Pimples in and under your nose: How to treat them

Kick those pesky pimples to the curb.

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Team Software
Medically reviewed by
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Dealing with acne is never fun, but nose pimples can be particularly painful and bothersome. These red or white bumps are often tender and inflamed, whether they pop up under the nose or inside your nasal passages.

The good news is these pesky pimples can be treated and tend to disappear fairly quickly. But, you need to know what you're dealing with before you can go about treating pimples inside the nose.

So, we're going to dive into all things nose pimples, what causes them, why they are so painful and how to treat them.

Types and causes of nasal pimples

A nose pimple can come in many different forms and have several different causes. Once you narrow down what type of acne you might be dealing with, you can begin to treat it correctly and say goodbye to nose pimples once and for all.

Nasal vestibulitis

Nasal vestibulitis is caused by an infection of Staphylococcus (staph) bacteria in the nose, which causes red bumps or whiteheads at the opening of the nostrils and below the nose [1]. Bacterial infections can also cause irritation, pain and inflammation around and inside the opening of the nose.

This bacterial infection can be caused by several habits including nose picking, excessive nose blowing or topical nasal steroid use.

Ingrown hairs

Pimples appear under or inside your nose as a result of an ingrown hair. This is particularly prevalent for those who pluck their nose hairs.

Perioral dermatitis

While not technically acne, perioral dermatitis can resemble acne vulgaris thanks to the small red bumps that often form around the nose and mouth [2].

This skin condition can be triggered by the prolonged use of topical steroids or steroid nasal sprays as well as skincare products like creams, sunscreen or makeup. Hormonal changes have also been thought to play a role.

Nasal furuncles

Nasal furuncles are boils that are caused by infections within the nose, which can lead to pimples both under and inside the nose. This infection is the result of dermatitis of the nasal vestibule, which is caused by staphylococcus aureus [3].

Severe infections of nasal furuncles can lead to cellulitis, a skin infection that can enter the bloodstream.

Blocked hair follicles

One of the most common causes of inflammatory acne is when a hair follicle or pore becomes blocked with dead skin cells. This can cause a pesky pimple inside your nose or lead to whiteheads and blackheads.

These pimples can put pressure on the pores and lead to the contents spreading into the skin, which can cause an immune response that involves sending white blood cells to the area. This can lead to the swelling, redness and tenderness that is often associated with inflammatory breakouts [4].

Why do pimples under my nose hurt so much?

If you've pimples under your nose, you know how painful they can be. The pain is often caused by inflammation, which makes the area sensitive due to swelling, and discomfort related to blocked hair follicles [4].

We also can't forget that the nose itself is a sensitive area, which can make the experience even more uncomfortable. Ever tried to pop a pimple near or in your nose? Chances are it's been incredibly sore and made your eyes water — best to leave it, in the future.

How long do pimples under your nose last?

Most pimples tend to last anywhere from 3-7 days, although if your pimples are caused by an infection, like nasal vestibulitis, it can take longer for this to clear up.

While nasal vestibulitis tends to feel better and less painful a few days into treatment, it can take a few weeks of treatment to clear the infection up [5].

How do you pop a cystic pimple with no head?

If you're dealing with a blind or hard pimple under your nose, chances are you're feeling a bit frustrated that you can't squeeze it. First things first, please leave the cystic pimple alone! These types of zits sit far below the surface of the skin, making them difficult to pop.

And, if you try to do this, you'll end up irritating it further and it could lead to future acne scarring or infection thanks to spreading bacteria around.

If the blind zit is causing you discomfort, warm compresses can help ease this, while also allowing the pimple to soften and eventually release the pus and gunk inside. Pop a warm compress on the area for up to 15 minutes, 4 times a day.

While annoying, you need to let the blind pimple do its own thing. You can try popping a pimple patch on it or using over-the-counter acne-targeting skincare products with ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or tea tree oil to help heal the zit.

How do I get rid of pimples under my nose?

If you're dealing with acne vulgaris around your nose, there are two ways to go about treating this. One is through over-the-counter products with acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid.

Software's Acne Kit targets breakouts at all stages with 4 products — our Salicylic Acid Foaming Wash, which washes away acne-causing bacteria, while the Ceramide Repair Balm helps repair the skin barrier.

The addition of the AHA/BHA Pimple Patches helps penetrate pimples and kill bacteria deep within the skin, while the Acne Supplement supports skin health and fights acne from the inside, out.

Alternatively, you might like to fight acne with a custom compounded formula. Software's acne treatment is designed by our dermatology team and includes ingredients like retinoids, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid.

Simply share your skin goals with a Software practitioner and our team will create a customised formulation.

If you're dealing with nasal vestibulitis, antibiotic creams are often required to clear this up. Unfortunately, regular acne treatments won't nip nasal vestibulitis in the bud so be sure to seek advice from your doctor to ensure you're treating it correctly.

If you're dealing with a pimple inside the nose, try to keep the nasal passages clean and clear with a saline nasal spray and use warm compresses to ease pain. It's recommended to avoid placing products inside the nose as it's incredibly sensitive and could cause a burn.

Photo credit: Getty Images

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