While a National Rosacea Society survey showed that more women experience rosacea symptoms on the cheeks and chin, the enlargement of the nose is usually seen in men. According to a recent article by Drs. Thomas Jansen and Gerd Plewig in the new medical textbook, Clinical Dermatology, this is the ultimate reaction to rosacea in males.1
The doctors noted that, if allowed to advance, some patients will experience rosacea's most severe stage, in which the facial contours may become coarse, thickened and irregular. Often there may be an overgrowth of tissue on the nose, including the oil glands, which may form dozens of papules. This condition is known as rhinophyma.
Famous examples of rosacea sufferers who have had rhinophyma include turn-of-the-century financier J.P. Morgan, the late comedian W.C. Fields and the classic painting, "The Old Man and His Grandson," by Ghirlandiao (c. 1480).
In a National Rosacea Society survey of 2,157 rosacea sufferers, 21 percent of the male respondents said they suffered from rhinophyma, while only 8 percent of the women who responded said they had this condition.
While those afflicted with rhinophyma in the past were doomed to suffer, today laser therapy can be used to return swollen noses to normal or to remove visible blood vessels.
Jansen T, Plewig G: Rosacea. In: Clinical Dermatology. Philadelphia: Lippincott-Raven Publishers, 1997; chapter 10-7.