction treatment by contacting us today. Inpatient treatment may be necessary if you cannot stop drinking on your own. Medication can also be used to help manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings. While there is no cure for rosacea, treatments are available to keep the symptoms under control.

  • However, more recent findings in the medical world are inconclusive as to the actual cause of this skin condition.
  • It is more common in men than women and typically affects people of Caucasian descent.
  • In general, people with rosacea tend to flush more when they are drinking.
  • Someone who has a bulbous, swollen red nose may suffer from incorrect judgments and assumptions about their character and substance use habits.
  • Ria Health offers a proven at-home treatment to help you limit or stop your consumption of alcohol.
  • While there are no treatments that can completely reverse rhinophyma, medications and surgery can lessen the condition if caught in time.
  • Other forms of rosacea can also cause redness and swelling of the nose, which may appear similar to rhinophyma.

As it turns out, drinking alcohol (even in excessive amounts) has not been proven to directly cause rosacea. If rhinophyma has already developed, medication may be prescribed to lower inflammation and treat the condition. Common medicines used include oral or topical antibiotics and tretinoin, a topical cream. Additionally, patients will be recommended to avoid any triggers that cause their condition to flare up. Common triggers include wind, stress, sun exposure, extremely hot showers or baths, and alcohol consumption.

It should be borne in mind, however, that EMDR is not a treatment to be delivered alone in cases of trauma-related AUD. If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol abuse and addiction, The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake can help. Located on a 15-acre campus in the beautiful mountains of Colorado, our state-of-the-art facility can provide you with the ongoing support needed for lifelong addiction recovery. Contact us today to learn more about treatment programs that can help you begin the journey to a healthier, alcohol-free future. While “alcoholic nose” is not a medical condition requiring treatment, rhinophyma can be treated. The main treatment option for rhinophyma is surgery; however, there are some medications that may provide a small degree of help.

alcoholic purple nose

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However, alcohol and caffeine can both temporarily dilate blood vessels, which seems to worsen rhinophyma. Rhinophyma involves an increase in sebaceous, or oil, glands and underlying connective tissues in the face. According to 2021 research, the exact cause is still unclear, and several factors may play a role. These include a combination of conditions that affect the immune system, nerves, and blood vessels. Rhinophyma is a skin disorder that causes the nose to become enlarged.

  • Naltrexone decreases the psychological effects of alcohol, limiting the “buzz.’ Many people who experience AUD also misuse other drugs.
  • It also becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when someone experiences stigma, develops shame, and then says, “Well, why should I try?
  • Once the condition has progressed, surgery is probably the best option.
  • It is important to note that these skin-related effects may not be exclusive to alcoholics and can also occur in individuals who engage in moderate alcohol consumption.
  • Welcome to the helpline at, we are open around the clock, ensuring you can discuss treatment options for yourself or someone close to you at any time.

Is Purple Nose a Sign of Alcoholism?

Rhinophyma is typically diagnosed based on a physical examination by your local medical doctor or dermatologist. However, a skin biopsy may sometimes be necessary to rule out other conditions. Fields, why do alcoholics have big noses an early 20th-century American actor known for his heavy drinking, who called the bumps on his enlarged nose “gin blossoms”. Alcohol does not cause rhinophyma, but it can aggravate a rosacea flare-up.

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