Alcoholic Nose: What Is It? What Causes It?

There were also significant association with erythema and telangiectasia, diabetes, and family history of rhinophyma. Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available. Some doctors may opt for dermabrasion and cryosurgery along with lasers and electrical currents.

  • The second study also found a connection between drinking and rosacea.
  • Sometimes known as the ‘alcohol flush’, this phenomenon often has nothing to do with rosacea, but rather a sensitivity to certain types of alcohol.
  • A total of 108 patients underwent cold knife tangential excision among eight studies.
  • Analysis revealed a significant correlation between alcohol intake and severity of rhinophyma, with a heightened risk among moderate drinkers and the highest risk among excessive drinkers.
  • The truth is that studies have shown there is very little, if any, connection between alcohol use and rhinophyma.

When left untreated, the skin condition rosacea can cause the nose to grow or become bulbous in appearance. Widened blood vessels caused by heavy drinking allow more blood to travel to right beneath the skin’s surface, which gives the face a more flushed or red appearance. Alcohol use disorder and skin conditions like rosacea are connected because of the potential for alcohol to worsen existing skin conditions. The condition gradually develops after the onset of the initial stages of rosacea, which typically happen between the ages of 25 and 50. Later, the nasal skin grows and the tip of the nose becomes larger.

How Rosacea And Alcohol Abuse Lead To Drinker’s Nose

While everyone has varying levels of sensitivity to wine, the alcohol flush is more commonly reported with red wines over white wines. Recent studies have debunked this assumption after many patients who did not suffer from alcoholism or consume alcohol on a regular basis have been clinically diagnosed with rhinophyma. why do alcoholics have big noses While the exact cause of rhinophyma is unknown, it is suspected that circulatory issues and vascular irregularities can help to aggravate the condition. Keeping alcohol’s influence on the vascular system in mind, there are certain cases where heavy consumption of alcohol could contribute to the symptoms of rhinophyma.

It is important to understand what defines alcohol abuse before trying to identify if a loved one is suffering from it. Full blown rhinophyma is characterized by obvious changes to the size, shape, and skin of the nose. Often times, large, bulb-like growths will appear near the tip of the nasal passage. Rhinophyma symptoms will usually begin with the reddening of the skin on and near the nose. Over a time frame of six months up to several years, this reddening will continue to worsen and growths may become noticeable, especially near the tip of the nose.

Treatment For Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol addiction can lead to a number of side effects, which may include affecting rosacea. With time, alcohol abuse can worsen rosacea and contribute to the development of rhinophyma (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. When diagnosed with rhinophyma, it’s important to follow up with your doctor. Individuals with this condition are at risk for skin cancer within the affected tissue.

Topical retinoids might also be recommended for anyone who catches the condition in its early stages. However, in people who don’t typically drink much alcohol, an occasional bout of drunk hiccups is likely nothing to be worried about, although the spasms can be a pain to get rid of. If a loved one seems to be only hanging out with friends while drinking, or if they have been recently flaky on professional responsibilities such as attending work or school, this can be a sign of alcohol abuse. When talking to a loved one regarding alcohol abuse, it is not unusual for them to be defensive or even lie about their drinking habits, which can make it difficult to convince them they need rehab.


Rhinophyma is a skin condition that causes a large red, bulbous nose. It’s a severe form of rosacea, a chronic skin condition that causes redness and bumps on the face. Treatment is important because rhinophyma can cause breathing trouble when the airways become blocked. 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.

  • Many people who did not drink alcohol regularly or who were not suffering from alcohol use disorder have been diagnosed with the condition.
  • Early stages of the condition are characterized by a warm, flushing of the cheeks that feels and looks similar to a sunburn.
  • Rosacea can often appear on the outside to be an acne outbreak or natural coloring on the cheeks.

In some cases, surgical treatment can improve appearance and help ease anxiety. They may be able to make a diagnosis by simply asking about your medical history and performing a physical exam. A skin biopsy may occasionally be required to confirm the diagnosis, especially in rare cases where the condition doesn’t respond to treatment. Over time, the number of sebaceous glands and the changes in connective tissue increase, which can result in progressive deformity. Once acne rosacea progresses to rhinophyma, the skin covering the nose increases in size and the tip of the nose expands. Additionally, a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology noted that alcohol consumption increases the risk of rosacea in women.

Does Alcohol Lead to Alcoholic Nose?

Treating rhinophyma tends to be a two-fold process, depending on how advanced the case is. Keep reading to learn the real causes behind rhinophyma and how to put an end to the damage.

rhinophyma and alcoholism

Also referred to as “drinker’s nose,” this condition may be the result of rosacea as well as alcohol abuse. “The authors proposed that this connection between alcohol intake and rhinophyma may be because alcohol is such a strong inducer of flushing and vasodilation,” Dr. Baldwin said. The researchers theorized that genetic predisposition is likely a critical factor for developing rhinophyma, since alcohol consumption alone is not sufficient to cause the condition. The distal nose is degloved by raising six flaps 2–3 mm based on subunits (two alar, two nasal sidewall, one dorsum, one soft triangle). The skin flaps are re-draped over the nose and quilting sutures obliterate dead space. Excess skin from the “tissue expanded effect” of chronic phymatous growth is removed.

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