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  • Share your skin goals and snap selfies

  • Your dermatology provider prescribes your formula

  • Apply nightly for happy, healthy skin

What causes pimples on the nose—and how to treat them

Your go-to guide for all your nose acne questions.

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Curology Team
Oct 19, 2022 · 6 min read

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Pimples on the nose
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.
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  3. > What causes pimples on the nose—and how to treat them

Acne can develop all over your face, but sometimes, a pimple’s placement can be extra annoying—like when it pops up right on your nose. It’s a frustrating situation, but it’s totally normal!  Pimples on the nose—or anywhere they occur—can be caused by a variety of factors. Generally speaking, acne happens when a combination of oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria clog your pores and trigger an inflammatory response. There are some factors that can explain why you get nose blemishes, whether they are red bumps (such as papules or pustules) or comedones (like whiteheads and blackheads). Here, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about acne on the nose, including how to treat and help prevent it.

What is nose acne? 

Ever ask yourself, “What’s the meaning of a pimple on my nose?” Here’s the simple answer: Acne on the nose is, in short, acne. You might notice different types of acne on your nose, and we’ll get to that in a bit, but blackheads are a particularly common concern. The important thing to know about treating nose acne is that you can use the same acne treatments as you do with other pimples elsewhere on your face. 

Nose Blackheads - What causes pimples on the nose—and how to treat them

What does nose acne mean?

If you’re wondering what the meaning of pimples on your nose is, you might consider looking at the “face map” for acne. Face mapping is pretty much what it sounds like: Think of your face as a map. Notice the areas on it that are more likely to break out. Then, you can start figuring out what may be causing those breakouts. For example, “The T-zone is often oilier than other areas on your face. Sebaceous glands and oil production are common contributing factors to breakouts, so many people tend to notice breakouts in this area,” says Whitney Tolpinrud, a board-certified dermatologist at Curology.

While face mapping can help you piece together possible factors contributing to breakouts, knowing common acne triggers—on your nose or anywhere—is also important. These include:

  • Hormonal fluctuations. Hormonal fluctuations can trigger more sebum production, which can lead to more pimples. An increase in androgens in both men and women can cause sebaceous glands to enlarge and result in higher oil production, which is why breakouts are common during puberty. Progesterone surges can also influence breakouts around a person’s menstrual cycle.¹

  • Diet. Studies show that a low glycemic diet may help reduce acne lesions, while for some people, cow’s milk may actually increase acne breakouts.² But before you swear off sugar and dairy altogether, we recommend watching for any patterns you notice with breakouts in relation to what foods you consume. Diet isn’t an acne trigger for everyone!

  • Comedogenic products. Hair and skincare products containing comedogenic (pore-clogging) ingredients could be another contributing factor to your breakouts. Be sure to choose products labeled non-comedogenic, and always check the ingredient list for these common comedogenic culprits.

  • Friction. Another potential reason you may be breaking out is the friction and pressure caused by something that rubs against your nose, like glasses or a mask (AKA acne mechanica).³

Daily skincare do’s and don’ts

Now that you have a better idea of why you may be breaking out, let’s talk about how to get rid of pimples. Daily skincare is a great way to treat and help prevent acne breakouts, and we’re here to tell you all our tips and tricks to reach your skincare goals. 

Do’s for how to get rid of pimples

  • Consistency is key. A simple but effective skincare routine will not only treat existing pimples but also help prevent future breakouts. It takes time for your skin to heal and respond to acne treatments, so be patient and use your products regularly as directed to give them time (at least 4-6 weeks!) to work their magic.⁴

  • A gentle cleanser. Wash your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser to help clear away the debris and excess oil from the day. 

Woman applying skicare producs on her face - What causes pimples on the nose—and how to treat them
  • Evenly apply acne treatment. Thankfully, when it comes to treating acne breakouts, plenty of treatment options are available. Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are common acne-fighting ingredients that you can find in over-the-counter products such as face cleansers and spot treatments. Tretinoin is a prescription acne treatment that has been shown to be effective in reducing acne lesions, which is why we use it in our personalized prescription formulas.⁵ Whatever you happen to use, make sure to apply it evenly all over your face (unless otherwise directed by your dermatology provider) to help prevent future pimples as well.

  • Use moisturizer. Another essential part of a simple and effective skincare routine is moisturizer. Even if you have oily skin, the right moisturizer can help prevent dryness and irritation.

Don’ts for treating and preventing blemishes

  • Pop or pick. Leave the pimple-popping to the professionals. Popping a pimple can push the pus deeper into the skin, which can result in more inflammation. You could also risk scarring or infection when you try to pick or pop.⁶

  • Use comedogenic products. Makeup, hair products, and even some skincare products could contain ingredients that clog your pores. Luckily, there are many non-comedogenic products on the market, so you can still wear your favorite makeup looks without contributing to pore-clogging.

  • Dry out your skin. Dry skin can cause irritation, which can lead to more breakouts in some people. Take care to not use products that will not dry you out, like those containing alcohol.

  • Forget to remove makeup at night. We know sometimes you just want to fall into bed without taking off your makeup, but it’s important to clear away the day’s makeup so you can apply your acne-busting treatments.

What about other facial acne?

We’ve covered the nose, but what about the rest of your face—specifically your chin, jawline, forehead, and cheeks? Acne on the chin and jawline could be triggered by hormonal fluctuations, as hormonal acne tends to (but not always) appear on the lower part of the face.⁷ Forehead acne is often attributed to fungal acne or comedogenic hair products. If you keep breaking out along your hairline, it might be time to investigate your shampoo ingredients and find a non-comedogenic alternative. Cheek acne could be the result of a combination of factors, including comedogenic products, your pillowcase, your phone, or anything else that could be coming into frequent contact with your face. (That’s why making a habit of washing your pillowcases, along with anything else that touches your face regularly—your phone, makeup brushes, etc.—can help keep clogged pores away.)

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Curology brings dermatologist-designed skincare customized for your needs right to your door. Signing up is easy. Simply answer a few questions, snap a few selfies, and if Curology is right for you, we’ll pair you with one of our licensed dermatology providers to help guide you on your journey to healthier skin and answer all your questions. Whether you’re wanting to understand the meaning behind small pimples on the nose or how to use a retinoid, we’ve got your back.

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FAQs

What is nose acne?

You might notice different types of acne on your nose, but blackheads are a particularly common concern. The important thing to know about treating nose acne is that you can use the same acne treatments as you do with other pimples elsewhere on your face.

What causes nose acne?

Face mapping can help you piece together possible factors contributing to breakouts. Knowing common acne triggers—on your nose or anywhere—is also important. These include:

How to treat nose acne?

Daily skincare is a great way to treat and help prevent acne breakouts:

  • A simple but effective skincare routine will not only treat existing pimples but also help prevent future breakouts.

  • Wash your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser to help clear away the debris and excess oil from the day.

  • Make sure to apply your acne treatment evenly all over your face (unless otherwise directed by your dermatology provider) to help prevent future pimples as well.

  • Even if you have oily skin, the right moisturizer can help prevent dryness and irritation.

• • •

P.S. We did the homework so you don’t have to:

  1. Elsaie M. L.  Hormonal treatment of acne vulgaris: an update. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology. (2016, September 2).

  2. American Academy of Dermatology. Can the right diet get rid of acne? (n.d.).

  3. Mills, O. H., Jr, & Kligman, A. Acne mechanica. Archives of dermatology. ( April 1975).

  4. American Academy of Dermatology. 9 things to try when acne won’t clear. (n.d.).

  5. Andrea L. Zaenglein, et al. Guidelines of care for the management of acne vulgaris. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. (MAY 2016).

  6. American Academy of Dermatology. Pimple popping: Why only a dermatologist should do it. (n.d.).

  7. Elsaie M. L.  Hormonal treatment of acne vulgaris: an update. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology. (2016, September 2).

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• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team

Nicole Hangsterfer Avatar

Nicole Hangsterfer, PA-C

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