Rosacea affects about three times as many women than men. Rhinophyma, seen in late-stage rosacea, is characterized by a bulbous overgrowth of the nose, and occurs in approximately 4% of all rosacea sufferers. It affects about twelve times as many men than women and is usually seen in white males of English or Irish descent. Rhinophyma causes a lot of embarrassment and distress to people who have it.
Traditionally, rhinopyma was thought to be associated with alcoholism, but this turned out not to be the case. Rhinophyma is associated with late-stage rosacea and is characterized by fast growing sebaceous tissue and inflammation. Rhinophyma is worsened by anything that dilates blood vessels.
The fact that rhinophyma affects more men than women, could be explained by the fact that male hormones stimulate sebaceous gland growth and secretion of sebum. The sebum is secreted around hair follicles, where it mixes with common skin bacteria, which secrete the enzyme lipase. The lipase interacts with the sebum to produce free fatty acids which stimulates inflammation. Fast growing tissue forces the skin pores to open up, allowing more bacteria to enter.
Rhinophyma cannot be controlled satisfactory with traditional rosacea medications and topical treatments. The treatment of the early stages of rosacea with topical treatments can delay the onset or the severity of the condition.
Rhinophyma can be surgically treated. This has to be arranged through a dermatologist. Tissue can be surgically removed or the rhinophyma can be treated with a laser.