A bright-red swollen nose is something most people associate with over consumption of alcohol, but it is more likely to be due to rosacea — a skin condition which develops in adulthood. While the exact cause of rosacea is not known, and it is not caused by alcohol consumption, drinking alcohol can make rosacea worse in people who already have it.
The first signs of rosacea are usually a persisting redness of the face mainly on the cheeks and nose. The person affected may appear to be blushing or to be sunburnt. This redness is due to enlargement of the blood vessels under the skin. Small lumps may appear, sometimes filled with pus, which make the appearance very similar to acne. The condition used to be called ‘acne rosacea’ for this reason. Sometimes these lumps join together on the nose causing the distinctive red swollen nose known as rhinophyma.
Rosacea may get worse with the passage of time. There is no cure but the condition can be controlled. Often long-term use of an antibiotic will help and various lotions and creams may be used. Certain things, such as sunlight, hot spicy foods and alcohol, seem to aggravate it in many cases. These should be avoided whenever possible. Corticosteroid creams must never be used as they will worsen the condition.
Laser therapy can help with dilated blood vessels, and for people with severely affected noses, a type of laser can successfully reshape the nose. An early start to treatment can improve the outlook. If you have a permanently red face ask your doctor about rosacea.
Last Reviewed: 02 May 2009