How to fix that jolly red nose

RICHARD HUGHES
Last updated 13:53 22/07/2014
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W.C. FIELDS: Movie star, red nose icon.

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A big nose is something of a badge of masculinity, a more accurate indication of ''manhood'' than even size of feet (apparently). But a big red nose denotes something quite different.

Sun lover: probably. Christmas elf: maybe annually. Bit of a drinker: most likely. So, not a good look, especially if you're anywhere near middle age.

The unfair thing is that a red nose is not necessarily caused by imbibing. Teetotallers get them, too. Totes.

''Little red veins on the nose are most often caused by unprotected sun exposure,'' says dermal therapist Maria Nagaoka of Melbourne's Erase skin clinic. So it makes sense to deal with a red nose in the dead of winter, when the UV index is low and the sun will not undo all the good work.

Luckily this ''work'' involves no downtime, so no holidays are required, nor is returning looking conspicuously different. What it does involve is submitting to short blasts of an IPL laser at a reputable skin clinic.

The results after two or three treatments are usually excellent - no more red nose! - and then only annual winter-time touch-ups are required to keep the redness at bay.

Nose lasers? 

IPL lasers have been around for years: in fact, they were one of the first tools of the anti-ageing market.

The standard IPL machine does refining or ''rejuvenation'', while the medical-grade type targets the symptoms of rosacea and visible vessels, reducing uneven colour, wrinkles and, to some degree, acne scarring.

''Men come in and have their cheeks and nose done - areas that are exposed to the sun,'' says Nagaoka. ''All skin types are more stable at this time of year and the chances of pigmentation will downgrade.''

In & out

This truly is lunchtime stuff. It's a very quick treatment - over in 15 minutes. However, preparing and then cooling off the skin afterwards takes longer than the actual treatment.

It can be uncomfortable. It's like a hot camera flash on the face and what Nagaoka describes as a flick of a rubber band, but I'd say a flick of a tiny wire whip brandished by an evil elf.

Afterwards, ironically, the skin feels sunburnt and looks a little pink, but any side-effects of the treatment ease in about 24 hours and your proboscis is restored to its manly best.

If it sticks out, it's worth doing something about. Perhaps in the first place with sunscreen, but if it's too late for that, there's still hope.

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I'll drink to that.

How's your hooter? Would you submit to a quick laser fix to reduce the redness? In New Zealand, IPL treatments start from about $150 a session for half the face. 

- Sydney Morning Herald

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