alcoholic nose

If you have never heard about alcoholic nose, read on to learn all about it.

Alcoholic nose, or rhinophyma, is a type of skin condition that changes the size and shape of the nose. Alcoholic nose, or drinker’s nose, is a subtype of rosacea that may occur among older Caucasian men who have an alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Excessive alcohol use can lead to many health problems. Alcoholic nose is not necessarily caused by alcoholism, but alcohol can cause broken blood vessels. It can also cause skin conditions like rosacea to worsen. To learn more about alcoholic nose and other long-term effects of alcohol abuse, read on.

What is Alcoholic Nose?

Alcoholic nose is a skin problem that causes the nose to take on a red, bumpy, swollen appearance. Someone with this condition might also have a red rash on their cheeks. The redness is caused by inflammation of the facial skin. As a result, broken blood vessels occur, causing the “drinker’s nose” appearance.

What is Rosacea?

Rosacea is a skin condition that is thought to be the true source of an alcoholic nose. The facial flushing linked to rosacea is the actual source of the drinker’s nose, versus a direct link to alcoholism. Alcohol, however, can aggravate rosacea.

Rosacea features an irregular coloration of the skin, namely blotches of red inflamed skin. This will present itself as small, red bumps, and sometimes pustules, on the cheeks and nose. When the problem is not treated, it can cause the nose to enlarge over time. This leads to a bulbous shape that is known as a drinker’s nose.

Alcoholic Nose Symptoms

Flare-ups of skin inflammation, or facial flushing is the key feature of rhinophyma, or alcoholic nose. Symptoms of this skin condition include:

  • Bulb-like growths at the tip of the nose.
  • Dry skin.
  • Broken blood vessels.
  • Skin burns and stings when using facial products.
  • Tiny pimples or red bumps
  • Thickened nose skin

What Causes Alcoholic Nose?

While in prior years it was thought that alcoholic nose was caused by AUD, now it has been decided that there is no direct link between the two. This is because there are many, many alcoholics who do not have this issue.

Instead, it is now thought that an alcoholic nose is a subtype of rosacea. There can be a link between alcohol and flushed facial appearance, but that is about as close as it gets. The rosacea itself is believed to be caused by genetics, with a higher rate of rhinophyma among fair-skinned males. It is also thought to be related to an overactive immune system.

Treatment for Alcoholic Nose

Rosacea is treated by a mix of meds, laser therapy, and by avoiding known triggers. Some of the drugs used to treat this condition include:

  • Mirvaso
  • Rhofade
  • Azelex
  • Finacea
  • Metrogel
  • Oracea
  • Claravis

Laser therapy helps reduce the enlarged blood vessels, making them less visible. Because laser therapy is a cosmetic procedure, most health plans will not cover this.

By noticing the things that cause flare ups you can avoid these and better control the rosacea. Some common triggers include:

  • Red wine and other alcoholic drinks.
  • Spicy foods.
  • Sunlight
  • Stress
  • Hairspray touching the face.
  • Certain skin products.
  • Wind and cold.
  • Certain foods
  • Hot drinks
  • Being overheated.
  • Some drugs.

By treating the alcohol nose symptoms early instead of ignoring them you can reduce the visible changes to the nose.

Signs of an Alcohol Use Disorder

Because alcohol is a known trigger for this skin condition, it is important to be aware of your drinking habits. The CDC has outlined what they consider safe levels of drinking. These guidelines include:

  • Excess drinking is 8 or more drinks in a week for women and 15 or more drinks in a week for men.
  • Binge drinking is 4 or more drinks in a single session for women and 5 or more drinks in a single session for men.

A “drink” is defined as a 12-ounce beer, 8 ounces of malt liquor, 5 ounces or wine, or 1½ ounces of liquor.

You may have an AUD, which would only cause the symptoms of rosacea to worsen.

Signs of an AUD include:

  • Increased tolerance for alcohol, leading to more consumption.
  • Neglect obligations at home or at work.
  • Begin to obsess about drinking and plan the day around drinking.
  • A decline in work performance.
  • Loss of a job due to absences caused by hangovers.
  • Telling lies about how much you drink.
  • Hiding alcohol around the house or at work.
  • Waking up sick and then drinking to relieve it.
  • Getting into an auto accident or a DUI arrest.
  • Relationship problems.
  • Continue to drink even with the adverse consequences.
  • Attempt to quit drinking but cannot.
  • Have withdrawal symptoms when effects of the alcohol wear off.

Getting Help for Alcoholism

After being assessed for an AUD, if there is a drinking problem noted then treatment will likely be recommended. Treatment for AUD starts with detox and withdrawal.

During detox a range of withdrawal symptoms will begin to emerge about 6-12 hours after the last drink. The symptoms may include:

  • Sweating
  • Headaches
  • Stomach distress.
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Hand tremors.
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Sleep disturbances.
  • Increased heart rate.
  • Increased blood pressure.
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Disorientation
  • DTs

Detox pros will guide you through the process and offer meds to help minimize the discomforts.

After completing detox, a rehab program will help you change your compulsive drinking habits. This involves gaining an awareness of the unhealthy thought patterns that lead to the need for alcohol. Programs are offered in either outpatient or inpatient formats, and last 28 days to six months in duration.

If you have noticed the signs of an alcoholic nose, and have an AUD, it is best to treat both of these conditions at the same time.

Ken Seeley Communities Provides Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder

Ken Seeley Communities is a top addiction treatment program in California. Your recovery journey begins with alcohol detox and continues with a well-rounded treatment program. KSC covers all the bases, from interventions to detox to outpatient or inpatient rehab to sober living housing. Call us today for more details about our program at (877) 774-0502.

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