How to Treat a Pimple Inside Your Nose

Pimples inside the nose (nasal vestibulitis) is a common condition that usually resolves without any complications. Certain patients are susceptible to getting pimples inside the nose and may be prone to a more serious clinical course. It is important to know if you are at risk and take precautions to prevent pimples from occurring inside your nose.

Key takeaways:

Read on to learn who is at risk and how to diagnose, prevent, and treat pimples inside the nose.

What is a pimple?

A pimple, also known as a zit or blemish, occurs when a pore gets clogged with dirt, oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. While most people know that pimples develop on the face, chest, or back, they can appear almost anywhere there are hair follicles on the body. In many cases, there is a genetic component to pimples. However, it can also occur as a result of the use of comedogenic products, hormones, and certain foods, like those with a high glycemic index.

What causes a pimple inside the nose?

Pimples inside the nose are not very common. However, certain patients are predisposed to getting them inside the nose. Trauma and immune system status play a significant role in developing pimples inside the nose.

Traumatic causes include:

  • Picking your nose. Bacteria on your fingers or under your fingernails can be transferred to open areas inside your nose, leading to infection.
  • Blowing your nose excessively. Frequent nose blowing, such as during an upper respiratory infection or allergies, abrades the skin and creates open areas for bacteria to enter.
  • Plucking the hairs inside your nose. This creates tiny openings in the skin where bacteria can enter.
  • Nose piercing. Until the piercing heals, there are open areas where bacteria can enter.

A weakened immune system makes you susceptible to infection. Causes of a weakened immune system include:

  • Medications. Medications such as prednisone, chemotherapy, and immunosuppressants used to treat autoimmune conditions or to prevent rejection after transplants (cyclosporin, methotrexate, or tacrolimus) cause the immune system to be weaker and prone to infection.
  • Medical conditions. Diabetes, cancer, and autoimmune conditions all weaken your immune system.

Symptoms of a pimple inside the nose

Many patients report that pimples inside the nose can cause pain, soreness, irritation, and itching. The nose may become red and swollen. The pimple may appear as one or more pink-red bumps or whiteheads inside the nose. It may be tempting to pick these pimples but do not. This can lead to worsening or spreading of the infection.

Treatment of a pimple inside the nose

There are simple over-the-counter interventions that can help resolve the pimple quickly. You may not require medications from your doctor. If the over-the-counter options fail, see your doctor immediately to prevent your condition from getting worse. Sometimes, surgical interventions are required.

Over-the-counter optionsPrescription optionsSurgical options
  • Warm compresses
  • No popping or picking
  • Pain relief with acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or aspirin
  • Topical bacitracin applied with clean fingers
  • Topical mupirocin applied with clean fingers
  • Oral antibiotics, such as cephalexin
  • Excision
  • Incision and drainage (I&D)
  • When to see a doctor for a pimple inside the nose

    Most pimples inside the nose resolve quickly without the need for medical intervention. However, there are certain cases when you need to see a doctor. Prompt attention is necessary to prevent spreading the infection.

    If you experience any of these, see your doctor immediately:

    • Prolonged pimple. The pimple doesn't go away or worsens with over-the-counter treatments. You may require oral antibiotics or I&D.
    • Oral antibiotics don't work. It may not be a pimple, but a polyp, cold sore, or cancerous lesion.
    • Additional symptoms. Fever, chills, fatigue, pain, problems with vision, and headache all indicate that you may have another condition.
    • Immunosuppressed. You are immunosuppressed from medications or medical conditions.

    How to prevent pimples inside the nose

    If you are prone to developing pimples, there are simple ways to prevent getting them inside your nose. You may need help from your doctor if the pimples appear due to excessively blowing your nose. You may have allergies and require medications. Also, if nasal dryness is the cause, your doctor may be able to recommend products to hydrate the inside of the nose.

    Prevention includes:

    1. No picking, plucking, or piercing your nose.
    2. Use clean hands when touching your face or blowing your nose.
    3. Reduce the number of times you blow your nose.
    4. Use products to reduce nasal dryness.

    Pimples inside the nose can be an annoying and painful experience. Only rare cases lead to complications, and most resolve quickly. The good news is that the earlier it is diagnosed and treated, the faster you will feel better. If you are not getting better or your condition is worse, see your doctor immediately.


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