- Pimples develop due to a buildup of oil, dead skin cells and bacteria inside pores.
- Pimples are more likely to develop on the nose during periods of hormonal fluctuations such as puberty and menstruation.
- A three-step skin care regimen that includes cleansing, exfoliation and a medicated topical can effectively treat pimples on the nose.
Pimples are a symptom of acne. They can develop anywhere on the body, but most commonly appear on the cheeks, chin, forehead and nose. How to get rid of pimples on the nose will depend largely on choosing the most effective treatment based on the severity of your acne and your skin type.
Mild forms of acne can usually be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) topicals such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid or alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs). More severe forms require prescription-strength topicals and antibiotics.
Following a carefully designed skin care routine that includes cleansing, exfoliation and the application of medicated acne cream is also vital for treating and preventing pimples on the nose.
What Causes Pimples on the Nose?
Acne develops when pores become blocked. This occurs when hair follicles become clogged with a mixture of dirt, dead skin, bacteria and sebum – the oily substance produced by sebaceous glands. The nose area is particularly prone to acne as it contains a high concentration of these glands.
Hormonal fluctuations that occur during puberty, menstruation, menopause and pregnancy also contribute to pimples forming on the nose. Androgens stimulate sebum production and can increase the likelihood of blocked pores.
Stress is also known to contribute to acne development, as it causes the body to release the hormone corticotropin, which boosts sebum production.
Types of Pimples
All pimples form as a natural response of the body and depending on severity, they are in one of two groups: inflammatory or noninflammatory.
Comedonal acne (which includes blackheads and whiteheads) is characterized by clogged pores and is considered noninflammatory. More severe forms of acne develop when the bacteria trapped inside clogged pores start to multiply, triggering an immune response that leads to inflammation.
- Blackheads develop when pores become clogged near the skin’s surface; when the plug is exposed to air, it oxidizes and appears black in color
- Whiteheads develop when a clogged pore is sealed over by a layer of skin that prevents oxidation; the pimple remains white
- Papules are hard, round, flesh-colored lesions that develop when the buildup inside a clogged pore causes it to rupture and become inflamed
- Pustules form when white blood cells accumulate inside an inflamed pore and degrade into pus
- Nodules are hard, painful acne lesions that develop when the bacteria in an inflamed pore spreads throughout deeper tissues, causing swelling and inflammation
- Cysts are a severe form of acne that consist of pus-filled sacs that develop deep underneath the skin due to spreading of bacteria and subsequent infection
Topical Solutions to Get Rid of Pimples on the Nose
Mild-to-moderate forms of acne on the nose can effectively be treated with the regular use of OTC skin care products as part of a well-structured skin care routine. However, treating more severe inflammatory acne typically requires prescription-strength topical solutions.
- Cleansers clear the surface skin of impurities such as dirt, grime and oil which helps to prevent pimples from developing
- Toners rebalance the skin’s pH and clear pores by removing any impurities remaining after cleansing
- Exfoliants remove dead cells from the surface skin; this works to prevent pores from becoming clogged, and can help treat mild acne
- Face masks formulated with charcoal and clay exfoliate and smooth skin, remove dead skin cells and absorb excess sebum
- Acne creams are medicated spot treatments formulated to treat mild-to-moderate acne.
- Prescription topicals are stronger formulations that can treat severe forms of acne such as nodules and cysts.
Over-the-counter ingredients to look for
The ingredients found in OTC treatments for pimples function in several ways: by reducing excess sebum, dissolving clogs, killing bacteria, easing inflammation or increasing cell turnover.
Although OTC treatments are generally safe to use, some products can cause irritation.
Before applying a new product to your face, spot test it on a small area of skin on your upper arm. If you notice signs of irritation try a different product.
|Ingredient||How It Works||Benefits|
|Alpha-hydroxy acids||Exfoliates dead skin cells, reduces inflammation||Treats mild-to-moderate inflammatory acne, reduces appearance of acne scars|
|Azelaic acid||Kills acne-causing bacteria, reduces inflammation||Treats mild-to-moderate inflammatory acne|
|Benzoyl peroxide||Antimicrobial; kills acne-causing bacteria, exfoliates dead skin cells||Treats mild-to-moderate acne, prevents future breakouts|
|Retinoids||Unclogs pores, increases cell turnover||Treats mild-to-moderate acne; prevents future breakouts|
|Salicylic acid||Dissolves the impurities that clog pores||Prevents acne formation, treats blackheads and whiteheads|
|Sulfur||Exfoliates dead skin cells, reduces sebum buildup||Prevents acne formation|
Particularly severe forms of acne such as cysts and nodules may require prescription-strength treatments as they are more potent.
Prescription-strength medications however, tend to carry a greater risk of side effects, such as skin dryness, flaking, irritation and inflammation. When using these products, follow instructions, and speak with your doctor should you experience any adverse reactions.
- Antibiotics reduce the amount of acne-causing bacteria on the skin’s surface, cleanse infected pores and reduce skin inflammation
Tretinoin, one of the most effective acne treatments available, is a prescription-strength retinoid that increases cell turnover to effectively clear out blocked pores
- Azelaic acid in prescription strength, has a significantly higher percentage of the active ingredient; treats inflamed acne and reduces the visibility of acne scars
Three steps to get rid of pimples on your nose
The following are three important steps to include in your daily routine to lay the foundation for healthy, acne-free skin. All skin care products, ingredients and medicated topicals should be carefully chosen based on your skin type and particular needs.
Step 1: Cleanse
Cleansing serves to remove excess oil, dirt and acne-causing bacteria from the skin’s surface that can clog pores and lead to acne breakouts. Those who are prone to developing pimples on their nose should wash their face each morning and night, as well as after exercising.
If you have oily skin, you will likely benefit from a foaming or gel cleanser with potent ingredients that effectively reduce oil buildup and kill acne-causing bacteria. Such ingredients include benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, aloe vera and green tea.
For those with dry or sensitive skin, foaming and gel cleansers may cause irritation. Instead use cream or lotion cleansers with moisturizing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, to hydrate and soothe dry skin.
Step 2: Exfoliate
Exfoliation removes dead cells from the skin’s surface and helps to reduce acne formation by preventing pore clogs. However, this process can also dry and irritate the skin. Start by exfoliating 1–2 times a week and increase to a maximum of 3–4 times per week if your skin shows no signs of irritation. Always moisturize after exfoliating.
There are two forms of exfoliation: mechanical and chemical. Mechanical (or physical) exfoliation involves the removal of dead skin using abrasive scrubs; chemical exfoliation uses acidic compounds to dissolve the top layer of dead skin, allowing it to be sloughed away.
Those with oily skin can use more abrasive mechanical exfoliants such as sugar scrubs, as well as stronger chemical exfoliants that reduce excess sebum. Those with dry and sensitive skin should choose gentle, chemical exfoliants formulated with AHAs or natural plant granules, to exfoliate without exacerbating dryness or irritation.
Step 3: Apply acne cream
Acne creams incorporate a variety of active ingredients to dissolve pore-clogging impurities, treat existing pimples and prevent pimples from forming.
Acne creams containing benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are well suited to oily and acne-prone skin, as they help to reduce excess sebum buildup and kill acne-causing bacteria. However, these products can cause skin irritation and flaking for those with dry or sensitive skin.
Those with particularly dry skin should seek out retinoid creams; these tend to be less irritating and are typically formulated with moisturizing agents to mitigate dryness.
Home Remedies to Get Rid of Pimples on the Nose
Home remedies for pimples on the nose provide the same range of effects as OTC products, however they tend to be less potent and effective. Therefore, they are best suited for treating mild-to-moderate acne.
Reduce redness with lemon juice
Reduce inflammation and redness with the sebum-dissolving and anti-inflammatory properties of lemon juice.
- Dip a cotton swab in lemon juice and apply to the treatment area
- Leave on for 10 minutes; rinse with lukewarm water
Dry out pimples with apple cider vinegar or tea tree oil
Both apple cider vinegar and tea tree oil kill acne-causing bacteria, clear out pores and dry out pimples, accelerating the healing process. Both ingredients can irritate skin if not diluted.
To dilute: Combine 1–2 drops of tea tree oil with 12 drops of carrier oil; three parts water for each part apple cider vinegar.
- Dip a cotton swab in the diluted mixture and apply to the treatment area
- Leave on for 10 minutes; rinse with lukewarm water
Gently exfoliate with plain yogurt
Exfoliate dead skin cells and reduce excess sebum with lactic acid, an alpha-hydroxy acid naturally found in dairy products such as yogurt.
- Smooth a thin layer of plain yogurt onto the treatment area with a cotton ball
- Leave on for 10 minutes; rinse with lukewarm water
Reduce excess oil with aspirin
Aspirin contains salicylic acid which can help reduce oil buildup and cleanse pores.
- Crush five aspirins in a small bowl; add 1 tsp water
- Blend the mixture until it forms a paste
- Apply the paste to the treatment area with your fingers
- Leave on for 15 minutes; rinse with lukewarm water
Preventing Pimples on the Nose
Pimples on the nose can be prevented by removing bacteria and pore-blocking debris such as dirt, dead skin and excess sebum. These can be addressed with small changes to your lifestyle and skin care routine.
- Follow a skin care routine that includes daily cleansing and regular exfoliation to maintain clean pores and skin health
- Choose oil-free and noncomedogenic products to minimize the risk of blocked pores.
- Wash your hair regularly to avoid the transfer of oil from your hair to your face
- Avoid foods high in carbohydrates and sugar such as white bread, pasta and soda; high carb and sugar intake is associated with increased acne formation.
- Follow a low-glycemic diet rich in foods like beans and fibrous vegetables
Do’s and don’ts when treating pimples on the nose
- Maintain a consistent, well-designed skin care routine appropriate for your skin type and concerns
- Regularly wash your pillowcases and bed sheets; they can accumulate oil from the skin and hair which then transfers to the face during sleep.
- Regularly wash makeup brushes and applicators with antimicrobial soap; they can accumulate bacteria that will inevitably transfer to the face
- Apply cold compresses to relieve the redness, inflammation and discomfort associated with pimples.
- Touch or squeeze pimples as this risks the spread of bacteria which can lead to additional pimples forming
- Manually extract pimples; pore walls can become damaged, allowing bacteria to spread into deeper tissues, worsening inflammation and breakouts.
- Overcleanse; washing your face too often can strip your skin of its natural oils and cause overactivity of sebaceous glands which results in excess oil production
- Overexfoliate; using manual and chemical exfoliants that are too harsh for your skin type, or exfoliating too often can damage skin and may worsen inflammation and acne severity.
Pimples on the nose are a sign of acne. They develop when pores become blocked with dirt, sebum, dead skin and bacteria. Depending on severity, acne may present as blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pustules, nodules or cysts.
For mild, noninflammatory acne, treatment and prevention involves OTC topicals and an effective skin care routine that combines three key steps: cleansing, exfoliating and application of a topical acne cream. Mild acne can also be treated with simple home remedies.
Choose skin care products that are well suited to your skin type and concern. Those with oily skin can opt for foaming or gel cleansers, as well as strong exfoliants. Dry skin is better suited to cream and lotion cleansers with moisturizing ingredients; sensitive skin will benefit from gentle, nonirritating products.
More severe forms of acne, such as nodules and cysts, are effectively treated by prescription medications such as antibiotics and tretinoin.
For any form of acne, the best treatment is one that combines preventative measures such as an effective skin care routine, acne medication, a healthy diet and lifestyle.
If you are having difficulty finding a treatment that works for you, a dermatologist or doctor can analyze your skin’s condition and provide a treatment plan.
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