Rosacea Support Group

How to cure a Red Swollen Nose


The red swollen nose of rosacea is a much hated symptom. I know that this was the symptom that I despised most and indeed drove me 10 years ago to start to look for good information about how to treat rosacea. Incidentally, this drive lead to the creation of the internet based Rosacea Support Group in 1998.

I hated that I looked like I had adult acne and a constant sun-burned nose. Especially as I have somewhat fair skin, a red nose stood out a mile away.

There has been quite a lot of interest in a article I wrote titled “how to cure a red face (facial erythema or redness)“. That article gave some tips on how to deal with general facial redness. What about a red and swollen nose ? What can you do to treat a red rosacea nose ? Read on for some suggestions.

A rosacea nose has the extra complication that one might end up suffering from rhinophyma. Although rare, rhinophyma is also a much hated symptom of rosacea. While we don’t know for sure how any particular rosacea sufferer’s symptoms will progress, reducing your inflammation and flushing is a good start to winning the battle.

Here are my top tips for dealing with the red nose of rosacea.

Rosacea-LTD III

Rosacea-LTD was one of my first discoveries after starting to look for treatments on the internet in 1998. The treatment consist of compressed disks of zinc oxide, salt and sulfur.

The Rosacea-ltd web site details the full list of ingredients as: zinc oxide, sodium chloride, iron oxide, copper oxide, cornstarch, polyethylene glycol, and sulfur.

To use this treatment, you wet your face and glide them over the skin, leaving a thin film. For me these `disks’ did a great job of reducing the papules and pustules on my nose. I could feel them shrinking all those acne looking lumps and bumps. As much of my redness was associated with my papules and pustules, this treatment was a good step in the right direction. I continued to use rosacea-ltd for several years.

The product is now called Rosacea-Ltd IV, having been enhanced since I last used them.

Disclaimer: Rosacea-Ltd has in the past been a site sponsor of

Oral Antibiotics

If the nasal swelling is associated with the papules and pustules normally seen in rosacea, then systemic antibiotics along with topical metrogel or finacea may also be of benefit. Once the papules and pustules are under control, the associated swelling may be reduced enough to see an overall benefit in appearance. One of the newer antibiotics on the market is a low dose form of doxycycline called Oracea, which may be useful in helping to maintain a long term benefit from antibiotic usage.


Accutane or roaccutane has been used for many years to treat cystic acne. There is a good body of evidence to say that you can successfully treat rosacea with accutane. Additionally there are some published papers that deal specifically with treating rhinophyma with accutane.

Isotretinoin has also been demonstrated to decrease nasal volume in rhinophyma. The most significant regression has been noted in younger patients with less advanced disease.

Isotretinoin has also been demonstrated to decrease nasal volume in rhinophyma. The most significant regression has been noted in younger patients with less advanced disease.

Biopsy specimens from phymatous skin prior to isotretinoin therapy showed numerous large sebaceous glands. During isotretinoin therapy, the glands diminished in size and number. Other studies have confirmed the usefulness of isotretinoin for phymatous change.

[See treating rhinophyma with accutane]

Accutane is not a drug to be taken lightly. If you would like to try this as an option, the above references might help you find a doctor that can support you using this as a treatment option. You may also want to discuss the option of low-dose accutane with your doctor.

Covering Up

As you start to reduce the inflammation, you will probably also benefit from covering over some of the redness. Some options include the easily available Clinique Redness Solutions, or Eucerin Redness Relief which may be able to offer some relief from the redness. Additionally the green tinted version of the Tone Perfecting Cream may cover some redness.


Perhaps you can find some foundation or tinted moisturizer that you can also include in your daily regime. It might not be easily obtainable worldwide, but The Cancer Council in Australia has a range of tinted moisturiser SPF 25 that looks interesting. Don’t discount a liquid foundation as a possibility, even if you are a guy.

IPL and Lasers

We now know that IPL is excellent for treating a red face and broken blood vessels. Will any of the benefits of IPL also help a red swollen nose ? In general IPL and pulsed dye lasers are useful in reducing the redness flushing, burning,  itching, dryness and swelling of rosacea.

The AAD suggests that for thickening of the skin on the nose and cheeks as seen in rhinophyma, the CO2 laser and erbium:YAG laser can be used.

Surgical Options

When the growth of the nose tissue becomes impossible to manage with topicals or isotretinion, surgical intervention can be an option. Surgery can naturally have its own risks. With the removal of extra tissue also comes the risk of scarring.

CO2 Laser

A 2004  paper; The Gold Standard for Decortication of Rhinophyma: Combined Erbium-YAG/CO2 Laser, details how the authors suggest that the combined YAG/CO2 laser is superior to other lasers, scalpel, radiotherapy and skin grafts in dealing with rhinophyma.

Also some related comments from the AAD page Is laser treatment right for your rosacea? ;

Some patients with longstanding rosacea develop thickening skin on the nose and cheeks, which is called rhinophyma. The CO2 laser and erbium:YAG laser can be used to remove this thickening skin and improve the contour of the nose. Other surgical procedures used to treat this condition include dermabrasion and excision with a scalpel. Treatment options may be combined to obtain best results.

Dermatologists recommend early treatment of rhinophyma to help prevent the condition from progressing and becoming more difficult to treat. In the advanced stages, rhinophyma can cause difficulty breathing through the nose. It also is possible for the nostrils to collapse.

Other Surgical Methods

A 2003 paper; New surgical adjuncts in the treatment of rhinophyma: the microdebrider and FloSeal details a novel technique using a standard microdebrider followed by a haemostatic sealant to eliminate bleeding.

Now Over to You

What have you found to be useful in your battles with a red nose ? Please help your fellow rosacea sufferers by leaving a comment below.

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