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Rhinophyma

Rhinophyma is a large, red-colored (ruddy) nose. The nose has a bulb shape.

Causes

Rhinophyma was once thought to be caused by heavy alcohol use. This is not correct. Rhinophyma occurs equally in people who do not use alcohol and in those who drink heavily. The problem is much more common in men than in women.

The cause of rhinophyma is unknown. It may be a severe form of a skin disease called rosacea. It is an uncommon disorder.

Symptoms

Symptoms include changes in the nose, such as:

  • Bulb-like (bulbous) shape
  • Many oil glands
  • Reddish color (possible)
  • Thickening of the skin
  • Waxy, yellow surface

Exams and Tests

Most of the time, a health care provider can diagnose rhinophyma without any tests. Sometimes a skin biopsy may be needed.

Treatment

The most common treatment is surgery to reshape the nose. Surgery may be done with a laser, scalpel, or rotating brush (dermabrasion). Certain acne medicines may also help treat the condition.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Rhinophyma can be corrected with surgery. The condition may return.

Possible Complications

Rhinophyma can cause emotional distress. This is because of the way it looks.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if you have symptoms of rhinophyma and would like to talk about treatment.

Alternative Names

Bulbous nose; Nose - bulbous; Phymatous rosacea

Images

References

Dinulos JGH. Acne, rosacea, and related disorders. In: Dinulos JGH, ed. Habif's Clinical Dermatology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 7.

Qazaz S, Berth-Jones J. Rhinophyma. In: Lebwohl MG, Heymann WR, Berth-Jones J, Coulson IH, eds. Treatment of Skin Disease: Comprehensive Therapeutic Strategies. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 219.

Review Date 11/10/2020

Updated by: Ramin Fathi, MD, FAAD, Director, Phoenix Surgical Dermatology Group, Phoenix, AZ. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.