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Drinker's Nose - All About Rhinophyma, AKA Alcoholic Nose

Step One: Drug and Alcohol Detox

If you or someone you know is a heavy drinker, then you will likely have to learn about Rhinophyma or similar conditions at some point in your life. The symptoms make many alcoholics and heavy drinkers readily identifiable to others. This can be both embarrassing and a sign that something needs to change. Additionally, many people with Rhinophyma feel very self-conscious about their appearance.

So, what exactly is Rhinophyma? How long does it take to set in? Does it only happen to alcoholics? What can you do to avoid the condition? And finally, what are the treatment options if you or someone you know already has Rhinophyma? In today’s guide, we will answer all of these questions and more, but first, let’s look at the basic signs and symptoms of the condition.

What Is Rhinophyma?

First, it is important to note that Rhinophyma is frequently confused with other alcohol-related conditions. In fact, Rhinophyma goes by many different colloquial names, including drinker’s nose, alcoholic nose, gin blossom nose, and booze nose. However, the reality is that study after study has shown little direct correlation between Rhinophyma and frequent or heavy alcohol consumption. However, this does not mean that alcoholism and Rhinophyma do not share some similarities and potentially affect one another. The confusion lies in the underlying causes of Rhinophyma.

Rhinophyma is a condition that causes the nose to get larger, turn red, and have a bumpy texture. It is often believed to be the result of untreated cases of severe rosacea, a disorder that causes red discoloration of the face. This is where alcohol comes into play. Regular alcohol consumption has been linked with an increased chance of developing rosacea. Therefore, heavy drinkers have a higher chance of getting rosacea and potentially Rhinophyma. However, non-drinkers can also get Rhinophyma, which is why many researchers are working to debunk the myth that the condition is just another sign of alcoholism.

However, the truth is that getting a purple nose or red nose from drinking alcohol is usually a temporary condition. When you consume alcohol, your blood vessels open up. This causes greater blood flow to the skin, causing a red coloration on the nose and face that is frequently mistaken for either rosacea or Rhinophyma. If someone suffers from alcoholism and drinks most days or nights, they will likely have red skin on the nose and face most of the time, even if they do not have either of the aforementioned conditions.

Early Stage Rhinophyma

Rhinophyma is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition with no known cause. However, as previously mentioned, research indicates that it can occur when severe cases of rosacea are left untreated. In any case, the exact Rhinophyma causes are elusive. For this reason, early stage Rhinophyma can be hard to detect and diagnose. Naturally, you may notice if the skin on your face and nose appears red or blotchy, but this symptom could be attributed to a wide variety of causes, from dietary changes to stress. Consequently, most people do not even know that they have the condition until it has become moderately severe.

That said, early-stage mild Rhinophyma is characterized by broken capillaries on the face, particularly on the nose. This is the primary cause of the red or purple color. Over time, this discoloration can become more and more severe. After early Rhinophyma passes, the skin of the nose will often harden, becoming larger and more bulbous in the process. When the shape of the nose starts to change, this is when most people realize that they have more than just mild rosacea or skin discoloration.

If you’re worried that you might have Rhinophyma, you should obviously speak to your doctor and get a proper diagnosis. However, you should also consider your own demographics to see if you are a likely candidate for the condition. It is important to remember that Rhinophyma is most common in Caucasian men between the ages of 50 to 70. If you do not fit into this category and are starting to experience redness in the face, it could be a sign of rosacea or another skin condition entirely. Either way, you should talk to your doctor as soon as possible to determine the best treatment option for you.

Generally, the signs and symptoms of Rhinophyma appear gradually in cycles. This is why it is good to try to catch the condition as early as possible. If left untreated, the early-stage symptoms can worsen and grow to include some or all of the following:

  • Slow growth and change in the appearance of the nose
  • A greater number of large, visible oil glands
  • Enlarged pores
  • Increasingly red or purple skin color
  • Thickened skin
  • Waxy, hard, or yellowish skin flakes

Rhinophyma Treatment

Unfortunately, surgery is one of the only treatments available for Rhinophyma. There is no way to completely reverse the condition without Rhinophyma removal. That said, there are different medical approaches involved in Rhinophyma surgery, including:

  • Reshaping the nose to resemble its pre-Rhinophyma appearance
  • Removal of excess tissue on the nose
  • Reducing the number of enlarged blood vessels
  • Improving overall appearance
  • Enhancing breathing ability in severe cases

Naturally, your surgeon will determine the best methods for the removal of excess tissue and reshaping of your nose. If your doctor is able to diagnose Rhinophyma early on, the surgery could be relatively minor. However, if Rhinophyma is left untreated, you could require more complex surgeries with skin grafts.

Additionally, very early or mild cases of Rhinophyma may be treatable with less invasive cosmetic procedures, like laser resurfacing or dermabrasion. It all depends on the nature of your condition and how quickly you seek out treatment. In some cases, you may need to treat the potential underlying causes, which may include rosacea and/or alcoholism.

Get Help For An Alcohol Addiction

As you can see, there is still a lot to be learned about Rhinophyma and its causes. That said, it is believed to be caused by rosacea, which can be directly linked with excessive alcohol consumption. Therefore, one of the best ways to avoid Rhinophyma is to reduce alcohol consumption and, in cases of alcohol addiction, treat your alcoholism.

Alcohol is one of the most widely abused drugs on the planet. As a result, millions of people suffer silently from alcoholism each and every day. Not only can this negatively affect your health, but it can also have a devastating effect on your relationships, finances, studies, and work life. So, rather than continuing the vicious cycle of alcoholism, consider reaching out to an alcohol rehab and detox center for help.

Fortunately, Prosperity Haven offers a full-service alcohol treatment program tailored to the needs of each individual. Whether you are reaching out to us to help yourself or someone you love, do not hesitate to start the healing and recovery process. After all, it is never too soon to overcome alcohol addiction.

Is your child, friend, coworker, parent, or spouse struggling with their alcohol addiction? Are you looking for treatment options that target each patient’s specific needs? Finally, are you in need of a comprehensive alcohol addiction treatment center that provides a wide range of effective treatment options? If so, feel free to contact the experts at Prosperity Haven to learn more.


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