What is Alcoholic Nose?

What is Alcoholic Nose?

Have you been told you are suffering from alcoholic nose? We took an in-depth look at this condition, to try and sniff out the link between alcoholic nose and drinking.

Alcoholic nose is a nickname for a subtype of rosacea. If that sounds a bit like Greek, then you should continue reading… especially if anyone has ever told you that you suffer from alcoholic nose.

We wanted to clear up any myths regarding this condition, just to be clear. All too often, we hear clients coming to us who complain of this condition… but the link between alcoholism and alcoholic nose is tenuous at best. After all, if being an alcoholic caused a swollen, red, bumpy, and irritated nose, there would be a far larger number of people walking around with swollen faces.

Before we delve any further into the world of alcoholic nose and explain the symptoms, signs, and causes of this condition, let’s direct you to the right places. If you came to us because you think you might be an alcoholic, then you are on the right tracks. You can call us anytime of the day or night if you need help to get off drink or to stop taking drugs. The number is 0203 955 7700.

What is Alcoholic Nose?

Alcoholic nose is the nickname we give to the slightly more complex condition called Rhinophyma. Let’s break that down into its etymology. Rhino = of the nose, and phyma = a nodule, swelling, or rounded tumour on the skin. Put the two together, and you have the condition known as alcoholic nose.

This disorder sees the blood capillaries of the nose and cheeks burst, leaving a reddened swelling that comes out as a bumpy, swollen, bright red coloured rash. The blood capillaries are the tiny little vessels that carry oxygenated blood to the smaller regions of your body. While the veins and arteries work on the larger areas of the body, to get oxygenated blood to the skin’s surface requires more delicate systems. Blood capillaries are responsible for this task, and when they swell and burst on the face like this, we call it Rosacea.

Rosacea is a condition all of its own, but it has many sub-types. Rhinophyma is one sub-type of Rosacea, which is an umbrella skin condition term for diseases which cause a reddening of the skin due to swollen or burst blood vessels. Rhinophyma is always concentrated around the nose, causing it to appear bulbous, swollen, and bright red.

The problem with rhinophyma is that it has long since been wrongly associated with alcoholics and alcoholism. It is a misconception that drinking alcohol causes alcoholic nose… but the science points to drink aggravating the condition.

Do Alcoholics Always Get Alcoholic Nose?

No, not all alcoholics get alcoholic’s nose. Rhinophyma only affects those who already have a propensity towards rosacea. According to Bupa, the private healthcare provider, around 1 in 10 people in the UK have rosacea. This skin condition also affects more men than it does women and is perhaps less noticed in women on account of the societal pressure placed upon them to wear make up to cover it up.

Statistically speaking, this means that more women alcoholics are likely to suffer from Rhinophyma than men do. When you have had rosacea for many years, you are likely to develop rhinophyma as a result. One of the symptoms of rosacea is this thickening and reddening of the skin. This is particularly prevalent around the nasal area. This means that both people with ordinary rosacea and those with rhinophyma can be described (mistakenly) as having alcoholic’s nose.

Some of the early symptoms of rosacea include:

  • Rosacea starts with a tendency towards blushing. This feeling of being too warm in the cheeks, burning, or stinging, will come and go. It is normal for teenagers to experience this blushing feeling as their hormones take control. The feeling of rosacea on the cheeks and nose is a similar one.
  • Redness frequently appearing on the forehead, neck, cheeks, nose, and chin.
  • Stinging or burning sensations when you wash your face or use beauty/skincare products.
  • A severe redness or rash when you use an upsetting product (skincare that isn’t for super sensitive skin).

As rosacea progresses and if you leave it untreated, your symptoms will develop into something a little worse. The flushing of your face will bring up blood capillaries which swell up in the aforementioned problem areas. When they swell, they may well burst. When they are inflamed and itchy, you scratch them and do damage. Your blood capillaries burst under the skin and you are left with a permanent redness there. This is the exact reason why dermatologists tell you not to pick at your face.

At this intermediate stage, you can expect to experience:

  • Areas of your face that are permanently reddened by burst blood capillaries.
  • Small lumps will appear. They are usually filled with a yellowish pus and will be red or pink in colour.
  • Dry skin in large patches over the face.
  • Swelling of the face, particularly in the nose and eye region. A puffing of the cheeks is not uncommon.
  • Patches of your skin will start to become discoloured. They will gradually redden if nothing is done but will start off as a yellowish colour.
  • Your skin will start to thicken around the nose.

When you are in the final stages of rosacea, you will either develop alcoholic’s nose, or you will have permanent redness across the cheeks, nose, forehead, chin, and even other parts of the body. Once enough blood vessels burst, you will be unable to undo this damage and it will appear as a permanent reddening.


Red face and Alcohol

The reason why there is often confusion between the typical appearance of Rhynophyma and the face of an alcoholic is because one of the earliest signs of alcohol abuse is a persistently red face due to enlarged blood vessels.  This appears because regulation of body’s vascular (blood vessels) system is adversely affected by high levels of alcohol in the blood.

Drinking alcohol can also cause facial flushing. When alcohol is broken down by the liver our bodies create a by-product called acetaldehyde which stimulates the release of histamine, causing flushing and rapid heart rate. Around 40% of north-eastern Asians are thought to experience this even after minimal alcohol consumption.

Spider veins are also a common symptom of alcohol abuse due to increased levels of oestrogen in the body caused by cirrhosis if the liver. These are frequently found on the face.

Rosacea vs Alcoholism

Whilst Rosacea and alcoholism both cause several similar symptoms such as facial flushing and the appearance of facial blood vessels, alcoholism is not thought to be the underlying cause of Rhynophyma, the red, swollen, bumpy nose commonly known as alcoholic or drinker’s nose.

For more information, read our page on alcohol withdrawal symptoms as well as how to stop drinking alcohol.



How Can You Stop Your Rosacea Progressing?

There are certain known things that can make your rosacea worse, and that can even bring about the onset of rhinophyma if you don’t keep on top of it by seeking medical help. Among the triggers for rhinophyma are spicy foods, cheeses, caffeine, hot drinks, and aerobic exercise… but the one we are interested in, is alcohol.

There are certain types of alcohol that make rhinophyma worse. This is because it widens the blood capillaries, allowing the blood to travel through more of them, faster. It also results in a greater amount of damage to the blood vessels because of the inflammation. At the top of the list of alcohol that should be avoided if you have rosacea or alcoholic’s nose, is red wine.

Nobody is fully sure as to why, but scientists speculate that the tannins in red wine are the reason it widens the blood vessels. Interestingly enough, they believe these are the same chemicals found in wine that give you such a sore head in the morning! While oxygenation of the blood is usually considered a good thing, when you have rosacea it makes things worse, greatly increasing your chances of developing rhinophyma in the future.

What Can Be Done to Treat Alcoholic Nose?

If you are one of the few who have developed rhinophyma due to alcoholism (meaning that you already had rosacea, but that your drinking has made it permanent) then Help 4 Addiction can give you some relief. We run a rehab placement service that will help you to find the best rehab clinic near you, capable of helping you to quit drinking for good.

We can help you with each and every stage of both alcohol addiction, and drug addiction. Whatever your substance abuse problem, we can put you in touch with the best rehab service in your area, throughout England and Wales. We can talk to you about online therapy, fill you in on at-home detox programs for alcoholics, and can even clue you up on what alcohol withdrawal symptoms you can expect.

Regardless of how your rhinophyma came to be as bad as it is, however, the treatment for this condition is the same. However, if you go to a doctor, they will tell you to stop drinking as a good starting point.

Treating your Alcoholic’s Nose

If you have developed, or are in the middle of developing, alcoholic’s nose through rosacea, your GP will want to start you on a course of antibiotics. Retinoids may also be used to try and minimise the swelling, redness, and inflammation. Medical News Today recommend that erythromycin, metronidazole, or tetracycline are likely to be used to eradicate the early symptoms of rosacea.

Your GP might prescribe topical creams that need to be applied to the area of the skin which often flares up. This cream must be applied as per the instructions on the packet. If it says use it three times a day, then use it three times a day. Don’t only turn to the cream when it flares back up again as this will increase your resistance to the medicine.

If your alcoholic’s nose is irreversibly damaged, you may be eligible for surgery to correct it. Since this is technically a plastic surgery, you will have a fairly long wait on the NHS for this treatment. Unfortunately, it isn’t the kind of thing the doctors at any one of the rehab clinics in England and Wales we place you in can help with. Not even in private rehab.

Minimizing the Symptoms of Alcoholic Nose

Since getting surgery for an alcoholic’s nose isn’t really much of an option here in the UK, there are some things you can do to stop the progression of both rosacea and rhinophyma.

Health professionals recommend that you do the following things to stop your condition getting any worse:

  • Eating spicy foods such as chilli-based ingredients.
  • Smoking tobacco – or anything else, including vaping as not enough research currently exists in this area.
  • Avoid alcoholic drinks, again, we can help you to go through the tricky detox period and can even help you find the ideal rehab clinic of your dreams.
  • Avoid too much sunlight, keep your cheeks and nose covered in a high performance sun block when you are out in it.
  • Do not rub or touch your face, particularly when it is flushed.
  • Do not pick at your face.
  • Keep out of extremes in temperature. Avoid freezer areas or overly warm rooms.

There are also creams you can use that will soothe the skin and act in a more holistic – yet proactive – way. Using a tea-tree based makeup, or using a green colour balancing stick, can help cover up the worst of it while still soothing the affected area. Aloe vera is a natural skin and inflammation soother, and honey-based soaps can keep the skin soft to avoid dry patches.

Once you have stopped drinking alcohol and you want to recover from alcoholic’s nose, it can be difficult to accept that there is no hard and fast cure for this condition. Rhinophyma will be with you forever, unless you pay for a surgery. Once it has developed, management of the symptoms is one of the ways you can live a normal life, without it affecting your daily life.

Help for Addiction at a Rehab Clinic Near You

Before you rush off to compare prices for surgical treatment of your alcoholic’s nose, let’s remind you once again that we are here to help. Whether it is drug addiction or alcohol addiction that is causing your rhinophyma, we are able to point you in the direction of a detox clinic near you.

Provided that you live in the UK and that you are suffering from an addiction – substance abuse based or otherwise – you can find help at the end of the phone. Each of our advisors has years of experience in matching new clients to the rehab clinics that can best help them.

When you call us, we will ask you a series of questions. These are aimed at finding out what your likes, dislikes, hobbies, interests, and medical history are. Once we have a well-rounded image of your personality, we can match you with a rehab clinic near you that focuses on the things you resonate with. When clients come to us, we give them a better chance of finding a rehab clinic that will help them get off drink or drugs the first time around. It is that swiftness of an end to addiction that is lacking in free healthcare treatments in the UK.

If you are suffering from alcohol addiction you can read more about treatments such as alcohol rehab. For immediate help, call one of our experts on 0203 955 7700 for impartial advice.



Nick Conn / 23rd December 2020/ Posted in: Alcohol

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    Detoxification (detox) is the medical intervention required for someone who is physically dependent to drugs or alcohol. If required, medical detoxification would be the first step taken in residential rehab. Detox is used to prevent uncomfortable and dangerous (even fatal) withdrawals symptoms resulting in suddenly becoming abstinent from alcohol/certain drugs.

    The goal of a medical detox is to aid in the physical healing required following long term addiction and rid the body of all together of substance whilst providing a cushion for unpleasant symptoms of withdrawals. Detox is not considered the whole treatment for drug/alcohol addiction and it is always recommended that a comprehensive rehabilitation program is used along side to help maintain long term abstinence.

    Medication is often required for alcohol detox. If you are dependent on alcohol and experiencing withdrawal symptoms it is vitally important to seek medical advice prior to stopping. There is a long list of medications used when treating alcohol addiction and the exact medication given to an individual will depend on their needs/medical history. Some of these include;

    • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
    • Lorazepam (Ativan)
    • Diazapam (vailium)

    Librium and Valium are the most commonly used detox medication in the UK. All medication used to help with alcohol detox have been proven to help reduce the effects of withdrawal symptoms.

    There are also a number of drugs recombined by the NHS to help treat alcohol misuse. Some of these include:

    • Naltrexone
    • Disulfiram (Antabuse)
    • Nalmefene
    • Acamprosate (campral)

    Medication is always required for heroin detox. For someone suffering from heroin addiction, the thought of detoxification (detox) can be exceptionally daunting. Withdrawal symptoms from opiates, such as heroin, can be severe and include pain, vomiting, nausea and shaking.

    There are different ways that heroin detox can be carried out, most usually either ‘maintenance therapy’ or ‘full medical detox’.

    Attempting to switch from heroin to a heroin substitute, usually on a controlled prescription, is known as Maintenance therapy. Subsites used are most often methadone or buprenorphine.

    A full medical detox from heroin will always be carried out in a residential rehab setting and will allow the individual to switch form heroin to a substitute and slowly withdraw completing treatment free of all substances. Someone using a heroin substitute can choose to have a full medical detox at any time, however detoxing substances such a methadone can often add to the length of detox required. Drugs most commonly used to fully detox from heroin are, Subutex, Suboxone and Methadone. Much like alcohol, the exact drugs used will be dependent on the individuals needs/medical history.

    Once detoxed from heroin the risk of overdose is much higher following relapse due to tolerance following withdrawal.

    The length of treatment in a residential rehab depends on a number of elements. Some substances require longer periods of detox than others.

    Private paying patients will also often choose a length of stay that suites their therapeutic and financial needs. As a rule, a full treatment program in a rehab is considered to be 28 days (often referred to as a month), however, treatment is offered in several different ways and lengths starting at 7 days.

    Treating alcohol addiction will always require a minimum of 7-10 days, this would be considered the detoxification (detox) faze. The length required for treating drug addiction can vary drastically depending on the substance being used. Detox for Heroin addiction is generally around 14 days minimum, with more time required if substances such a methadone are being used. Treating prescription drug addiction can often take the longest. The time required for treating gambling addiction, eating disorders and sex addiction will be based on the individuals needs.

    Rehab programs can be as long as an individual requires but primary treatment is normally caped at 12 weeks, with the offering for further secondary and tertiary treatment thereafter.

    *based on average rehab stays, everyone will vary dependant on needs and medical requirement/history.

    There is no need for your employer to know that you are seeking help for trauma and addiction unless you choose to involve them with the process. All employers should have a policy that explains what you do if you cannot come to work due to illness – illness to include treating alcohol addiction/treating drug addiction.

    If your work absence extends over 7 days your employer is likely to require an official statement of fitness to work which would be obtained from your GP. This would need to supply evidence of your illness as well as any adjustments required for returning to work, fazed return or reduced hours, but does not need to specify in detail the reason why you have been absent.

    If you are absent from work for 7 days of less, for example entering rehab for a detoxification (detox) on a Saturday for 7-10 days taking a full week away from work, you can self-certify your illness by letting your employer work you will not be attending work for that period of time. Exactly how an individual would do this would be dependent on a specific companies’ policies on taking sick leave.

    Any time longer than 7 days it is likely an employer will require a note from the individuals GP certifying their sickness and a fit note on return. Most companies have a clearly outlined policy on sickness and receiving sick pay so the exact requirement can vary. A rehab will always be willing to advise on time off work.

    How much does rehab cost is a very frequently asked question. The cost of treatment can range from £1,000 per week upwards depending on the place, with luxury rehab being the most expensive.

    There are free options available on the NHS but the waitlist of those looking for free treatment is longer than that for privately paying patients. Some private health insurance policies will cover treatment in some rehabs around the country.

    Choosing the right rehab centre will often be based on priced but it is important to follow guidance on the most suitable treatment centre for an individual’s needs which our expert team of advisers are on hand to offer.

    There are certainly pro’s for both treatment near by and traveling for treatment with one of the most asked question being should I get rehab near me? There are rehabs all over the UK and around the world that all offer expert programs, let’s look at how to choose a rehab.

    Local treatment

    Being close to home gives certainly has benefits. Visitors are normally permitted in rehab following the first 7 days stay, therefore if an individual is in treatment for a length of time longer than that being local will make it easier for loved ones to visit.

    Most rehab centres will also provide a full aftercare plan for someone following treatment, this will include ongoing aftercare in the specific treatment centre. Living close by can make it easy to take full advantage of ongoing aftercare. There can also often be the option for ongoing care with an individual therapist, again being close by will allow that treatment to be carried out face to face.

    Some individuals wish to be local but are willing to look broader, for instance the greater city of residence (London, Manchester, Liverpool, etc)

    Treatment Away

    Getting treatment away from home can be very appealing to some. Being out of the local area makes it a lot harder to just walk out of treatment as resources locally are unknown. Some also take comfort in knowing that they are not near home and focus more on treatment.

    As the price for treatment can vary so much from one residential treatment centre to another, private paying patients often would rather travel to keep the cost down. Those using private health insurance may also have to travel to find a treatment centre covered in their policy.

    When opting for treatment away from home this can be anywhere in the UK and also abroad. Aftercare can still be carried out and very successful using tools such as The Online Rehab.

    There is no right or wrong when choosing where to go to residential rehab, but our expert advisors are always on hand to help provide information on all possible options.

    Whilst millions of people in the UK have taken recreational drugs (amphetamine, cannabis, cocaine, crack, crystal meth, GHB, heron, ketamine, methadone, and prescription drugs) and drank alcohol not all become ‘addicted’. Most recent reports show that 279,793 individuals were in contact with drug and alcohol misuse services in the last year with over half of that being from opiate addiction and a quarter for alcohol.

    There are several risk factors invoiced in addiction and those using drugs and alcohol socially, simply take the risk. These risks are as follows;

    Tolerance – basically, if a substance is used repeatedly an individual’s tolerance to it will build. This will result in more of the same substance being required to get the same effect. In the long run this can easily lead to addiction and physical dependencies.

    Environmental risks – these can include influences such a peer pressure and stress as well as physical or mental abuse of an individual (particularly as a child). Overall, those who live with frequent pressures and stress are more likely to reach for a substance to cope and are therefore at higher risk of becoming addicted.

    Drug type – it is very well known that certain drugs are simply more addictive than others. Using substances such as heroin increases the risk of becoming addicted for need to ‘chase’ a high as well as physical dependency.

    Drug administration – how a drug is administered can affect its addictive qualities. A drug injected rather than smoked or snorted will release a quicker and more intense high thus making it psychologically (and in many cases physically) more addictive.

    Biological factors – it is now widely reported that being an addict is not only psychological but also biological. This includes your genetic makeup, mental health, sex and age. It is also reported to be 8 times more likely for the child of an addict to become an addict themselves.

    Its believed that addiction is approximately half genetics and therefore some are 50% more likely to become addicted than others.

    How do you help a loved one trapped in addiction?

    The first step is to help and encourage the individual to become willing to accept help. They do not need to be shouting this off the rooftops, but they do need to be willing to go into treatment. There are ways to help someone become willing to get treatment for alcohol or treatment for drugs.

    Set boundaries – set boundaries and stick to them. Once you have laid them out follow through with whatever consequences you have set however hard it is.

    Stop finances – if you are financially supporting someone stopping these finances can be the quickest way for the addict needing to ask for help. With no money to acquire a substance an addict’s options become very limited.

    Intervention – getting together with other family members/friends/colleagues and staging an intervention is often very successful in the fist stage of acceptance and gaining an admission to residential rehab.

    You can’t make them quit, this can lead to dangerous withdrawal. Boundaries are very important in helping someone become willing to get help. Unfortunately you cannot do someone’s recovery for them and without self-motivation it is very hard to make it work.

    The next step is to call our highly trained advisers 0203 955 7700.

    There is a huge range of rehab options available and where to start can be completely over whelming so let us help.