Is A Red Nose a Sign of Alcoholism?

Robert Gerchalk

Robert is our health care professional reviewer of this website. He worked for many years in mental health and substance abuse facilities in Florida, as well as in home health (medical and psychiatric), and took care of people with medical and addictions problems at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He has a nursing and business/technology degrees from The Johns Hopkins University.

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Does a Red Nose Indicate Alcoholism?

Rhinophyma, or red nose, is a skin ailment characterized by a red, bumpy nose. There is no proof that excessive drinking is the root cause of red nose. However, alcohol use can worsen the symptoms, including a swollen appearance and visible blood vessels. Understanding how alcohol affects red nose is extremely important to a person’s well-being. 

Does Drinking Alcohol Cause Red Nose?

Red nose, a form of rosacea, has unknown origins. It may occur as a result of vascular instability and subsequent tissue fluid leakage due to dilated blood vessels. However,  some triggers, like caffeine, spicy foods, alcohol, cheese, and certain forms of exercise, may bring on or worsen rosacea symptoms. The best way to learn what sets off your symptoms is to keep a symptom diary. 

Other Names for Red Nose

When researching information on red nose, you may come across different entities referring to the condition by different names. Some of the most common terms for red nose are:

  • Gin blossom
  • Potato nose
  • Alcoholic nose
  • Whiskey nose
  • Drinker’s nose

How to Treat Red Nose

The psychological distress caused by red nose usually requires prompt referrals to otolaryngologists. Because of the deformity and flushing of their faces, clients often experience poor self-esteem, shame, and worry. The excessive nasal growth may be so severe that it impairs vision, prevents breathing via the nose, and even causes sleep apnea.

Medical Treatments

Topical antibiotics like metronidazole or topical retinoids may be effective in the early stages of red nose. Some physicians will also prescribe oral antibiotics like tetracycline. Experts recommend referring the most severe instances to a dermatologist for further evaluation and possible treatment with oral isotretinoin. It’s also possible that the doctor will prescribe topical ivermectin and brimonidine.

Surgical Treatments

There are multiple surgical techniques that treatment providers use to treat red nose. The primary concept is to remove the excess tissue by shaving it while protecting the underlying cartilage. Shaving should be deep but leave enough of the associated structures of the skin at the wound site for secondary healing to take place.

The different surgical procedures that physicians sometimes use to treat red nose are:

  • Dermabrasion
  • CO2 laser shaving
  • Cryosurgery
  • Harmonic scalpel
  • YAG laser

What Conditions Can Chronic Alcohol Use Cause?

Even though alcohol use doesn’t cause red nose, it can worsen the condition’s symptoms and lead to a wide variety of other health conditions, including addiction. Receiving prompt treatment for any of the conditions discussed in the sections below is essential to your overall health.


Alcohol use can contribute to the development of gout, which is a type of arthritis. Alcohol does this by increasing uric acid production and impairing its elimination. The development of crystals in the joints from excessive uric acid can then cause extreme pain and inflammation. Some of the best ways to avoid the onset of gout are to reduce your alcohol consumption, consume a low-purine diet, and increase your water intake.

Kidney Stones

The dehydrating effects of alcohol increase the concentration of minerals in the urine, which may lead to the development of kidney stones. Increased fluid intake to dilute urine is an important part of treating alcohol-related kidney stones, as is avoiding meals high in oxalates. Medication and, in extreme circumstances, treatments like lithotripsy or surgery are options for pain management. Reducing alcohol consumption, maintaining sufficient hydration, and making dietary adjustments play crucial roles in avoiding and treating alcohol-induced kidney stones.


In addition to boosting stomach acid production, heavy alcohol use may also undermine the stomach’s protective lining, making ulcers more likely. Proton pump inhibitors and antibiotics for the elimination of H. pylori bacteria, if present, are two of the treatment choices for alcohol-induced ulcers. Lifestyle adjustments, including lowering alcohol consumption and avoiding irritants such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs), are key. Endoscopic treatment or surgery may be an option in more serious situations. To avoid or cure ulcers caused by excessive drinking, it is essential to control your alcohol intake and adopt a lifestyle that is kind to the stomach.

Cardiovascular Issues

Drinking to excess raises the risk of cardiovascular disease and other cardiovascular complications such as high blood pressure and cardiomyopathy. The negative effects of alcohol on blood pressure and the heart’s functioning highlight the need for moderation. 

Seeking medical assistance, monitoring alcohol use, and prioritizing cardiovascular health via a holistic approach are critical components in avoiding and treating alcohol-induced cardiovascular problems. Reducing alcohol use, switching to a heart-healthy diet, and starting an exercise routine are all viable strategies for treating cardiovascular disorders. Prescription drugs can also help treat illnesses like high blood pressure or heart disease. 


Cancers of the liver, breast, esophagus, and throat are only a few of the many cancers linked to drinking too much alcohol. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy are common treatments for alcohol-related cancers, but the specific choices depend on the kind and stage of the disease. Regular screenings are essential for early detection and better results. A healthy lifestyle and moderate alcohol intake are both important preventive measures. 

Gastrointestinal Issues

Excessive alcohol intake can induce gastrointestinal disorders, including gastritis, ulcers, and liver illnesses. Alcohol causes inflammation and damage to the digestive system because of the irritation it causes. Reducing alcohol consumption, eating a diet low in fatty and spicy foods, and avoiding irritants are all part of an effective treatment plan. 

To alleviate discomfort, your doctor may recommend an antacid or proton pump inhibitor. Medication, dietary changes and even liver transplants are among the options for treating liver disease, depending on its severity. Preventing alcohol-related gastrointestinal disorders demands moderate to no drinking, frequent health check-ups, and obtaining appropriate medical guidance for successful treatment and overall digestive health.


Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, and alcoholism is a leading cause of this condition. Consuming alcoholic beverages can cause the pancreas to become inflamed, resulting in stomach discomfort due to the release of digestive enzymes. Treatment entails refraining from alcohol to avoid additional harm and adopting a low-fat diet. 

In extreme instances, a client may need hospitalization to receive intravenous fluids and nutritional assistance, in addition to pharmaceutical treatment for pain. A key to avoiding future episodes of pancreatitis is determining whether alcoholism is a contributing factor. Managing alcohol-induced pancreatitis and fostering pancreatic health requires seeking medical advice, making lifestyle modifications, and refraining from alcohol use.

Bone Health Issues

Chronic alcohol consumption affects the delicate balance of calcium and vitamin D, both of which are crucial to bone health. Reducing alcohol use, consuming a diet high in calcium, and participating in weight-bearing activities are all part of the various treatment options for bone problems caused by alcohol. Maintenance of sufficient vitamin D levels is also essential. Medicines that increase bone density are another option that doctors may suggest.

Immune System Suppression

Heavy drinking weakens the immune system, leaving the body more vulnerable to illness. Abstinence is the only treatment for alcohol-induced immunological suppression, which allows the immune system to repair itself. Managing co-occurring health conditions is also vital. Vaccinations and checkups recommended by doctors are important parts of infection prevention.

Alcoholic Hepatitis

Too much alcohol consumption can result in alcoholic hepatitis, which is liver inflammation. This occurs because the abuse of alcohol over a long period of time diminishes the liver’s ability to function. In order for the liver to recover, the client must abstain from alcohol entirely throughout treatment. Nutritional assistance, including a well-balanced diet, is vital as well. Doctors will sometimes prescribe medication to alleviate symptoms and discomfort and prevent further problems. Some people with alcoholic hepatitis require a liver transplant. 

Liver Cirrhosis

Liver cirrhosis, a kind of advanced scarring of the liver, is usually attributable to excessive alcohol intake. Damage to liver cells from excessive alcohol use over time causes fibrosis and impairment of liver function. To stop the damage and help the liver recover, total abstinence from alcohol is essential. 

Medication for symptoms and consequences, as well as behavioral modifications, including adopting a liver-friendly diet, are all part of a treatment and management strategy. Regular monitoring and periodic medical checkups are usually recommended. Liver transplantation is an option in extreme circumstances. Responsible drinking, early intervention, and a holistic strategy are all essential for preventing and treating alcohol-related cirrhosis.

Neurological Disorders

Peripheral neuropathy, which causes tingling and burning in the limbs, is one of the neurological problems that alcoholism may cause. Another disorder is Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, which results from a deficiency in the B vitamin thiamine. Seizures and a loss of cerebellar function, which may impair coordination, are both associated with heavy alcohol use as well. Confusion and mental deterioration are symptoms of alcohol-related encephalopathy. These conditions illustrate the severe toll that alcohol may have on the nervous system, highlighting the need for moderation, early detection, and thorough treatment to avoid neurological consequences.

Treating Alcoholism

Though alcohol use does not cause rosacea or red nose, it can make symptoms worse. By enhancing general health and decreasing rosacea flare-up triggers, alcoholism therapy may indirectly improve rhinophyma. To prevent the development of rhinophyma, those with rosacea should abstain from alcohol, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and seek medical treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD) if they have this condition. Alcoholics will benefit the most if they get care for both their AUD and any skin issues it may cause.

Substance abuse and mental health are inextricably linked, so it is important to take an integrated approach to therapy. Customized treatments in the context of dual diagnosis therapy provide better results and longer-lasting recovery. These treatments promote a holistic perspective on health by acknowledging the interconnected nature of alcoholism and mental illness and helping the client to better manage both.

Start on Your Path to Sobriety Today

Alcohol Awareness helps people find the treatment they need to overcome their issues with alcoholism. If you’re struggling with alcohol and red nose, it’s time to get the treatment you need to live a sober life. We work with treatment providers all across the nation, making it easy for you to access treatment in your area. Contact us now to learn more about the signs of alcoholism and how to access accredited treatment providers.