Post-Acne Nasal Papules Described in a Series of Patients

Jeff Craven

September 03, 2020

Nasal papules that resemble angiofibromas are rarely described in the literature as a sequela of acne, but researchers believe the condition could be an underrecognized problem, affecting patients with skin of color in particular, according to the authors of a case series published in Pediatric Dermatology.

Jorge Roman, MD, and coauthors in the department of dermatology at New York (N.Y.) University identified 20 patients with a history of acne who had nasal papules, in a retrospective review of electronic medical records at NYU over 1 year (April 2018 to April 2019). The presentation ranged from "a few, small skin-colored papules to large, dome-shaped papulonodules, to more extensive rhinophymatous-like" changes with some patients having papular lesions on the chin in addition to the nose, they wrote in the report.

Dr. Jorge Roman

These papules greatly resembled angiofibromas, but appear to be a sequela of acne, according to the authors. In five patients who had biopsies, the results showed "a dome-shaped proliferation of spindle and stellate-shaped cells with thickened collagen bundles and dilated thin-walled blood vessels," the authors wrote. "The histopathological findings of these nasal papules were indistinguishable from those of a conventional angiofibroma."

In addition, the patients did not have evidence of underlying genetic conditions that could explain the angiofibroma-like lesions. "Although acne has not previously been implicated in the development of angiofibromas, based on the data available for our patients, it seems extremely unlikely that the lesions would be related to anything else," Dr. Roman, a dermatology resident at New York University, said in an interview.

He said he first recognized the nasal papules in clinic as a first-year resident, but was surprised to find a lack of information on the condition. "Dermatology has a name for just about every skin disease imaginable, so I found it very odd when I couldn't find much describing this condition," he said. "There was a large disparity between what we were seeing in clinic and what was reported in the literature."

Nearly all the patients were Hispanic (17 of 20) and adolescent males (17 patients), with a median age of 16 years at the time of presentation. There were two Black patients and one Asian patient. Race and ethnicity were not mentioned in two previous reports describing papular acne scarring, but Dr. Roman and colleagues noted that in their clinic, the condition appeared to affect adolescent patients with skin of color predominantly.

Reasons why nasal papules may be underreported are unclear, Dr. Roman noted. One possible explanation is lower use of dermatologic care among patients with skin of color. "Interestingly, previous research has shown that racial minorities are lower utilizers of dermatologic care. It is possible that the patient demographic most afflicted by this condition face significant barriers when seeking care," he said.

Due to a low level of awareness of acne-related nasal papules, "clinicians may not recognize it as an acne-related scarring process. This is significant, as early recognition and treatment can prevent the development or progression of these potentially disfiguring sequelae," Dr. Roman said.

Although the results are from a small case series at a single center, Dr. Roman said this condition may be more prevalent than realized. "Having been raised in a predominately Latino community in Texas, I can easily recall seeing people with these papules growing up. I don't think it would be surprising for dermatologists reading our paper to say, 'I've seen this in clinic before,' " he said.

Regarding treatment, there is an ongoing investigation into what treatments are effective for the acne-related nasal papules. "Physical treatment modalities such as ablative laser or surgical removal seem to be the most efficacious," Dr. Roman said. "In the future, a prospective clinical study will help to better define the prevalence and risk factors for the condition," he said.

He and coauthors reported no conflicts of interest. No funding source was listed.

SOURCE: Roman J et al. Pediatr Dermatol. 2020 Aug 7. doi: 10.1111/pde.14319.

This article originally appeared on, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.