What is rhinophyma?

What is rhinophyma?

What is a drinker's nose?

Can you reverse Rhinophyma?

Why do noses become bulbous?

Is Rhinophyma curable?

How do you treat Rhinophyma naturally?

How quickly does Rhinophyma progress?


Rhinophyma is a skin disorder characterized by a large, red, bumpy or bulbous nose. It can occur as part of phymatous rosacea. The exact cause of rhinophyma is unknown, but it’s considered a subtype of severe rosacea. This condition is significantly more common in men, especially between the ages of 50 to 70 years.

Overall, rosacea is a common, chronic inflammatory skin condition. It causes irregular redness or flushing of your face, particularly in the cheeks or nasal areas. Small, red bumps filled with pus, called pustules, may appear on your face as part of this condition. According to the National Rosacea Society (NRS), more than 16 million Americans are affected by rosacea.

A worldwide expert panel on rosacea has identified four subtypes. The subtypes can range from mild to severe. It isn’t unusual for individuals to have more than one subtype.

Rhinophyma is classified as part of subtype 3 rosacea. It forms gradually over several years and is believed to be the result of poorly treated or untreated rosacea. The outcome is usually a large mass on the lower half of your nose.

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What is a drinker's nose?

The condition known colloquially as “alcoholic nose” or “drinker’s nose” is also known as rhinophyma. Rhinophyma is characterized by redness on and around the nose as well as an enlarged or lumpy appearance of the nose. 

Rhinophyma is a particular skin condition. Usually, rhinophyma involves reddening of the nose and a noticeably bulbous nose, which means that the nose becomes enlarged, more pronounced, and rounder. 


How to prevent rhinophyma

There’s no known way to prevent rhinophyma. However, some factors can increase blood flow to the surface of your skin and aggravate rosacea symptoms. Experts recommend avoiding these potential triggers in order to limit flare-ups:

  • hot foods and beverages
  • spicy foods
  • alcohol
  • caffeine
  • very hot or very cold temperatures
  • exposure to sunlight
  • emotional stress and anxiety
  • strenuous exercise

Experts also recommend a healthy skin care routine for individuals with rosacea regardless of the subtype. This includes:

  • regular sunscreen use with SPF 15 or higher and UVA/UVB protection
  • sensitive skin or hypoallergenic skin moisturizer
  • proper eye care when needed such as artificial tears and safe cleansing

Educating yourself and others about the cause of rosacea or rhinophyma may help remove social stigmas around the disorder. Support groups and networks can connect you with others who have rosacea. They may offer information about coping with the physical and emotional effects of the disorder.

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Can you reverse Rhinophyma?

One study estimated that 3–10 percent of people with rhinophyma have occult basal cell carcinoma, a type of cancer. Without treatment, severe rhinophyma may lead to deformity, which can cause embarrassment or distress. Successful surgical treatment can help to prevent this.

There is currently no cure for rhinophyma, and the symptoms can return after surgery.

Long-term medication and other treatment options, such as regular dermabrasion, may help.

Treating rhinophyma as early as possible will give the person the best chance of avoiding permanent disfigurement and prolonged symptoms.

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Why do noses become bulbous?

It's caused by a common skin condition called rosacea. If the rosacea is not properly treated or controlled, within a few years the nose can grow and become bulbous.

Risk factors include gender and age. Rhinophyma occurs more often in men than in women. The condition gradually develops after the onset of the initial stages of rosacea, which typically happen between the ages of 25 and 50.

You’re at a higher risk for more severe rosacea and rhinophyma if you have:

  • fair skin
  • an Irish, English, Scottish, Scandinavian or Eastern European racial background
  • a family history of rosacea

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Is Rhinophyma curable?

Rhinophyma can be treated with medicines or surgery. You and your doctor can decide which treatment option would be best for you.


Typically, once rhinophyma develops, it doesn’t respond well to medications. Medications may be successful in treating less severe cases and other subtypes of rosacea. These include:

  • topical and oral antibiotics to reduce inflammation and redness, such as metronidazole, sulfacetamide, tetracycline, erythromycin (Erythrocin Stearate), and minocycline (Minocin)
  • topical medications that help minimize inflammation, such as tretinoin (Retin-A) and azelaic acid (Azelex)
  • oral capsules that prevent skin glands from producing oil, such as oral isotretinoin


Surgery is the most common treatment of rhinophyma. Enlarged blood vessels and tissue overgrowth can cause disfigurement. This can be permanent if the affected area isn’t removed. Surgery is the preferred treatment for most cases. It’s considered the most effective option for long-term success.

The following surgical treatments and methods are commonly used to restore the appearance of your nose:

  • surgery using a scalpel
  • laser resurfacing with carbon dioxide laser
  • cryosurgery, which uses extremely cold temperatures to freeze and remove abnormal tissue
  • dermabrasion, which uses a small, rotating tool to take off the top layers of skin

Surgical treatment can:

  • reshape a disfigured nose
  • remove overgrowth of tissue
  • minimize enlarged blood vessels
  • improve cosmetic appearance

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How do you treat Rhinophyma naturally?

Always talk with your doctor about changes to your skin. While rosacea is typically fairly benign, skin changes may indicate a more serious underlying condition that needs medical treatment.

If you’re diagnosed with rosacea without more serious underlying causes, you have options. Before you seek prescription medication and if your rosacea isn’t too extreme you may want to try some of the following.

Aloe vera

Gel from the inner leaf of the aloe vera plant is emollient and moisturizing. It can be successful as a topical remedy for rosacea.

Many moisturizers contain aloe. You can use these and follow package directions. Or, harvest a leaf from a live aloe plant and apply inner gel directly to your skin. It’s possible to be sensitive or allergic to aloe vera, so do a patch test before you apply it to larger areas.


Burdock is available as a supplement, extract, or food.

As an edible remedy, burdock root can purify your liver and clear up skin conditions such as acne. Burdock plant extract can be an effective treatment for rosacea.


Like aloe, chamomile is common in moisturizing skin products. It’s often used topically in herbal treatment for inflamed skin.

Many studiesTrusted Source support it as a successful remedy. Purchase a moisturizing product containing natural chamomile and use it by following label directions.

Chamomile essential oil can be diluted and applied, too. You can also make chamomile tea, wait for it to cool, and apply as a skin wash or compress.

Coconut Oil

Moisturizers like coconut oil are popular for all sorts of inflammatory skin conditions, including rosacea.

There aren’t recent studies showing coconut oil to be effective for rosacea. Still, it could help as a known anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and moisturizer.

Apply a small amount of high quality coconut oil to your skin. You can also use it as a carrier oil for appropriate essential oils if desired.


Comfrey is a plant that produces a compound called allantoin. This compound has drawn attention for alleviating skin reactions.

A 2017 study on a product containing allantoin found it improved symptoms with virtually no side effects. It also reduced redness and appearance.

Find products such as creams, lotions, or salves that contain natural comfrey or allantoin and follow label directions.


Feverfew is another plant frequently named as a natural rosacea remedy.

Feverfew has antioxidant qualities. It’s also known to protect against UV exposure, somewhat like a mild sunscreen. UV exposure is sometimes known to worsen rosacea.

Be sure to use topical feverfew products that are parthenolide-free. Parthenolides may increase skin sensitivity.

Green tea

Green tea is very rich in antioxidants and is available as a tea and herbal supplement. Research has shown it can be effective in the treatment of rosacea.

Antioxidants are helpful for inflammation, including skin conditions. As such, green tea may be a popular ingredient in skin products and creams for rosacea. Applying topical products with green tea is the best method for treating rosacea.

Cooled green tea may also be used as a compress and you can drink the tea for numerous health benefits, too.

Lavender essential oil

Different essential oils may be used topically to improve rosacea. Of all these, lavender is the best-studied and easiest to obtain.

Dilute lavender essential oil in a carrier oil and apply to your skin. Or, mix some drops in your favorite moisturizer. Use about five drops per ounce of product.


Niacinamide is a B vitamin found in foods. It’s not to be confused with niacin or vitamin B-3.

It’s extracted into creams and lotions for topical skin conditions. Niacinamide is especially good for preventing and relieving skin flushing, which happens with rosacea.

Purchase creams containing niacinamide from reliable companies and follow label directions.


Oatmeal is a long-time home remedy for rosacea. It’s thought to strengthen skin and reduce water loss, which can worsen the condition. Oatmeal may also help itching.

Some skin products, like face masks, include oatmeal as an ingredient these are great options.

You can also mix a couple tablespoons of oatmeal with water and apply directly to your skin.

Raw honey

Some types of honey, especially raw honey, may be effective and easy relievers for rosacea.

This may be because honey helps skin retain moisture and dryness worsens rosacea. In a 2015 study, a type of honey called kanuka honey was shown to be very effective against rosacea.

Purchase a high quality, raw honey. Kanuka or manuka honey is recommended. Apply a small amount directly to your skin.

Tea tree essential oil

Tea tree oil is useful for all sorts of skin conditions because of its anti-inflammatory properties. It can also help itching.

There aren’t many studies on tea tree oil for rosacea specifically. Still, its evidence for helping similar skin conditions makes it a great contender.

Tea tree essential oil can be diluted in a carrier oil and applied directly to your skin.


Turmeric is a famous herbal anti-inflammatory. It may be recommended for painful and inflamed rosacea symptoms. You can also eat the herb or use it in cooking for its numerous health benefits.

Try applying turmeric essential oil diluted in a carrier oil. Some creams and lotions contain turmeric. You can also mix turmeric powder with water and apply it to your skin as a poultice.

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How quickly does Rhinophyma progress?

Without therapy and lifestyle changes, phymatous rosacea may worsen over time. A small study in Korea reported that it took an average of 8.2 years for rhinophyma to progress from its onset to its severest form. Not only can rhinophyma cause the nose to become deformed, but it can obstruct the nasal passage, leading to difficulty in breathing. 

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1What is the treatment for Rhinophyma?
Treatment of rhinophyma topical and oral antibiotics to reduce inflammation and redness, such as metronidazole, sulfacetamide, tetracycline, erythromycin (Erythrocin Stearate), and minocycline (Minocin) topical medications that help minimize inflammation, such as tretinoin (Retin-A) and azelaic acid (Azelex)
2What is the cause of Rhinophyma?
Rhinophyma is a skin disorder that causes the nose to enlarge and become red, bumpy, and bulbous. It is thought to result from untreated, severe rosacea, a chronic inflammatory skin condition that causes facial redness on the nose and cheeks.
3What is a drinker's nose?
Rhinophyma, or alcoholic nose, causes the nose to be swollen, red and bumpy in appearance. ... Alcohol nose, or drinkers nose, is a skin condition commonly characterized by a bumpy, red or swollen appearance of the nose and cheeks.۲۵ مرداد ۱۳۹۸
4Can Rhinophyma be reversed?
There is currently no cure for rhinophyma, and the symptoms can return after surgery. Long-term medication and other treatment options, such as regular dermabrasion, may help. Treating rhinophyma as early as possible will give the person the best chance of avoiding permanent disfigurement and prolonged symptoms.

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