Do you remember that great old comic actor WC Fields from the early days of movies? He was best known for his love of alcohol and his huge, bulbous nose. That’s where the myth got started that all people with a big, red, ball of a nose are boozers. Turns out, though, that old wives’ tale is just that…a tale. Alcohol is not the cause of a bulbous nose or rhinophyma, as it is known in the medical world. Unfortunately many people automatically assume if you have a bulbous nose, you are an alcoholic. The truth is, though, even those who are complete teetotalers and don't drink at all may develop a nose that appears swollen and bumpy.
What Does a Bulbous Nose Have to Do With Drinking and Rosacea?
The exact cause of bulbous nose is unknown but one thing is for sure that it is not necessarily caused by drinking too much alcohol, though many people tend to think like this. Actually, WC Fields and other 14million people in the United States with bulbous nose may have a dermatological ailment called rosacea.
Rosacea is a skin condition that is chronic and can repeatedly flare up, go into remission, and then flare up again. It mainly affects the face, especially the nose, cheeks, forehead, and chin. In some instances, it may also spread to the ears, chest, neck, and scalp.
People over age 30 are most likely to experience symptoms of rosacea, and it is diagnosed in women more commonly than in men. However, the symptoms are often more sever in males because men tend to delay treatment until the condition becomes more advanced. It is believed there may be a link to ethnic or genetic disposition to rosacea because those descending from Irish, Scandinavian, English, Scottish or other fair-skinned heritages are common victims of the condition. Besides, this condition may also run in families.
Symptoms of rosacea begin with red areas on the skin. As the condition worsens, the redness may deepen to a dark, ruddy color and blood vessels may become visible in the affected areas. Pimples and bumps may appear and in severe cases, excess tissue may make the nose appear swollen and misshapen, creating the bulbous nose effect. The skin may thicken and develop uneven surface lumps. In rare cases the eyes may also be affected, a condition known as ocular rosacea. This makes the eyes watery and bloodshot. The eyes may also sting and burn, the lids may swell, and the development of styes is not unusual.
What Causes Rosacea and Bulbous Nose?
Many people with rosacea report that certain foods, beverages, and environmental conditions can trigger a rosacea flare-up. Not all rosacea patients are affected by the same triggers, so what irritates the condition in some may have no effect at all on others. Some of the most common triggers include:
- Exposure to the sun
- Consuming alcoholic beverages
- Spicy foods
- Certain cosmetics or skin care products
- Hot beverages
- Certain fruits
- Physical exertion
- Medications and medical conditions
- Certain vegetables
- Marinated meats
- Dairy products
When it comes to alcohol, wine seemed to most often trigger rosacea, especially red wine. Alcohol is known to dilate blood vessels which make a face that is already red appear even redder. Red wine may cause the most troublesome problems because it contains tyramines, chemicals that act similarly to histamine compounds that cause more extreme vessel dilation. For this reason many rosacea sufferers avoid alcohol or consume it in limited quantities.
Because each person with rosacea may have different triggers, it is suggested that you keep track of what you consume so you can come to a better understanding of what irritates your rosacea.
Steps for Managing Your Bulbous Nose and Rosacea
Those with bulbous should take special precautions when choosing skin care products or cosmetics. A survey conducted amongst rosacea patients teaches us that certain ingredients in these items may trigger a flare-up, which includes alcohol, witch hazel, fragrances, peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, and menthol. Choosing carefully and paring down the number of items you apply to your face may help you tame your red and irritated bulbous nose.
Lifestyle and environmental changes may also help control rosacea and sooth your bulbous nose. The key is to pinpoint your personal triggers. If you discover that certain foods make it worse, eliminate that food. If it’s alcohol, reduce your intake.
Everyone with bulbous nose and rosacea, however, should be vigilant about using sunscreen because exposure to the sun was one of the most commonly reported triggers.
Keep your face as clean as possible. Non-soap cleansers are usually your best option. Use lukewarm water to rinse your face because hot or cold temperatures exacerbate the condition. Besides, avoid using rough washcloths or scrubbers. Instead, use a non-oily moisturizer regularly to keep your skin feeling softer and less irritated.
Rosacea and bulbous nose can be a life-affecting condition. You may avoid going out because you are embarrassed by your appearance or because it is easier to avoid your triggers if you just stay home. Don't let it rule your life. If someone asks why your skin is red or your nose is bulbous, just educate them about rosacea and bulbous nose.