Sometimes there’s some truth to the myth. The red, swollen and bumpy nose of rosacea was long associated in popular discourse with heavy alcohol consumption; it’s been historically referred to as drinker’s nose, and W.C. Fields referred to the bumps on his trademark nose as “gin blossoms.” The reality, however, is that even those who have never had a drop of alcohol can develop rosacea and a red nose — but now a new study suggests that excessive drinking may indeed be a factor in the severity of this condition.1
Before the advent of modern medicine, it was commonly believed that rosacea was a side effect of excessive drinking. Today, of course, we know that rosacea is not a symptom of alcoholism, nor is there any reason to think that people with rosacea necessarily drink more than the average adult — in fact, even a teetotaler may have the condition.
Yet despite the increased information and awareness about rosacea, the misconception persists. Ruddy cheeks and bumps and pimples were even used in the recent film Girl on the Train to telegraph the protagonist’s struggle with alcohol.
Results of a new survey by the National Rosacea Society (NRS) dispelled the common myth that rosacea usually affects people between the ages of 30 and 50, and also found that new signs and symptoms may develop decades after the initial onset of the condition.
In the NRS survey of 1,391 rosacea patients, only 43 percent said their rosacea first appeared between the ages of 30 and 50, while 39 percent reported that the disorder occurred after age 50 and an additional 17 percent said they developed rosacea prior to age 30.
You may have heard them before: hushed whispers or suspicious comments about your appearance. Because rosacea is often misunderstood, here are some tips to keep handy for those uncomfortable moments when you just need to get the truth out about rosacea.