Alcoholic’s nose has been lampooned for centuries and has become something of a cliché in the drug addiction treatment community. However, this condition is more complicated than it may seem at first. As a result, it is critical to understand more about how it develops and why. Just as importantly, it is essential to get a high-quality treatment that minimizes the risk of this condition in both drinkers and non-drinkers.
Alcoholic Nose is a Type of Rosacea
Skin conditions often fall under a variety of different standard headings. For example, rosacea is a disease that develops due to chronic inflammation on the skin. The exact causes of this disease aren’t always known because people are often born with a predilection for this disease. For example, many Swedish, French, and German people develop this disease over time.
Of these conditions, rhinophyma – alcoholic’s nose – is probably one of the least common. However, it is one of the most obvious when it does occur. People who develop this condition experience a large, bulbous nose that is often swollen and red. Sometimes, the nose is very tender to the touch and can experience pain at various times. Often, this nose develops on those who drink very heavily.
And it is not just an aesthetically-unappealing problem, either. That’s because the swollen nature of the nose may make it harder for a person to breathe. Those with this condition often wheeze through their nose, gasp for breath, or struggle to stay fully oxygenated throughout their lives. Unfortunately, this problem is often one that is hard to fully understand because the causes are usually either poorly understood or based on myths with little scientific backing.
Causes Of This Problem
Although rhinophyma noses are associated with alcohol abuse – hence their nickname – this idea isn’t entirely accurate. Studies into this factor have found that heavy drinkers and non-drinkers can both develop this condition. However, there may still be an association between alcohol use and some cases of alcoholic’s nose. That’s because the causes, as mentioned before, are still not fully understood. That said, it is true that this condition is more likely to affect certain people than it is others.
For example, rhinophyma is commonly noted in those who are between 50-70. And most cases occur in men rather than women. While it is possible for women to develop this condition, it rarely happens. Complexion also plays a part, as fair-skinned individuals are more likely to develop it. And those from Irish, Scottish, English, Eastern European, and Scandinavian backgrounds are also more likely to experience it.
Theorized explanations beyond genetics include excessive UV ray exposure, high blood flow levels to the face, and damage to the skin. All of these influences can be quite unpredictable and may require a little professional help to manage appropriately. Thankfully, treatment options are available that can help decrease this issue. And prevention can help to reduce not only its occurrence but even help to control or reverse some of the symptoms of a rhinophyma nose.
Preventing This Problem
Prevention of rhinophyma takes on many self-care steps. First of all, you should wear sunblock on your face and nose when you go out into the sun. As this problem is a type of rosacea, it may be triggered by the sun. It would help if you also used moisturizers, rather than soap, to prevent drying out the skin even further. Make sure your moisturizer is un-perfumed to avoid any other complications with this condition.
Next, it is essential to get treatment, as needed, to decrease this problem’s severity. Most types of procedures require applying treatment directly to the nose to reduce this issue. For example, surgery can help to remove the excess tissue and keep rhinophyma from worsening. Some types of oral medications can also help, but their success is often limited in some people.
Surgeries vary from scalpels, lasers, electrosurgery, and dermabrasion. This latter technique uses wire brushes to break apart the extra layers of the skin. Each of these care options has some risk for bleeding and scarring when improperly used. Others may discolor the skin permanently. However, they provide some relief and make it easier not only to breathe but to feel confident about your appearance.
Get Help For This Condition
The moment that you start to experience the early warning signs of alcoholic’s nose, you should reach out to professionals to get help. Medical experts can assess the spread of this condition and provide support to minimize its spread. And remember – they can also help you if you do have alcoholism and need to beat it for good.
Dermatology Reports: Rosacea: A Clinical Review
Sunshine Behavioral Health: What is rhinophyma?
Medline Plus: Rhinophyma
UT Southwestern Medical Center: Rhinophyma
British Association of Dermatologists: Rhinophyma
Stat Pearl: Rhinophyma
References linked in the article