Bulbous nose  

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Bulbous nose


Rhinophyma is a large, bulb-shaped, red-colored (ruddy) nose.

Alternative Names

Bulbous nose; Nose - bulbous; Phymatous rosacea


Rhinophyma was once thought to be caused by heavy alcohol consumption, but this is not the case. Rhinophyma occurs equally in those who do not drink at all and those who drink alcohol in quantity. It is seen almost exclusively in men over age 40.

The cause of rhinophyma is unknown, though it is generally regarded as a severe form of rosacea. It is a relatively rare disorder involving thickening of the skin on the nose and the presence of many oil glands. The nose talks on a bulb-like (bulbous) look.


Symptoms involve an abnormal appearance of the nose:

  • Thickening
  • Bulb shape
  • May be reddish
  • Waxy, yellow surface

Exams and Tests

Rhinophyma may usually be diagnosed without any testing. A skin biopsy may be needed to confirm the diagnosis in unusual cases.


Surgical reshaping of the nose is the best known treatment for rhinophyma. This may be accomplished by laser, scalpel, or dermabrasion. There have been reports of good results using certain acne medications.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Rhinophyma can be corrected surgically, but the condition may recur.

Possible Complications

Emotional distress can be caused by the change in appearance.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have symptoms of rhinophyma and would like to discuss treatment.

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