Alcoholic Nose Rhinophyma: Can Alcohol Affect the Appearance of the Nose?
It’s hard to say when exactly this condition became linked with heavy alcohol use, but stereotypes in popular media have kept this connection alive. This chronic but treatable condition causes broken blood vessels on or near the nose, giving the red, bumpy appearance linked with an alcoholic nose. “Rhinophyma” is the medical term for “drinker’s nose”, which is a side effect of the skin condition rosacea. Contrary to popular belief, a “drinker’s nose” is not necessarily caused by alcohol addiction or abuse.
An alcoholic nose is characterized by an orange to a reddish hue, often with facial flushing, and an enlarged, engorged nose with prominent blood vessels. It is important to emphasize that at the end of the day, alcoholic nose doesn’t really have much to do with alcohol at all. Those dealing with rosacea must test while drinking alcohol and create their own boundaries to avoid severe flare-ups of the alcoholic nose. With that said, it could mean stopping drinking altogether, while for others, it could mean severely limiting their intake. Restricting your intake will greatly reduce sudden outbreaks and prevent you from developing an alcohol use disorder (AUD).
What Does ‘Alcoholic Nose’ Mean?
For heavy drinkers and those with an alcohol use disorder, the remaining alcohol leaves the body via breath, sweat, and urine. This often causes an unpleasant smell that resembles rancid alcohol. Alcohol also affects sleep, meaning eyes are often saggy and darker after long periods of alcohol consumption.
For help with rhinophyma, you can get in touch with your dermatologist or your general practitioner. They can help prescribe a lotion or medication that you can take to reduce the inflammation and lower the visible symptoms of your rosacea. In general, people with rosacea tend to flush more when they are drinking.
Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment
The diagnosis of rhinophyma is clinical and can be identified by the nose’s bulbous shape, skin pitting/scarring, and telangiectasia.  The thicker and more sebaceous nasal tip and alae are usually preferentially enlarged, but involvement can spread to the thinner nasal dorsum and sidewalls to a lesser degree. There is no known cure for alcoholic nose rhinophyma or rosacea, but treatments can help manage the symptoms. Treatments like oral and topical medicines, laser therapy, or surgical interventions such as electrosurgery, cryosurgery, or laser ablation can help. While alcohol can contribute to rosacea and rhinophyma, it does not seem to cause the conditions in the first place.
- Learn more about drinker’s nose and if drinking alcohol can affect the features of the face.
- Call us now to get help finding the ideal alcohol recovery program.
- Other alcoholism nose treatments can include nasal sprays, antihistamines, and decongestants.
- As the condition progresses, swollen blood vessels appear, then acne-like pimples.
- These will include individual and group therapy, in addition to regular, personal meetings with your treatment team to discuss both successes and barrier to recovery.
The main treatment for rhinophyma is surgery, and there are a few different options available. Oral treatments and lifestyle changes can also help control the condition. In addition to an increase in size, drinking alcohol can also lead to other physical changes to the nose.
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