Symptoms, causes and treatments of Rhinophyma: An in-depth overview

In this blog we discuss a skin condition called rhinophyma. While rhinophyma is sometimes confused with the term “drink nose,” they actually refer to two different conditions. It is a skin condition in which the nose becomes thickened and knobby due to overgrowth of the sebaceous glands and connective tissue.

In contrast, “drink nose” is not a medical term, but rather a folk myth. The idea behind a booze nose is that excessive alcohol consumption can lead to a red, swollen nose. However, it is important to emphasize that there is no direct link between drinking alcohol and the development of rhinophyma. It is mainly caused by rosacea and not alcohol consumption. One of the four forms of rosacea. More about Rosacea

We take a closer look at what exactly rhinophyma is, its possible causes and the differences between men and women regarding this condition. In addition, we will discuss various treatment options available to reduce the symptoms of rhinophyma and improve its appearance.

Causes of rhinophyma:

Rhinophyma is a form of rosacea that specifically affects the nose. It is characterized by a thickening (hypertrophy) and redness (erythema) of the skin of the nose, caused by the overgrowth and blockage of sebaceous glands. This thickening is often accompanied by groups of enlarged sebaceous glands, sebaceous gland hyperplasia and pimples (pustules).

Due to the thickening of both the skin and the underlying connective tissue, an irregular and bumpy structure of the neus. Although rhinophyma is more common in men, women can also develop this condition.

The exact cause of rhinophyma is not yet fully understood, but there are several factors that may play a role. One of the main factors is long-term and untreated rosacea. Rosacea of ​​the nose is a chronic skin condition that causes inflammation and dilates blood vessels. Over time, this can lead to the development of rhinophyma.

Other possible causes include genetic predisposition, hormonal changes, overexposure to sunlight and certain environmental or lifestyle factors. It’s important to note that not everyone with rosacea eventually develops rhinophyma. Rhinophyma usually affects whites between their fifth and seventh decade and is rare among African American populations and in Asia.

Sex differences in rhinophyma:

Rhinophyma is a skin condition that can affect both men and women, but it is more common and often more visible in men. The estimated male to female ratio of patients with rhinophyma ranges from 5:1 to 30:1. This difference in visibility is due to several factors.

Rhinophyma Male And Female
Rhinophyma Female And Male

First, men generally have greater sebum production than women. Sebaceous glands are responsible for producing sebum, an oily substance that moisturizes the skin. Increased sebum production can lead to clogging of the pores and overgrowth of the sebaceous glands, resulting in the thickening and bumpiness of the nose in rhinophyma.

In addition, the blood vessels in the nose of men are often more prone to dilation than those of women. This can lead to redness and enlargement of the blood vessels, making rhinophyma symptoms even more noticeable.

Hormonal factors also play a role in the gender differences in the prevalence of rhinophyma. Testosterone, the male sex hormone, can affect sebum production and the activity of the sebaceous glands. This explains why rhinophyma is more common in men, especially in cases where hormonal imbalances are present.

While the appearance of rhinophyma is often more pronounced in men, women can also develop this condition. Rhinophyma symptoms and treatments are generally similar regardless of gender. It is important to note that the severity and approach of treatment can vary individually depending on the specifics of the patient and the extent of the condition.

Treatment options for rhinophyma:

Rhinophyma treatment is aimed at improving its appearance and reducing any symptoms. Different treatment options are available depending on the severity of the condition.


One of the treatment options for rhinophyma is the use of topical medications. Antibiotics, such as minocin, doxycycline may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and manage symptoms. Retinoids, such as tretinoin, can also be used to reduce skin thickening and promote cell turnover

Pros: Medication can be used easily at home and generally has a lower risk of side effects compared to invasive treatments.

Cons: Effectiveness may vary depending on the severity of the condition. In addition, some people may be sensitive to side effects such as skin irritation or dryness.


Laser treatments have been shown to be effective in treating rhinophyma. Different types of lasers can be used, such as the CO2 laser and the pulsed-dye laser. These lasers can remove the thickened layers of skin, coagulate blood vessels, and improve the texture and appearance of the nose. The number of treatments required varies depending on the severity of the condition.

Advantages: Laser therapy is a non-invasive treatment with a relatively quick recovery time. It can target specific areas and often provides long-lasting results.

Cons: Multiple sessions may be required for optimal results, depending on the severity of the condition. The treatment may cause some discomfort or redness, but this is usually temporary.

Surgical procedure:

In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the excess tissue and thickened skin. This can be done using various techniques such as scalpel surgery, electrosurgery or dermabrasion. Surgical procedures are usually reserved for cases where other treatments have proven ineffective.

Benefits: Surgical procedures can bring about an immediate and dramatic change in the appearance of the nose.

Cons: It’s an invasive procedure that requires general anesthesia or local anesthesia. There may be risks and complications, such as infection, scarring, or longer recovery time.


Cryotherapy is a treatment in which the thickened skin is frozen using liquid nitrogen. This causes the tissue to die and gradually shed. Cryotherapy can help reduce the size and thickening of the nose. This treatment is not often used.

Pros: It’s a relatively simple procedure that can be done quickly with minimal recovery time.

Cons: Multiple sessions may be required for optimal results. Some discomfort and temporary changes in skin color may occur.


In dermabrasion, the top layer of the skin is abraded using a rotating instrument. This can help remove the thickened skin and improve the texture and appearance of the nose.

Benefits: It can be an effective treatment option for rhinophyma, especially in milder cases.

Cons: Dermabrasion is an invasive procedure that requires general or local anesthesia. It can cause discomfort, redness and swelling after treatment. There is also a risk of infection and scarring. Recovery time may vary and it may take some time for the skin to fully heal and for the final result to be visible.

How can Iconic Elements help you?

Rosacea can be a challenge for those who suffer from it, and the choice of skin care products is crucial to prevent further irritation. At Iconic Elements, we understand the needs of people with rosacea and have purposefully created products to help them.

Our Spotreducer Cream with Niacinamide and Ectoine provides relief for those with rosacea by reducing redness and soothing sensitive skin. This special combination of ingredients helps to even out the complexion, even for rosacea-prone skin.

In addition, we developed our Calming Cream with ingredients such as marshmallow root and Avena Sativa to soothe and hydrate sensitive skin. This product is perfect for people with rosacea as it is designed to minimize irritation.

If you are looking for effective and gentle skin care solutions for rosacea, discover our Spotreducer Cream and Calming Cream. You can now start on the path to healthier and more radiant skin, even if you have rosacea.

In other words

It is important to emphasize that the treatment of rhinophyma can vary individually and depends on the severity of the condition and the specific needs of the patient. It is advisable to see a dermatologist for a professional assessment and recommendations regarding the best treatment options for rhinophyma. Do you want more info for treatments: or visit the website:

While you are here

There is strong evidence that rosacea may be associated with so-called systemic disorders. Recent research has focused on identifying the systemic conditions that may accompany rosacea. These conditions can vary widely and include:

  • Allergies (both air and food)
  • Pulmonary diseases
  • Intestinal disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and celiac disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Diabetes mellitus type 1
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Rheuma
  • Anxiety disorders and depression

The risk of these conditions increases the more severe and longer the rosacea lasts. It is important to note that not everyone with rosacea will automatically develop these systemic conditions, but there is an increased risk in patients with severe and long-standing rosacea. More about Rosacea, not limited to the skin

Picture of Dr. Francis Wu

Dr. Francis Wu

Dr. Francis Wu, een vooraanstaande dermatoloog, is de drijvende kracht achter Iconic Elements. Hij heeft sinds 2004 zijn expertise ingezet om een veilige en effectieve huidverzorgingslijn te creëren, geschikt voor zowel gezonde huid als huidproblemen. Iconic Elements, opgericht in 2016, is de eerste brede skincare lijn in Nederland ontwikkeld door een dermatoloog. Als medisch specialist streeft Dr. Wu naar het bevorderen van het welzijn van mensen door hoogwaardige en effectieve huidverzorgingsproducten te bieden. De proefdiervrije en vegan producten vermijden schadelijke chemicaliën en bevatten natuurlijke ingrediënten.
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