Rosacea Review - Newsletter of the National Rosacea SocietyRosacea Review - Newsletter of the National Rosacea Society

Ignoring Doctor's Orders Leads to Rhinophyma

Joseph Sheehan may be a thick-skinned individual, but when his rosacea got out of control, it was more than he could bear.

Sheehan, a naval architect who teaches ship design, developed rosacea around 60. "At first it was basically just a redness, and oily skin around the nose," he said.

He tried a few home remedies and lived with the symptoms for about a year. Finally, he saw a dermatologist.

"He prescribed an oral antibiotic, but I didn't like the idea of having to use it indefinitely," Sheehan said. "So I never took it."

Not following orders led to his downfall. Over the next three years, Sheehan's nose developed a severe case of redness and swelling, known as rhinophyma.

"I am pretty thick-skinned, but it was very unpleasant to stand out like that," Sheehan said. Not only was his rhinophyma affecting his appearance, the excess tissue on his nose was heavy and his doctor was afraid it would soon affect his breathing.

"I was highly motivated to get this taken care of," Sheehan said. He returned to the dermatologist and began using the oral medication and a topical antibiotic as well. "This really stabilized the redness," he said.

A plastic surgeon was able to remove the excess tissue from Sheehan's nose and sculpt it back to normal.

"He asked me what kind of nose I wanted and I showed him a wedding picture," Sheehan said. "He did a marvelous job, and now a year later, it looks even better.

"I never should have waited so long," Sheehan said. "You can't fool around with rosacea. This is what happened to me by not doing what I was supposed to do."