Rhinophyma or Red, Bulbous Nose Is a Treatable Form of Late Stage Rosacea

Rhinophyma or the red, bulbous nose features commonly seen in older men is an imminently treatable medical condition.  This condition, which is caused by an overgrowth of the sebaceous or oily glands of the nose, is an end result of the common skin condition Rosacea.  Rosacea affects approximately 14 million Americans and is characterized by diffuse redness and capillaries of the central zone of the face including the forehead, nose, eyelids, cheeks and chin. Bacteria and overactive sebaceous glands also contribute to pustule and nodule formation.  Over a period of time, untreated Rosacea leads to overgrowth of the sebaceous glands primarily of the nose leading to the characteristic condition Rhinophyma.

Optimal treatment of this condition always starts with prevention.  Retinoid creams as well as topical antibiotics like Metrogel are the most commonly prescribed medications. Occasionally oral antibiotics are prescribed during acute breakouts.  Additional preventive measures include wearing sunscreen, topical Vitamin C, and avoiding exacerbating foods, alcohol, extreme weather conditions, and stress.  The “old wives” tale that excess alcohol consumption caused Rhinophyma comes from the flushing of the overactive blood vessels of the face and nose characteristic of alcohol use.  Treatment of the redness and ruddy appearance of the skin is typically treated by a series of non-ablative Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatments or several different wavelengths   of lasers that target the red blood cell components in the skin.

Correction of the bulbous appearance of the nose involves a series of different resurfacing procedures.   Dermabrasion, shaving and laser resurfacing are the most commonly used procedures to smooth the texture of the nose back to its normal state.  These procedures are typically done under local anesthesia or IV sedation as an outpatient.  Recovery occurs in stages.  The nose heals in about a week, is red for several more weeks, and then returns to its normal state in a much improved form.  Maintenance of the result involves the use of the topical rosacea treatments discussed and IPL treatments to manage the re-growth of capillaries. Patients and their loved ones are typically very happy with the dramatic improvement in the appearance of the nose.  Call to schedule a complimentary consultation.

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