How to cure a Red Swollen Nose

rosacea-papules

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

twodisks 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 rosacea-support.org

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

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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About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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338 Reader Comments

  1. pc says:

    I have been using Thayer’s alcohol free witch hazel with cucumber extract. Used 1/8 of bottle and see good results on my nose that gets enflamed. Also on orascea

  2. Davin Lim says:

    V Beam laser can be used for rosacea, combined with antibiotic this can decrease inflammation and redness. 2-3 sessions are needed for optimal outcomes. This treatment is subsidised in Australia within correct guidelines.
    All the best

    Dr Davin Lim
    Laser Dermatologist
    Brisbane, Australia

    • David says:

      I have suffered for some time now (over 10 years). Used prescription Metro Gel at high cost (results were moderate at best).
      Got a suggestion to try doggie shampoo and I have had amazing results if not total cure. Product is Sulfodene MEDICATED shampoo & Conditioner for dogs. Rosacea is not much more than undiagnosed Red Mange in humans, Demodex Mites are the cause of my dilemma and have responded with an over whelming positive outcome. Less than 1 day!!! I use it periodically to keep it at bay. Anywhere I have hair follicles on the face, eyebrows, beard and under eyes and not in the eyes. These mites feed on the dead skin in and around hair follicles of eye lashes, eyebrows… (you get the idea, women have the most delicate hair follicles and these mites live in there too).
      Save the laser for more important use, doctor.
      This works quite well and requires no visit to an office, do it at home and save the gas and the planet.

      • bj says:

        I have a bottle of Sulfodene… I have a few patches of rosacea on my nose according to the derm. The patches have thickened the skin on my nose and made it appear large and swollen and red…especially when I drink, workout, or am in extended sunlight. I am worried sulfodene will make the skin even thicker than it is now? I tried a bit and it’s not a huge reaction…maybe some of the red down, but the swelling or puffiness seems to get a touch worse?

        • David says:

          If you do not get results very quickly as I did (a day or less), perhaps there is another issue (skin has many and the nose too) so to continue on and on when not getting the results you want is to delay treatment of this “other” skin problem…..
          The problem you wrote about is a totally separate issue, with the swelling and puffiness. (NOT a Rosacea symptom)
          I am not a doctor but if your MD is not giving good answers to ALL of yours, look for a new 1.

          • Joe says:

            Swelling amd edema, particularly on the nose, is a classic Rosacea symptom. Mainly more in type 1.

        • Joe Masse says:

          The benefit of Soolantra is it reduces redness, and keeps the skin
          soft. Went on Soolantra September 2015. Nose was so bad, thought I was getting Rhinophyma. My dermatologist assured me I was not.

      • Barbara. says:

        How did you use it? Did you leave it on at night or just leave on for a few minutes each day? Thanks.

      • norris says:

        Sulfodene medicated shampoo for dogs on Amazon, ingredients show coal tar, sulphur, and triclosan! Triclosan has been banned in human soaps. I recall someone mentioning Sulfodene in another article and I think it had different ingredients.

  3. michele says:

    any treatments for mild rhynophyma? I’m a women and I understand this can be way worse for men(wc fields) but just because its a mild case doesn’t help really, still my nose has grown in size and not the directioni want to go. have been taking accutane with some result but its also aging my skin, no plastic surgeon will help. cyring less about it but this has ruined my profile, any thoughts? i did try laser with antibiotics, about 6 treatments , it helped but not back to normal and seems to come back if im not careful, no wine, no sun

  4. Nat says:

    i found that having a test for hpylori and two treatments with medecine completely cured,rosacea it came back ten yrs later again treatment and gone once again. Dr barry marshall discovered that in some cases of treating h pylori rosacea cleared up, so when i read this, i insisted my dr test for it, as u can have no symptoms…..i had rosacea for two yrs , dr was at the point of prescribing accutane, when i decided to do much research online..back than there was nearly nothing online on the topic…now alot of sites confirm the link… Try it!

    • michele says:

      what type of rosacea? did you have a swollen nose or red spots. I have n red spots or broken capillaries, just a nose swelled a third agan its size and its also red

      • Nat says:

        Red patches, bumps, had begun ocular rosacea, sore eyes, not yet swelling of nose… …

      • michele says:

        what was the treatment for hpylori rosacea

        • Nat says:

          First time was three individual pills, anitbiotic, bismuth and i forget the other , but all r needed together, after the ten day treatment, i noticed a 70 percent improvement immediately. I went back to dr and asked for a second treatment , and it completely dissapeared, maybe the antibiotic was no longer as effective for me, but with the two treatments, worked. The second time was many yrs later, and it was called a hpack or something like that, either way it is designed for hpylori, it worked immediately. One Treatment.

        • Nancy says:

          Hi Michele, I’m also a female with rhinophyma and ocular rosacea and a nose that has grown in size with thickened skin. The average person probably doesn’t notice it but I sure do. I’ve tried everything,
          The one thing that worked a miracle was isotretinoin, a miracle….except for the side effects, had to stop taking it. But I got my old nose back, it was a miracle, I was so angry I had to stop taking it.
          Currently I use PCA skincare and see a medical estethician, it keeps it at bay.
          I’m going to ask my doc to test for hpylori

  5. Nat says:

    Lorna vanderhaeghe has a great face cream for rosacea helps with inflammation

  6. Saeed says:

    Actually it looks like all what mentioned above is how to have the treatment from chemical and surgical part where natural treatment was kind of neglected. Thus, before custom medical treatment, natural treatment must be looked first where natural treatment has almost no side effect and less risk

  7. jo says:

    My rosacea has become so bad that I no longer want to socialise, but I’m glad I’ve got some tips from the web site. I will give them a go. Thanks

    • Barbara says:

      Oh, I hope you will try to continue to socialize; it is important to our overall health. My mother told me, when I was much younger and said I couldn’t go out bc of my frightening (frizz blob) hair, that others will never notice the difference bc we are each so concerned with our own worries. That has been my liberating mantra since that day, and I do believe it’s true. I have also found, as my looks have detoriated bc of age, that I still attract friends, so apparently even new, close friendships are immune to how we look.

      Sending hope.

  8. philohio says:

    Mine isn’t that bad, yet.
    Didn’t start until I got into my 50s, why, don’t know?
    Only happens in summer, so I figured it was the sun and always wear a hat, guess I need a hat with a larger brim.
    I’ll try what you suggest or zinc oxide.

    • Yvonne says:

      My rosacea started when I was in my 50s as well. I didn’t know anything about rosacea until I went to a dermatologist. I was shocked because I am Black and didn’t know that I could get rosacea. She prescribed Noritate which worked for years, along with Tretonin. I used the Noritate for years until the price skyrocketed. Am now on generic Oracea and I make sure to use sunscreen every day. I also wear hats when I’m going to be in the sun for extended periods. My nose is somewhat darker than the rest of my golden brown complexion, so I use makeup. Have noticed mild improvement since taking Oracea and using the Tretonin.

      • Barbara says:

        Mine didn’t start until I was 61, and I take estrogen, so it can’t be related to a lack of that. Mine is responsive to treatment for mites and OTC acne lotions. Has anyone had dermabrasion for the thickened skin, or are lasers always used instead?

  9. April says:

    I have noticed improvement with the Tea Tree line from the Body Shop. My skin feels clean but not stripped of moisture. My skin is definitely less red in general and pores appear smaller. The breakouts and scabs that I have seem to be healing quicker. I like that the products are reasonably priced and easy to get. I hope I continue to get good results.

  10. David Pascoe says:

    Comment via email from Joanne.

    “I have cystic Rosacea on my nose. I get lesions that scab over. My nose increases in size.
    I am 69 and a woman. We tried all the creams.

    Finally my dermatologist prescribed 10 mg of isotretinion capsules starting three times a week, then 5 days in a row and now three days a week again.

    He also prescribed varying strengths of Hydrocortisone It has improved. Now he is taking me off the hydrocortisone and putting me on Soolantra in the p.m., and the isotretinion Mon. Wed. Fri. 10 mg. I am hoping this will do the trick. He also wants to take me off the isotretinion in two months.

    The sun, wind, and cold aggravate my nose considerably. I also have Lupus. “

  11. PF says:

    Suffered greatly with [Type 2] Rosacea until I started looking into my diet. I eventually eliminated all modern wheat and food products that contain wheat ingredients and most all grains too. In addition, all dairy including all cheese products helped my red, broken-out nose condition. I also went on to reduce high-glycemic white food such as sugar, white rice and potatoes, which turn to glucose and then spike insulin.

    The spikes, I’ve learned, increase production of sebum glands, especially in the nose. Inflammation from rosacea blocks pores and leads to pustules etc. I eat mostly green leafy vegetables, some fruit in moderation, non-wheat flour, lowered amounts and frequency of lean beef and chicken, organic eggs, almond milk, walnuts, almonds, almond butter, seeds, olive oil and some balsamic vinegar.

    In addition to diet, I guard sun and wind exposure on nose with a sun block like Neutrogena Sport for faces and/ or a mineral powder from Physician’s Choice. Soolantra cream helps a little, but no topical has a complete cure for every rosacea sufferer, unless you get to the underlining causes. For most that is going to be, not just one thing, but several together that make up those causes.

  12. PF says:

    Like to add one more helpful component for [Type 2] sufferers. I also take these supplements: Vitamin A, D-3, Magnesium, and Zinc with every meal.

  13. Barbara says:

    If you didn’t get a noticeable reaction from the Sulfadene, it might not be mites. I got a noticeable response, but it does cause whiteheads when I use it, though those will rub off with a paper towel.

    Before you give up on the mite theory, you might try a paste made from hydrogen peroxide and Borax. (I couldn’t find anything other than the type used for laundry so used that.) This definitely should not thicken your skin. I leave it on for hours, and I do see a result. If you don’t, you might want to try a remedy or rx for other than mites. (I also used, before I found the Borax paste, Neutrogena’s strongest acne cream.)

    I hope you find something that helps soon. I know how frightening these changes can be.

  14. Kaye says:

    I find Prosacea (sulphur cream) very useful at night. It cools the face.

  15. Heather says:

    In my teens it was severe acne. I’ve suffered from Rosacea on and off since the early 1990’s, in my 40’s. I was treated with progressive anitbiotics (Tetracycline, Erythramycin and finally Accutane) which finally stopped it for about 15 years. Starting in my late 50’s and now into my early 60’s, I’m having the occasional flare ups again. I’ve tried Finacea with limited success, Metrogel quit working for me 10 years ago, and been looking for a holistic option because I don’t want to go back on antibiotics full time again. Even though I’ve read menthol isn’t good, I’ve had occasional success with Vicks. Mine isn’t food or stress driven, and I live in the desert and spend summer in the pool, with almost zero flare ups (so much for too much sun). Now its late October, and its back. I’m going to try the apple cider vinegar and dabbing with hydrogen peroxide.

  16. Sonam says:

    My nose has become red and it has been more than 3 and a half year…..
    I consulted many doctors but it didn’t work. I don’t see any signs of recovery.
    Please help me…
    Much appreciated….

  17. Sonam says:

    Please…..can you email me your advices….on Swangdi334@gmail.com….

    • Sean says:

      Hi there Sonam. I have had it for 3 year now and I dont think there is a cure. It goes up an down, sometimes it looks worse than other times but I have learned to live with it. There are alot worse things in life. Its a case of living with it an moving on. As I say there alot of people with much more serious conditions and I think the less you focus on it the easier it gets to cope with it.

      • Sonam says:

        Thanks for your inspiration…but how long should I cope with it….
        I’m just 17 and I’m really having a tough teen life…sometimes I feel like committing suicide….beacuse of my condition I’m gave not enjoyed like other teens does….no matter how much hungry I’m..i haven’t ate anything else when going out…soon I’ll be graduating my high school..i really don’t know what to do with my life….totally lost all my hopes…

        • Sean says:

          Stick in there man. Dont worry about it. There will be a cure for it . A few weeks or months an itl be sorted out. Dont take it too serious. Its only a red spot on ur nose. There are alot worse things in life. Stay strong and ul be allright. Stay positive. Alot of worse things in life thatn a red spot on ur nose.

          • Sonam says:

            It’s not a red spot….
            My whole nose has become red….
            Leave me your email address…..
            I will send you the photos of my nose

        • Adrian says:

          I’d say you need to keep trying.
          I had this for 5 years and I’ve got it mate or less beaten.
          For a start, I think mine was triggered by eating raw chillies and even now any type of capsicum seems to trigger a minor attack.
          You need to do all you can to kill the infection. I’ve tried iodine tincture on cotton wool, a benzoyl peroxide based gel or cream, sudacrem, acne cures.
          I’ve also tried to detox any impurities from my kidneys with flax seeds in water.
          If I remember anything else I’ll post again.
          All the best, Adrian

        • jj says:

          keep going, there will be something that treats this effectively one day. lotsof people deal with a lot worse than this

  18. Ashley Rosa says:

    My skin has cleared up mostly. I still get some rosacea around my nose that seems to keep coming back but I Dermalmd Rosacea Serum definitely helps it not flare up as much and as noticeable.

  19. Ara Gates says:

    Wow. Dermalmd Rosacea Serum really works. My nose always appeared red and swollen before and since using Dermalmd the swelling has gone down and redness has improved. I’ll be a lifelong customer!!

  20. Nixest C. says:

    If you didn’t get a noticeable reaction from the Sulfadene, it might not be mites. I got a noticeable response, but it does cause whiteheads when I use it, though those will rub off with a paper towel. The Sulfadene drug does definitely work though and focuses on the right point.

  21. Afini L. says:

    Just wanted to chime in and say that I talked to my doctor and after what felt like and endless number of hoops, he did recommend I try Accutane.

    To my surprise, it did work, and worked very well. It is a bit more on the extreme side and I was hoping that I could hide my rosacea symptoms (at least on my nose, which is hit the hardest) with Rosacea-LTD, but it didn’t turn out too well.

    I guess it goes to show that there’s no one size fits all treatment to rosacea, on the nose or elsewhere, and to have an open mind and test your options.

    Just thought I’d share my experiences with other rosacea patients.

  22. Margarete Sharp says:

    Check out Dr Steven R Gundry’s “The Plant Paradox” book…it has a program of dietary changes I’ve been on for 4 months now..NO MORE:
    Rosacea, high blood glucose [A1c now 5.3!], osteopenia, hyperlipidemia, depression, anxiety, hypertension, overweight [now 137 lbs!]. Check it out, it really gets to the ROOTS of all these problems & more!

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