Nobody really knows what causes rhinophyma [source: Rosacea.org]. There doesn't seem to be a clear reason why some people develop rhinophyma and others do not. What is known is that rhinophyma is the last stage in the progression of acne rosacea.
Rosacea is a skin disorder that causes the face to excessively blush or turn red. Blood vessels under the skin expand, allowing more blood to flow to the surface. The extra blood near the surface of the skin gives those with rosacea their typical flushed appearance.
In milder cases of rosacea, a person's face usually stays flushed and red for a few hours or days [source: International Rosacea Foundation]. The face takes on a mild sunburned or windburned appearance, and the skin there may feel tight and tender and sting when touched. Once the facial irritation has passed, the redness goes down. At this stage, there usually are no associated red bumps or pimples.
With stage II or moderate rosacea, the face stays red for days or weeks on end [source: International Rosacea Foundation]. Small bumps form there, especially around the nose, cheeks and chin. The bumps are pimple-like and not an outbreak of blackheads. Blood vessels in the skin can become damaged at this stage [source: Facial Rosacea]. The damaged blood vessels allow more blood to flow to the face, making the facial redness semi-permanent. Swelling of the tissue around the face increases as well.
In the most severe stage of acne rosacea, the skin thickens and becomes swollen with enlarged pores that become clogged. Acne becomes severe and does not calm down or clear up on its own. Pus-filled pockets and deep pits form under the skin, especially around the cheeks and nose [source: International Rosacea Foundation]. Left untreated for months or years, damaged blood vessels can cause permanent changes to the skin. This is when rhinophyma is often diagnosed.
Once a doctor diagnoses rhinophyma, there are several ways to treat it. Read on to learn how to reverse the damage and disfigurement caused by this disorder.