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Alcoholic nose is also known by the medical term rhinophyma. It is a condition that causes the nose to become swollen, bumpy, and red in appearance.
Also referred to as drinker’s nose or alcohol nose, this condition may occur from a skin condition called rosacea.
Chronic alcohol use can also result in or aggravate the symptoms of alcoholic nose or drinker’s nose.
Someone with a bulbous and red nose may feel self-conscious, and it may affect their mental health.
What Does an Alcoholic Nose Look Like?
Alcoholic noses are typically red, bumpy, and swollen in appearance. It may look like a bulbous nose.
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Alcoholic nose is characterized by symptoms of rosacea, including:
In the early stages of rhinophyma, these symptoms are mild to moderate. People who have rosacea may not develop an alcoholic nose until years later in life.
Doctors are not yet clear on the direct cause of a drinker’s nose as it is different from regular weight gain. It is more common in men than women and those with fair skin and European ancestry.
People with an alcoholic nose often have a genetic predisposition to or a family history of rosacea. This is especially if treatment for the skin condition is ineffective.
Many doctors advise individuals with rosacea to avoid drinking and cooking with alcohol to prevent aggravating the skin disorder.
Alcohol consumption may not be responsible for rosacea or drinker’s nose. But it is still linked to chronic skin inflammation because it can aggravate flare-ups.
Alcohol addiction and skin disorders like rosacea are linked because alcohol can worsen existing skin conditions.
Drinking alcohol dilates the blood vessels, which makes them more likely to burst. Because of this, people who indulge in heavy drinking and have rosacea may experience side effects like an alcoholic nose.
Until recently, doctors believed that rosacea and drinker’s nose could be caused directly by drinking too much alcohol.
However, a 2015 study at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine quashed the theory that consuming alcohol and rhinophyma is connected.6
Alcohol damage does not directly cause a drinker's nose. But it can worsen rosacea, leading to a drinker's nose if left untreated.
While women develop rhinophyma, the condition is much more common in men. Those with fair skin or a family history of rosacea are also at higher risk of suffering from drinker’s nose.
Medical advice for those seeking treatment from a skin condition like rosacea includes avoiding risk factors to reduce redness and rosacea flare-ups.
Lifestyle changes to reduce rhinophyma nose involve cutting out or avoiding the following:
However, these lifestyle changes are ineffective for reducing swelling or the appearance of red bumps of a person’s nose due to rhinophyma.
Rosacea can be treated with oral antibiotics and topical creams.
Dermatologists recommend anti-acne treatments like a topical cream to moisturize dry skin resulting from rosacea. They also recommend using sunscreen to treat rhinophyma.
Surgery may be required to remove large nose bumps resulting from severe rosacea if they interfere with breathing.
No matter how severe a substance abuse problem may seem, most people with alcohol addiction can benefit from treatment.
One-third of people who receive treatment for alcohol problems have no additional symptoms one year later.5
Many others significantly reduce their drinking and report fewer alcohol-related issues.
Alcohol use disorder is a medical condition that doctors diagnose when an individual’s drinking leads to distress or harm.
Alcohol addiction can range from mild to severe and is diagnosed when someone answers ‘yes’ to two or more of the following questions:
In the past year, have you:5
If you experience any of these symptoms, your excessive alcohol consumption may be a cause for concern.
The more symptoms you have, the more urgent the need for treatment. A doctor or another health professional can formally assess your symptoms to learn if alcohol use disorder is present.
Significant advances in the medical industry for the past 60 years have brought about various treatment methods for alcohol addiction. However, there is no one-size-fits-all, and what may work for one patient may not for another.
Understanding the different options can be a helpful first step.
Behavioral treatments aim to change alcohol consumption behavior through counseling. Health professionals lead these treatments.
There are currently three medications approved in the United States to help people stop or reduce their alcohol consumption and avoid relapse.
A primary care physician or another health professional prescribes these medications. They may be used alone or with counseling treatment.
Combined with treatment from health professionals, support groups can provide a valuable extra layer of support.
However, as support groups are anonymous, it is challenging for researchers to determine their success rates compared with treatments led by health professionals.
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