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Whiskey Nose | What Is It And How Can I Treat It?

Whiskey nose is a commonly occurring skin condition which usually affects men past their 40s. It can be both uncomfortable and can damage a sufferer’s confidence, especially in more severe cases. But what is it really and what can be done about it?

In this article, we aim to uncover the truth behind whiskey nose, explore what treatments are available to those with the condition, and what self-care actions you can take to help manage whiskey nose on a day-to-day basis.

The three main sections of this articles are as follows:

  • The Truth Behind Whiskey Nose
  • Whiskey Nose Treatment Options
  • Whiskey Nose Self-Care

The Truth Behind Whiskey Nose

The term whiskey nose is just one of many names this condition goes by. Colloquially, it is also unkindly known as “clown nose” and “rum nose,” while its medical name is Rhinophyma. Whiskey nose and rum nose stem from the previously held idea that whiskey nose was linked to drinking alcohol, which is in fact not the case.

Whiskey nose is actually a sub-type of the skin condition rosacea, which is often thought of as a flushed face, especially the nose and cheeks. However, whiskey nose is a different form, sub-type 3, of the same skin condition.  

Whiskey Nose Symptoms

The word rhinophyma is made up of two parts: “rhino”, meaning nose; and “phyma,” meaning swelling. It is no surprise, therefore, that the most obvious feature of whiskey nose is the swelling of the nose.

Some of the most commonly occurring symptoms of whiskey nose include:

  • A swollen, bulbous nose
  • Extremely oily skin
  • Thick, bumpy skin. In early stages, the skin is said to feel like an orange peel.
  • Visible red or purplish blood vessels
  • Large, seemingly open skin pores
  • Difficulty with nasal breathing

The causes of rosacea have not yet been found, but there are a number of triggers which are thought to exacerbate the condition. Consult our Rosacea Triggers Guide for more information about these triggers and what you can do to avoid them.

Mild RhinophymaModerate RhinophymaSevere Rhinophyma

Treatment Options

Depending on the severity of your condition, as you can see from the above images, there are different treatment options which you can pursue.

Topical Creams and Cleansers

Rhinophyma is thought to be made worse due to an over-production of sebum. Sebum is an oily substance produced by the sebaceous glands which serves to moisturise and protect your skin. However, when too much is secreted, this can cause medical complications, with one such issue being the swelling of the nose.

Therefore, as suggested by the British Association of Dermatologists, we recommend using an un-perfumed moisturiser regularly to cleanse your face, such as Finca’s Rosacea Serum Sub-Type 2. Although designed with type 2 sufferers in mind, its carefully selected ingredients help to control the production of sebum and does not contain anything which can upset your rhinophyma further. It is also excellent at reducing the overall redness of the nose, which is a common symptom of whiskey nose.

Rosacea Serum Sub-Type 2

Isotretinoin and Tretinoin – Oral and Topical Acne Medicine

Isotretinoin is orally taken and commonly used for extreme bouts of acne; it can also be effective in treating type-3 rosacea. Isotretinoin can help in reducing redness associated with rosacea, as well as limiting the growth of the sebaceous glands.

Tretinoin is similar to Isotretinoin, both are derived from Vitamin A but Tretinoin is applied topically

Despite it's ability to help certain rosacea sufferers, Isotretinoin and Tretinoin do have side effects, which you may want to look into before opting for this route.

Also, it is only available on prescription and you must consult with your doctor before going on to this course of medicine due to its strong side-effects.

These methods can be used at every stage of rhinophyma severity. Unfortunately, if you have a more advanced stage, any kind of cream or medicine will not do much to alter the appearance of your nose.

You may then have to turn to surgical treatment approaches.

Surgical Treatments

Although surgery should always be used as a last option, if your rhinophyma is progressed enough to have swollen way beyond its normal size, surgical methods may well be the most effective way to treat your whiskey nose. The British Association of Dermatologists indicate four potential options:

  • CO2 Laser Treatment – often the preferred surgical procedure for whiskey nose. This method uses a CO2 Laser to remove excess layers of skin without as great a risk of bleeding compared to the other procedures on this list. However, there is a chance that the laser can cause permanent changes of pigmentation or scarring to the skin in patches.
  • Scalpel or Razor Blade Excision – this method uses a scalpel or razor blade in a controlled manner to cut away excess layers of skin. There is a chance the blade can cut too deep and bleeding occur.
  • Dermabrasion – for this procedure, a wire brush or a burr is rotated at high speeds and excess skin is eroded away. There is a chance of bleeding, changes in pigmentation and scarring if the brush penetrates too deeply.
  • Electrosurgery and Electrocautery – high currents are passed through a device which heats up to such an extent that it can remove excess skin tissue. Can cause bleeding.


On a day-to-day basis, there are several things you can do to help manage your situation. While these methods are unlikely to result in a miraculous healing of your condition, they will at least help stop it from getting any worse.

These methods can also help reduce the redness of your whiskey nose and help stop your skin from getting as dry and as “orange-peel-like” if done on a regular basis.

Apply High SPF Sunscreen Daily

Always protect your skin from the sun as UV light is a frequent trigger for rosacea. Make sure that you use a high SPF sun block on the affected area whenever you go outside, even if the sun does not appear to be out.

We recommend the Finca Facial Sunscreen as it helps to reduce the visible redness of your skin, as well as protecting your sensitive skin from everything the sun throws at you, without aggravating your rosacea

Sunscreen for Rosacea

Moisturise Regularly

Use a regular moisturiser to cleanse and hydrate your skin, such as as Finca’s Rosacea Serum Sub-Type 2, as mentioned previously. If you have dry rough skin then this is essential.

Camoflauge Redness With Gentle Cosmetic Products

Camouflage the redness of your rosacea using un-perfumed cosmetics. We have developed the Anti Redness Primer, developed with green tea and cucumber, to immediately reduce redness and hydrate dry skin.

Anti Redness Primer

Rejuvenate Your Skin!