Curious How Mindful Drinking Can Help You Thrive? 🎉🙌
Click Here
A person experiencing nose related issues
Drinking Habits

Drinker’s Nose: What Is It and Why Does It Happen?

Published:
June 21, 2023
·
9 min read
Reframe App LogoReframe App Logo
Written by
Reframe Content Team
A team of researchers and psychologists who specialize in behavioral health and neuroscience. This group collaborates to produce insightful and evidence-based content.
June 21, 2023
·
9 min read
Reframe App LogoReframe App Logo
Certified recovery coach specialized in helping everyone redefine their relationship with alcohol. His approach in coaching focuses on habit formation and addressing the stress in our lives.
June 21, 2023
·
9 min read
Reframe App LogoReframe App Logo
Recognized by Fortune and Fast Company as a top innovator shaping the future of health and known for his pivotal role in helping individuals change their relationship with alcohol.
June 21, 2023
·
9 min read
Reframe App LogoReframe App Logo
Reframe Content Team
June 21, 2023
·
9 min read

If you’ve heard of or seen "drinker's nose" or “alcoholic nose”, you might be wondering what causes it — and whether alcohol is truly the culprit.

In this article, we'll navigate the scientific waters underlying this condition and chart a course towards healthier habits.

What Is a “Drinker’s Nose”?

The terms "drinker's nose" or “alcoholic nose,” though misleading, refer to a skin condition known as rosacea — a disorder causing redness and making the blood vessels in our face visible, especially in our nose.

This condition is actually called “rhinophyma” — Greek for “nose overgrowth” — and causes both a reddening and thickening of the nose. It earned its nickname due to a misconception that heavy drinkers are the only ones affected, their nose’s red hue a telltale sign of overindulgence.

However, research tells us it’s a bit more complicated. A landmark 2017 study reported a positive association between alcohol and rosacea in women. The research highlighted the increased risk of rosacea with increasing alcohol consumption. These findings lay the groundwork for our understanding of how alcohol amplifies rosacea symptoms.

In other words, while alcohol doesn’t cause rosacea, it can certainly exacerbate its symptoms.

The Science Behind the Redness

Our noses, like the rest of our skin, are crisscrossed with tiny blood vessels. Alcohol is a vasodilator: it prompts blood vessels to expand, increasing blood flow to the skin's surface, especially the face. It makes us flushed.

If we consistently consume alcohol, these blood vessels may remain enlarged, giving the nose a perpetually reddened, bulbous look.

The link between alcohol and rosacea goes deeper. Drinking dehydrates us, leading to inflammation — and a worsening of rosacea symptoms. Dehydration triggers inflammation in our bodies, and since rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition, alcohol-induced dehydration can worsen its symptoms.

Drinker’s Nose

What’s more, alcohol can trigger the overgrowth of a mite called Demodex folliculorum, naturally occurring on our skin. Those of us with rosacea can have up to four more times the Demodex mites on our face than people who don’t have rosacea

It’s a vicious cycle: these mites can proliferate in higher numbers with rosacea present, worsening symptoms. While the relationship between these mites and rosacea isn’t fully understood, they're another piece of the puzzle connecting alcohol and rosacea.

Spotting Symptoms

Here are some common symptoms of rosacea:

  • Persistent redness
  • Swollen red bumps
  • Eye problems (like dryness and irritation)
  • Enlarged nose due to thickened skin (rhinophyma). 

While rosacea can affect anyone, it's more common among middle-aged women and people with fair skin. Alcohol can trigger flare-ups, so recognizing these signs early will help us to take action on alcohol and rosacea related triggers.

Avoiding “Red Nose”

We've understood the problem and its causes; now let’s focus on the solution. The good news is that rosacea is manageable, and some lifestyle changes can significantly help.

  1. Moderate alcohol intake. Cutting back on alcohol is the most direct step we can take. This doesn't necessarily mean total abstinence, but moderation is key — as is learning to be assertive about your choices.

  2. Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water can help counteract the dehydrating effects of alcohol. Remember that a night out doesn’t have to set back your goals to cut back — plenty of bars supply delicious mocktails these days.

  3. Avoid triggers. Besides alcohol, other factors such as spicy food, stress, and extreme temperatures can exacerbate rosacea. Identifying and avoiding our triggers can reduce flare-ups.
  4. Refresh your skin care routine. Maintaining a gentle skincare routine, using products suitable for sensitive skin, can help manage symptoms.
  5. Assess your diet. Consuming a balanced diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods can aid in managing rosacea.
  6. Get moving. Regular exercise improves overall health and reduces inflammation.
  7. Seek medical attention. If symptoms persist, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional or a dermatologist. There are various treatments available that can help manage this condition effectively.

Alcoholic Nose Treatment

How do you get rid of a red nose? Effective treatment for alcoholic nose, rosacea, or rhinophyma often involves a multifaceted approach. Dermatologists recommend avoiding alcohol and spicy foods, which can exacerbate symptoms. Redness from rosacea can be managed; a dermatologist may prescribe topical antibiotics, retinoids, or azelaic acid. These topical creams containing antibiotics or anti-inflammatory agents can help reduce redness and inflammation. Laser therapy can target blood vessels and minimize visible redness. In severe cases of rhinophyma, surgical procedures may be necessary to reshape the nose.

It's crucial to consult with a healthcare professional for a personalized treatment plan tailored to your specific condition. Early intervention and lifestyle changes can significantly improve the appearance and health of your skin. Once it progresses to full rhinophyma, treatment primarily consists of surgery — so it’s best to avoid it in the first place!

Charting a New Course

A reddening nose can be a signal of underlying issues that we need to address.

By taking concrete steps towards healthier habits, we can avoid an alcoholic nose and minimize symptoms of rosacea and rhinophyma.

Remember, the first step towards change is understanding — but you don’t have to do it all alone. Find your people at Reframe!

If you’ve heard of or seen "drinker's nose" or “alcoholic nose”, you might be wondering what causes it — and whether alcohol is truly the culprit.

In this article, we'll navigate the scientific waters underlying this condition and chart a course towards healthier habits.

What Is a “Drinker’s Nose”?

The terms "drinker's nose" or “alcoholic nose,” though misleading, refer to a skin condition known as rosacea — a disorder causing redness and making the blood vessels in our face visible, especially in our nose.

This condition is actually called “rhinophyma” — Greek for “nose overgrowth” — and causes both a reddening and thickening of the nose. It earned its nickname due to a misconception that heavy drinkers are the only ones affected, their nose’s red hue a telltale sign of overindulgence.

However, research tells us it’s a bit more complicated. A landmark 2017 study reported a positive association between alcohol and rosacea in women. The research highlighted the increased risk of rosacea with increasing alcohol consumption. These findings lay the groundwork for our understanding of how alcohol amplifies rosacea symptoms.

In other words, while alcohol doesn’t cause rosacea, it can certainly exacerbate its symptoms.

The Science Behind the Redness

Our noses, like the rest of our skin, are crisscrossed with tiny blood vessels. Alcohol is a vasodilator: it prompts blood vessels to expand, increasing blood flow to the skin's surface, especially the face. It makes us flushed.

If we consistently consume alcohol, these blood vessels may remain enlarged, giving the nose a perpetually reddened, bulbous look.

The link between alcohol and rosacea goes deeper. Drinking dehydrates us, leading to inflammation — and a worsening of rosacea symptoms. Dehydration triggers inflammation in our bodies, and since rosacea is an inflammatory skin condition, alcohol-induced dehydration can worsen its symptoms.

Drinker’s Nose

What’s more, alcohol can trigger the overgrowth of a mite called Demodex folliculorum, naturally occurring on our skin. Those of us with rosacea can have up to four more times the Demodex mites on our face than people who don’t have rosacea

It’s a vicious cycle: these mites can proliferate in higher numbers with rosacea present, worsening symptoms. While the relationship between these mites and rosacea isn’t fully understood, they're another piece of the puzzle connecting alcohol and rosacea.

Spotting Symptoms

Here are some common symptoms of rosacea:

  • Persistent redness
  • Swollen red bumps
  • Eye problems (like dryness and irritation)
  • Enlarged nose due to thickened skin (rhinophyma). 

While rosacea can affect anyone, it's more common among middle-aged women and people with fair skin. Alcohol can trigger flare-ups, so recognizing these signs early will help us to take action on alcohol and rosacea related triggers.

Avoiding “Red Nose”

We've understood the problem and its causes; now let’s focus on the solution. The good news is that rosacea is manageable, and some lifestyle changes can significantly help.

  1. Moderate alcohol intake. Cutting back on alcohol is the most direct step we can take. This doesn't necessarily mean total abstinence, but moderation is key — as is learning to be assertive about your choices.

  2. Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water can help counteract the dehydrating effects of alcohol. Remember that a night out doesn’t have to set back your goals to cut back — plenty of bars supply delicious mocktails these days.

  3. Avoid triggers. Besides alcohol, other factors such as spicy food, stress, and extreme temperatures can exacerbate rosacea. Identifying and avoiding our triggers can reduce flare-ups.
  4. Refresh your skin care routine. Maintaining a gentle skincare routine, using products suitable for sensitive skin, can help manage symptoms.
  5. Assess your diet. Consuming a balanced diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods can aid in managing rosacea.
  6. Get moving. Regular exercise improves overall health and reduces inflammation.
  7. Seek medical attention. If symptoms persist, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional or a dermatologist. There are various treatments available that can help manage this condition effectively.

Alcoholic Nose Treatment

How do you get rid of a red nose? Effective treatment for alcoholic nose, rosacea, or rhinophyma often involves a multifaceted approach. Dermatologists recommend avoiding alcohol and spicy foods, which can exacerbate symptoms. Redness from rosacea can be managed; a dermatologist may prescribe topical antibiotics, retinoids, or azelaic acid. These topical creams containing antibiotics or anti-inflammatory agents can help reduce redness and inflammation. Laser therapy can target blood vessels and minimize visible redness. In severe cases of rhinophyma, surgical procedures may be necessary to reshape the nose.

It's crucial to consult with a healthcare professional for a personalized treatment plan tailored to your specific condition. Early intervention and lifestyle changes can significantly improve the appearance and health of your skin. Once it progresses to full rhinophyma, treatment primarily consists of surgery — so it’s best to avoid it in the first place!

Charting a New Course

A reddening nose can be a signal of underlying issues that we need to address.

By taking concrete steps towards healthier habits, we can avoid an alcoholic nose and minimize symptoms of rosacea and rhinophyma.

Remember, the first step towards change is understanding — but you don’t have to do it all alone. Find your people at Reframe!

Take Control and Thrive With Reframe

Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually, with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

You’ll meet millions of fellow Reframers in our 24/7 Forum chat and daily Zoom check-in meetings. Receive encouragement from people worldwide who know exactly what you’re going through! You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with our licensed Reframe coaches for more personalized guidance.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to help as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol.

And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you have nothing to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app today!

Call to action to download reframe app for ios usersCall to action to download reframe app for android users
Reframe has helped over 2 millions people to build healthier drinking habits globally
Take The Quiz
Our Editorial Standards
At Reframe, we do science, not stigma. We base our articles on the latest peer-reviewed research in psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral science. We follow the Reframe Content Creation Guidelines, to ensure that we share accurate and actionable information with our readers. This aids them in making informed decisions on their wellness journey.
Learn more
Updated Regularly
Our articles undergo frequent updates to present the newest scientific research and changes in expert consensus in an easily understandable and implementable manner.
Table of Contents
Call to action for signing up reframe app
Relevant Articles
Ready to meet the BEST version of yourself?
Start Your Custom Plan
Call to action to download reframe app for ios usersCall to action to download reframe app for android users
review
23,559
App Store Reviews
mobile
3,120,987
App Downloads
a bottle and a glass
102,332,239
Drinks Eliminated / Year

Scan the QR code to get started!

Reframe supports you in reducing alcohol consumption and enhancing your well-being.

Ready To Meet the Best Version of Yourself?
3,120,987 Downloads
23,559 Reviews
102,332,239 Drinks eliminated each year
Try Reframe for 7 Days Free! Scan to download the App