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Rhinophyma and Alcohol: Debunking Myths and Establishing Facts

Rhinophyma, a skin disorder known for its association with severe rosacea, often triggers significant cosmetic concerns due to its characteristic manifestation: a large, bulbous, red nose. A prevailing misconception links the onset of rhinophyma to heavy alcohol consumption. In this article, we aim to demystify this association, delve into the science behind rhinophyma, and discern the role alcohol plays in its development.

Understanding Rhinophyma

Rhinophyma is a subtype of rosacea, a chronic skin condition that causes facial redness and swelling. Primarily affecting the nose, rhinophyma leads to an overgrowth of the sebaceous (oil) glands, resulting in a bulbous, thickened nose. This condition is more common in men, particularly between the ages of 50 and 70.

The Alcohol-Rhinophyma Myth

The belief that rhinophyma is directly linked to alcohol consumption likely arises from the condition’s historic portrayal in literature and media. In reality, while alcohol can exacerbate rosacea symptoms, there’s no definitive scientific evidence to support the notion that alcohol consumption causes rhinophyma.

The Science Behind the Rhinophyma-Alcohol Relationship

Alcohol can dilate the blood vessels, causing the skin to appear flushed and red—an effect that is particularly noticeable in rosacea patients. However, it’s important to note that alcohol-induced vasodilation is temporary and does not result in the thickening of the skin or the formation of excess tissue, which characterizes rhinophyma.

Although alcohol may aggravate rosacea symptoms, its influence is no more significant than other triggers such as hot beverages, spicy foods, stress, and certain skincare products. Therefore, while moderate to heavy drinking may lead to rosacea flare-ups, it doesn’t necessarily drive the progression from rosacea to rhinophyma.


The connection between alcohol and rhinophyma is a nuanced one. While alcohol can worsen rosacea symptoms, it’s not a proven causative agent for rhinophyma. This dispels the longstanding myth, highlighting the importance of separating fact from fiction in understanding skin disorders.

Further, recognizing the lack of a direct correlation between alcohol consumption and rhinophyma can prevent unjust stigmatization of patients, leading to better social acceptance and improved mental wellbeing.

In managing rosacea and preventing rhinophyma, lifestyle modifications such as sun protection, gentle skincare, stress management, and trigger avoidance can be beneficial. As always, medical advice should be sought for diagnosis and treatment options.


  1. “Rhinophyma.” Mayo Clinic, 2021. URL:
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rhinophyma/symptoms-causes/syc-20351028
  3. “Alcohol and Rosacea: Is There a Link?” Medical News Today, 2021. URL: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/315754
  4. “Rosacea.” American Academy of Dermatology Association. URL: https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/rosacea

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 27, 2023

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