- Pimples on the nose can be caused by stress, cosmetic or skincare products or hormonal fluctuations
- Pimples appear in various forms, and are created by a buildup and blockage of oil, dead skin cells and bacteria
- Treat acne with a 3-step skincare regimen that includes cleansing, exfoliating and acne cream
- Prevent acne flare-ups by using products that are oil-free and noncomedogenic, wash hair regularly and cut out certain foods like dairy and carbohydrates
Pimples that form on the nose can be distracting and cause insecurity. While it’s tempting to get rid of them as fast as possible, it’s best to have patience and treat skin with care (this means no popping, picking, or touching!) and follow a simple, three-step skincare routine that will help open up and clean the pores while preventing future pimples from forming.
What Causes Pimples on the Nose?
The nose is a part of the T-zone, an area that has a large concentration of oil (sebaceous) glands that produce sebum — more than other areas of the face. These pores are also larger which allow them to easily become clogged or infected and cause the eruption of various types of pimples.
When pimples form on the nose this is usually caused by stress, hormonal fluctuations like puberty, or cyclical acne which appears before a period, during pregnancy or menopause.
Other culprits that can cause pimples on the nose are some cosmetics and skincare products which sit on the skin, cause clogging of the pores and produce breakouts. It’s best to read all labels and look for products that are oil-free and noncomedogenic or nonacneagenic.
Types of Pimples
Pimples are not all created equal and come in many different forms, with some being easier to treat than others. Acne is a term used to describe the skin issues that result from blocked pores.
Blackheads: An open pore on the skin that becomes blocked due to a buildup of oil, dead skin cells and bacteria. The sebum inside the pore oxidizes, and the tip of the bump turns black.
Whiteheads: Similar to a blackhead, pores become blocked by oil, dead skin and bacteria, but in this case, the pore stays closed, forming a white tip.
Papules: When the blocked pore becomes irritated it looks inflamed and can appear red and raised and may be sensitive and painful.
Pustules: Irritated pores that look inflamed and are pus-filled. This is a sign that the immune system is trying to fight the bacteria by producing white blood cells, which results in the appearance of white or yellow pus.
Nodules: A more severe form of pimple that develops deep within the skin and appear larger and are more tender. While they do not contain pus, if they are squeezed the bacteria could spread and cause an infection and/or permanent scar damage.
Cysts: Another severe form of pimple that forms deep in the skin tissue, are pus-filled and usually don’t have a head. They are larger than the average blackhead and whitehead and look like a red, swollen lump on the skin. They are sensitive to the touch and painful and may require more professional treatment than regular over-the-counter (OTC) acne treatments.
Topical Solutions to Get Rid of Pimples on the Nose
Most pimples, especially blackheads and whiteheads on the nose, can be treated with topical OTC solutions such as cleansers, exfoliants, masks, toners and moisturizers. Pimples that fall into the nodules and cysts category may need professional treatment in order for the inflammation and bumps to go down.
If you are not sure what type of pimples you are experiencing, visit a board-certified dermatologist for a proper diagnosis. They will be able to advise you if pimples can be treated with OTC solutions, or if you require something stronger.
Ingredients to look for
When looking for OTC products for blackheads and whiteheads, some effective ingredients are salicylic acid, benzol peroxide, alpha hydroxy acids, azelaic acid, retinol and sulfur. If you’re purchasing these products OTC, they will generally come in lower concentrations than those prescribed by a dermatologist or doctor.
Salycylic acid: Helps to unclog pores while boosting the skins anti-inflammatory and peeling action. It’s also known as being the most common beta hydroxy acid (BHA), which is a type of chemical exfoliant.
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs): These can be found in the form of glycolic acid or lactic acid. Both are types of chemical exfoliants that gently dissolves dead skin cells on the surface of the skin, allowing new, smoother skin to appear and reduces inflammation. They also help decrease the appearance of pores and acne scars.
Sulfar: Helps unclog pores by removing dead skin cells but can be drying.
Azelaic acid: Due to its antibacterial properties, this ingredient can help reduce redness and irritation of inflamed pimples such as papules and pustules.
Retinoids: Retinol, a derivative of Vitamin A is better known for its anti-aging benefits but can also be effective in helping clear pimples by boosting cell turnover and removing dead skin cells.
For severe acne, if you are looking for higher concentrations or a stronger retinol product such as tretinoin (prescription-only retinoid), you’ll need approval from your dermatologist or doctor.
While many of these products have been proven safe to use, according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, some OTC acne products can cause irritation, sometimes even produce allergy-type and/or serious reactions such as tightening of the throat and swelling of the lips, face or tongue. If you start to experience any of these symptoms, stop using the product and seek immediate medical attention.
Three steps to get rid of pimples on your nose
Those suffering from blackheads, whiteheads, papules or pustules have an easier chance of treating and preventing pimples by following an effective skin care routine that includes proper cleansing, exfoliation and application of acne cream.
Step 1: Cleanse Your Skin
Cleansing helps remove excess oil, bacteria and dead skin cells that has accumulated on the skin’s surface which can clog pores and form pimples. A mild cleanser with ingredients like glycerin or hyaluronic acid can remove dirt and clean the skin without drying it out. For best results, wash your face every day in the morning and before you go to bed and rinse with lukewarm water. If you tend to work up a sweat while exercising, try to wash your face soon afterwards. But, don’t overdo it — excessive face washing can end up irritating blemishes and make it worse.
Step 2: Exfoliate
Exfoliation is an important pimple-fighting step as it sloughs off the dead skin cells from the outermost layer of the skin, unblocks pores and helps uncover newer skin. Exfoliating products can take the format of a toner, scrub, pads or a mask, and come in two forms: chemical and mechanical. Chemical exfoliants are AHAs and BHAs that dissolve dead skin cells. Mechanical exfoliants are usually made up of small granules such as microbeads, jojoba, papaya, pumpkin or sugar. When using a mechanical exfoliant, apply gentle pressure in small, circular motions. Scrubbing too hard could create tears in the surface of the skin, further irritating the pimple.
Those with sensitive or acne-prone skin may prefer chemical exfoliants over mechanical versions as they can cause less irritation. Oily skin types can opt for mechanical exfoliation. For those with darker skin tones, or prone to scarring, avoid strong chemical or mechanical exfoliation since this aggressive type of removal may result in producing more dark spots.
Exfoliation can be drying and should only be done 1-2 times a week. After exfoliation, apply a moisturizer best suited for your skin type.
Step 3: Use Acne Cream
Experiment with different types of acne creams in order to find out which treatment works best for your specific type of acne. This will depend on your skin type, the form and severity of pimples you have, and your skincare preferences.
Acne cream with benzoyl peroxide is the most common type found in stores. However, it can be drying and cause flaking, especially to those with dry or sensitive skin. Avoid doubling up on benzoyl peroxide in your cleanser and acne cream.
For stubborn pimples you may have to test out various products with different active ingredients, even applying one product in the morning and a different one at night to avoid any skin irritation. Finding the best combination of cleanser, exfoliator and acne cream may take some time, and patience. It’s unlikely that you will see results after a few days of practising a new skincare routine (even in-office acne treatments such as a chemical peel requires a period of time until one sees any improvement) and in some cases, it may take a few weeks.
Home Remedies to Get Rid of Pimples on the Nose
Since an effective way to treating pimples is to test out various remedies and find a regimen that works for you, there are some acne-solutions that can be tried at home, depending on the results you’re looking for.
Reduce redness with lemon juice. Lemon juice is considered an astringent which helps to absorb excess oil and fight the bacteria that can cause pimples. Its anti-inflammatory properties can be helpful in reducing inflammation and redness.
- Dip a cotton swab into lemon juice and place it on the affected area
- Rinse off with lukewarm water since lemon can be drying to the skin
- Dip a cotton swab into 1-2 drops of apple cider vinegar or tea tree oil and apply it to the affected area
- Leave it on for 15 minutes, then rinse with lukewarm water
Gently exfoliate with plain yogurt. Yogurt contains lactic acid, a natural exfoliator that can help remove dead skin cells and excess oil.
- Create your own face mask by smoothing on a layer of plain yoghurt with a cotton ball.
- Leave on for 10 minutes, then rinse with lukewarm water.
Reduce excess oil with aspirin. The salycylic acid in the aspirin will help reduce the oil and buildup on the skin and cleanse the pores.
- Crush five aspirins in a bowl and add enough water to form a paste
- Apply the mixture with your fingers
- Leave on for 5 minutes, then rinse with lukewarm water
Preventing Pimples on the Nose
Whether you have minimal breakouts or suffer from cystic acne, both are created the same: from a clogged pore. To avoid getting the unsightly pimple on the nose in the first place, there are a few steps you can take.
Wash your hair regularly. Greasy locks could transfer more oil onto your face, making the skin oiler and more susceptible to becoming clogged.
Cleanse and exfoliate regularly. By following a pimple-fighting skincare routine which keeps the pores clean and open, you may be able to avoid a pesky breakout in the first place.
Wear skincare and makeup that is oil-free and noncomedogenic, which won’t sit in the skin and block pores.
In some cases, it may be beneficial to avoid certain foods such as dairy and carbohydrates. While there is not strong evidence supporting this theory, there are cases where these particular food groups have been known to trigger pimples.
Dos and don’ts of treating pimples on the nose
- Keep fingers off the pimple! Any touching can spread bacteria and make an acne breakout worse.
- Wear an oil-free and non-comedogenic sunscreen daily. Some acne-treatment products can make the skin more sensitive to UV rays, making it easier to burn.
- Regularly wash pillowcases and sheets that can hold a buildup of face and body oil.
- Wash makeup brushes and applicators with antimicrobial soap as they can store bacteria.
- Use an ice cube to relieve redness, inflammation and any pain associated with the pimple.
- Pick, pop or attempt to extract the pimple. The follicle walls in blackheads and whiteheads can be damaged and could allow bacteria to go deeper into the skin and make the pimple worse.
- Over-clean the skin. A harsh cleanser or washing the face too often will strip the skin of its natural oils and end up producing more sebum.
- Over-exfoliate. Especially if using manual exfoliants which can cause tears and damage to the skin.
- Be impatient! Many acne treatments need a few weeks in order to see any improvement. If you don’t see any results after 2-3 months of OTC treatment, it might be time to consult with your doctor or board-certified dermatologist.
Depending on the type of pimple on the nose, most can be treated with an easy, 3-step skincare regimen that includes acne-fighting ingredients such as salycylic acid, benzol peroxide, AHAs, BHAs or retinoids. However, you will need to test out different products to determine which treatments are right for your specific acne.
Some pimples are more difficult to treat. If your acne isn’t improving, seek help in a board-certified dermatologist who can analyse your skin condition and provide suitable acne medication.