Rhinophyma is a large red-colored (ruddy) nose. The nose has a bulb shape.
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 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.
Rhinophyma can be corrected with surgery. The condition may return.
Rhinophyma can cause emotional distress. This is because of the way it looks.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Contact your provider if you have symptoms of rhinophyma and would like to talk about treatment.
Bulbous nose; Nose - bulbous; Phymatous rosacea
Dinulos JGH. Acne, rosacea, and related disorders. In: Dinulos JGH, ed. Habif's Clinical Dermatology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 7.
Grande DJ. Rhinophyma. In: Lebwohl MG, Heymann WR, Coulson IH, Murrell DF, eds. Treatment of Skin Disease: Comprehensive Therapeutic Strategies. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 218.
Review Date 11/18/2022
Updated by: Elika Hoss, MD, Assistant Professor of Dermatology, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.