Rhinophyma is a skin condition that is characterized by a large, swollen, red and bulbous or bumpy nose. It is actually the advanced form of acne rosacea, which is known to cause red swelling and inflammation on the face, neck and scalp. The condition is actually much more common than one might think, as about 13 million people in the U.S. have rosacea and could potentially develop rhinophyma. Keeping rosacea in check, and treating it if you know you have the condition is the best way to avoid the disfiguring course of rhinophyma. If you have already developed rhinophyma, as with most things, treating it early can make treatment easier and much more affective. Those most at risk or most likely to develop rhinophyma are white men in middle age.
What causes the rhinophyma condition?
The exact cause of rhinophyma is not clear, but it is known to be a progressive disorder that happens in long-term cases of acne rosacea. In the condition, the sebaceous glands, or oil glands, in the tip of the nose become enlarged an overgrown, although the condition itself is not malignant. Alcoholism used to be thought of as the cause, but that theory has since been disproven.
What are the symptoms of rhinophyma?
The symptoms of rhinophyma affect the size, shape and look of the nose itself. Here are some common signs of the condition:
· Bulbous shape
· Enflamed or swollen nose
· Many oil glands
· Reddish color
· Thickening of the skin
· Waxy, yellow surface
· Prominent pores
· Fibrous thickening of the nose
How is rhinophyma treated?
One of the most effective treatments, which not exactly a treatment at all, is to avoid things that trigger rosacea and cause it to flare up. Some of the most common triggers to avoid are sun exposure, stress, strenuous exercise, alcohol and spicy food. Below are also some treatment that are recommended for this condition:
· Topical or oral antibiotics
· Topical creams
· Outpatient pulse dye laser therapy to help shrink the nose to normal size
· Carbon dioxide laser therapy to remove excess tissue and improve nose contour
· Dermabrasion to remove the top one or two layers of skin to sculpt and reduce the size of the nose
· Tissue removal with a scalpel
Although the condition is not malignant, treatment is recommended. If left untreated, the enlargement of the nose can make breathing difficult (especially through the nose) and for some even cause the collapse of the nostrils. Standard rosacea treatments like creams and antibiotics are the typical course of action, but because it is a more advanced stage of rosacea most people with rhinophyma need stronger treatments. These stronger treatments include lasers, dermabrasion, or surgical tissue removal. To keep rhinophyma at bay after treatment, continuing treatment for rosacea long-term is likely necessary.