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Pimples Inside The Nose: Causes And Ways To Treat Them

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Pimples Inside The Nose

Tackling pimples and acne on your skin are bad enough, without having the added problem of boils and bumps inside your nose! If you do find a pimple inside your nose, dealing with it correctly can help prevent infection or further complications like cellulitis or cavernous sinus thrombosis. Simple care and hygiene make all the difference, supplemented by topical treatments and warm compresses to ease the discomfort. Be prepared to take antibiotics if you have a bad case that is a furuncle or a carbuncle.

A pimple inside your nose isn’t just annoying, but it can sometimes interfere with your daily life as well – especially if it becomes badly inflamed or infected. Find out what’s causing that uncomfortable bump in your nose so you can treat it correctly.

What Causes Pimples In Your Nose?

A pimple or boil inside the nose can result from various causes. It can be:

1. Folliculitis

An inflamed hair follicle or folliculitis can cause a skin problem resembling a pimple.  The spot becomes red and is usually tender to the touch. The condition can be deep or just lie on the surface and can happen on any part of the body where there is hair, including inside your nose.1 The tiny pustules can be a little itchy but usually go away on their own if left alone.2 Infectious forms of folliculitis can be caused by fungi like candida or bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus, or have viral roots.

2. Furuncle

Sometimes, the infection in your hair follicle can go a little deeper. Furuncles affect the subcutaneous tissue and cause the formation of a tiny abscess.3 They tend to occur more in carriers of Staphylococcus. These tend to be hot and red raised lesions that leave a scar after healing. They are tender and painful. Sometimes, green and yellow pus is expressed. A plug of dead tissue – the plug – may also come out, leaving behind a crater like space that’s inflamed.4

3. Carbuncle

A carbuncle usually results from multiple inflamed follicles combining to form a larger inflamed area. Those with diabetes, malaria, lymphoma, chronic diarrhea, or anyone who has long term steroid use or is chronically malnourished is susceptible to this problem. It can also result from constant abrasion from tight clothing – however, this is not relevant to carbuncles in the nose.5

4. Nasal Vestibulitis

When your nasal vestibule gets infected due to nose picking, constant rhinorrhea as well as viral infections (herpes zoster/simplex) can result. Purulent discharge can also cause foreign bodies to infect the nasal vestibule of children.6

5. Eczema

Sometimes, eczema can show similar symptoms as vestibulitis.7 Eczema is a swelling of the skin that can have genetic origins or be the result of environmental factors like exposure to irritants like certain soaps. An allergy may also trigger eczema.8

6. Ingrown Hair

Ingrown hairs too can cause pimples. This happens when a hair grows out of your skin and then curls back onto itself and grows back into the skin. Others curl back into the hair follicle without breaking the surface. When your skin cells clog up the hair follicle you could end up with ingrown hair. This usually happens where hair more coarse or sharp, or where you shave. This makes it less likely to happen in your nose, but could result from trying to trim or remove nose hair.9

7. Don’t Squeeze It Out!

Trying to squeeze these bumps and boils is potentially dangerous. Besides making it easier for the infection to spread, it can also cause more serious problems for you. For instance, if you have furuncle and try and squeeze the pus from it, you could end up spreading the infection via your facial veins that connect directly to the cavernous sinus. You may end up with Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis.10 Infectious process of the cavernous sinus could potentially move to the pituitary gland and meninges can could be disastrous for your sight and even threaten your life.11

Treatment And Care When You Have A Pimple In Your Nose

If you have a minor case of folliculitis, you may just need to wait it out and prevent further instances with some tweaks to your lifestyle.

Simple Precautions To Take

Here are some simple precautions to contain the problem:

  • If you have any form of infectious folliculitis take care not to share towels and to wash hands well.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Nose picking is a common cause of furunculosis so avoid this habit.
  • Do not blow your nose too hard, this can make the infection spread and bruise the boil or pimple
  • Apply a warm compress if your boil hasn’t been lanced. This should give you some relief.
  • Eczema resulting from allergies or contact with irritants can be contained with some precaution that avoid coming in contact with these offending substances.
  • Do not scratch at ingrown hairs or pimples as this can allow bacteria to enter. It could also leave a scar.

If you have a furuncle, however, you must exercise caution when dealing with it. And not just because you could potentially pass it on to a family member. Remember, you may think it is “just a pimple” and can be dealt with like other pimples. While squeezing any kind of pimple is not a great idea because of the risk of infection, it is even more risky when the bump runs deep and could potentially cause more serious infections that are life-threatening.

The Right Way To Treat The Problem

Mild cases: If your problem is mild, it can sometimes resolve on its own if left alone. If it doesn’t abate, topical povidone iodine cream or antibacterial cream may help. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe systemic antibiotics like cloxacillin or erythromycin.12

Furuncles: Furuncles are usually helped by warm compresses to ease discomfort and pain. Topical antiseptic and antibiotics can also help for just one single lesion. If you have multiple lesions, oral antibiotics are usually required. The lesion is typically incised or drained as well.13

Carbuncles: In the case of carbuncles, antibiotics become necessary and may need to be administered via intramuscular or intravenous injection followed by oral doses. Surgery is typically avoided. You can use a warm topical compress to help. Painkillers/analgesics will be made available to you to help with the pain.14

When Should You Worry?

There’s no need to panic every time you get a pimple in your nose. The key is to be cautious and take steps to ensure you don’t infect yourself further or spread the problem to those you live with. What you need to watch out for are symptoms of cavernous sinus thrombosis that indicate that you may need urgent medical attention to contain the infection.15

  • A headache marked by a sharp pain around or behind the eyes that gets worse over time
  • Symptoms show up around 5 to 10 days after you discover a boil or pimple in your nose
  • Bulging/swelling of one eye followed by the other after a day or two
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Red eyes
  • Droopy eyelids
  • Trouble moving eyes
  • Fever of 100.4F or more
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Mental state change, confusion
  • Drowsiness

If left untreated the lethargy and drowsiness may progress into a coma, so immediate treatment is vital.

References   [ + ]

1, 3. Folliculitis and boils. The Primary Care Dermatology Society.
2, 5, 14. Management of bacterial infections of the hair follicles. International Foundation for Dermatology.
4. Management of bacterial infections of the hair follicles. International Foundation for Dermatalogy.
6, 7, 10. Önerci, T. Metin. “Nasal vestibulitis and nasal furunculosis and mucormycosis.” In Diagnosis in Otorhinolaryngology, pp. 69-71. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2009.
8. Eczema. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
9. Ingrown hairs. NHS.
11. Lee, Seongmu, and Michael T. Yen. “Management of preseptal and orbital cellulitis.” Saudi Journal of Ophthalmology 25, no. 1 (2011): 21-29.
12. Management of bacterial infections of the hair follicles. Foundation for Dermatology.
13. Management of bacterial infections of the hair follicles. International Foundation for Dermataology.
15. Cavernous sinus thrombosis – Symptoms. NHS.