Rosacea Review - Newsletter of the National Rosacea SocietyRosacea Review - Newsletter of the National Rosacea Society

rhinophyma

Dispelling the Myth of Wine and Noses

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. 

Q&A: Chronic Nasal Blockage & Heredity

Q. Is there a link between chronic nasal blockage and rosacea?

A. Chronic nasal obstruction has many potential causes, and there is no evidence linking this condition to rosacea. Even patients with rhinophyma usually can breathe well through their noses. A typical stuffy nose is commonly associated with inflammation of the mucous membranes from various causes, often allergies or viruses.

Treatment Options Used to Correct Nose Enlargement

Rhinophyma, in which the enlargement of tissue results in a bulbous and bumpy appearance of the nose in some rosacea sufferers, may usually be effectively addressed with laser surgery, according to Dr. Jeffrey Dover, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University.

"Although rhinophyma may be generally unresponsive to oral or topical therapy, it is usually very amenable to surgical approaches," he said. "Besides manual surgery, electrosurgery and lasers are often very effective in reducing the excess tissue and returning the nose to a more normal appearance."

Ignoring Doctor's Orders Leads to Rhinophyma

Joseph Sheehan may be a thick-skinned individual, but when his rosacea got out of control, it was more than he could bear.

Sheehan, a naval architect who teaches ship design, developed rosacea around 60. "At first it was basically just a redness, and oily skin around the nose," he said.

He tried a few home remedies and lived with the symptoms for about a year. Finally, he saw a dermatologist.

"He prescribed an oral antibiotic, but I didn't like the idea of having to use it indefinitely," Sheehan said. "So I never took it."

Swollen Nose Most Common in Males

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

Rhinophyma: Rosacea at its Worst Can Be Treated

The unsightly redness, papules and pustules of rosacea can be controlled with medical therapy combined with lifestyle modifications. But untreated symptoms may progress to rhinophyma, a conspicuous condition that sometimes appears at the advanced stage of this common and embarrassing disorder. Most often occurring in men, rhinophyma is the red swollen nose often mistakenly attributed to heavy drinking, such as in the case of the late comedian W. C. Fields.

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