How to Get Rid of a Painful Nostril Pimple

Updated on February 20, 2020
Alison Graham profile image

Passionate about health, Alison is a freelance writer/researcher for clients working in nutrition, physiotherapy, and chiropractic.

What Does It Mean When You Get a Nose Pimple?

A nostril pimple could be a trivial pore blockage or a serious sign of infection. This type of acne can be very painful because it occurs on the inside of the nose where there are tons of tiny blood vessels and nerve endings.

Generally, it's best to leave these zits alone because aggressive picking could lead to the spread of infection. However, if it causes pain or irritation, there are a few easy ways to get rid of it. In this article, I will show you some really effective pimple treatment tips to reduce the swelling and deal with the infection at home.

Homemade Treatment for Pimple Inside Your Nose

This salt solution is easy to make at home and is quite effective.


  • Salt
  • Hot water


  1. Dissolve a small quantity of ordinary table salt in some boiling water, and allow it to cool.
  2. Dab a clean cotton bud into the solution, and gently bathe the sore area inside your nose.
  3. After this, you need to remove as much moisture from the sore place as you can. It is easiest to do this with another clean, dry cotton bud.

If you need to repeat the operation, be sure to use a clean cotton bud every time, and never put a used one back into the clean bowl of saline solution.

Other Treatments for Pimple Inside Nostril

Drugstore Product

From personal experience, I can definitely recommend using GoodSense Maximum Strength Triple Antibiotic Ointment (or a similar product). It contains a pain-relieving element that makes the spot feel much better almost instantly.

You need to apply the treatment twice a day (or as directed) in order to see quick and significant improvements. However, if after a couple of days the pimple is no better or seems to be getting worse, you should see your doctor.

Tea Tree Oil

If you are allergic to antibiotics or prefer to use only natural treatments, a very small amount of tea tree oil will also do the trick, but it may sting a bit. Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic. It disinfects pores and dries out whiteheads and blackheads, making it a great ingredient for treating acne.1 Apply this twice a day using a cotton swab. If you have sensitive skin, you should dilute the oil with a bit of water before applying.

Causes of Pimple Inside Nose

nose picking
blowing your nose too hard
bacterial or fungal infection
unhealthy diet
chemical irritants
pulling out nose hairs

Who Is Most Likely to Get a Pimple in Their Nose?

Those With Acne-Prone Skin

A pimple inside your nostril is much more likely if you are someone who already has skin problems and suffers from acne breakouts.

People Who Pick Their Nose

Sometimes, pimples inside the nose occur when people with dirty hands and fingernails pick their noses. This introduces bacteria that can cause an infection.

Those with a Nose Piercing

Nose piercing can be a cause of a small blind pimple (a pimple without a head) or a sore, appearing inside the nostril at, or near, the site of the piercing.

This can be caused by an allergic reaction to the metal of the nose stud or, by a bacterial infection that can be the result of not following the aftercare instructions to the letter.

To avoid this problem when getting your nose pierced, only go to a reputable studio where all piercing is carried out by an accredited professional. If you have any doubts about the cleanliness of the studio, the quality of the jewelry offered (always look for a precious metal such as gold or hypoallergenic material), or the qualifications of the person who will be doing the piercing, do not go through with the procedure - no matter how much you want your nose pierced!

However, sometimes a pimple inside the nostril can still appear after nose piercing -- even with the best care!

Follow our tips to avoid getting an infected pimple inside your nostril after having your nose pierced.
Follow our tips to avoid getting an infected pimple inside your nostril after having your nose pierced. | Source

People Who Trim Their Nose Hairs

Men tend to grow long hairs inside their nostrils, especially as they get older, and will use nose hair clippers to get rid of them. These clippers have very sharp blades that can cut or scratch the membrane in the nostril.

Nostril hair removal can lead to two main problems:

  1. Folliculitis: Some men actually choose to pluck their nostril hairs. (Just the thought of that makes my eyes water!) An infection called Folliculitis could develop as a result. This is usually caused by the Staphylococcus aureas bacteria, often referred to as ‘Staph’. The problem starts inside the follicle at the root of the hair and the Staph bacteria (which we all have living on our skin) can enter the pore and cause an infection characterised by a painful pustule or pimple. In some cases, the swelling can get very large and completely block the nostril. It can even make the nose swell, which can be rather embarrassing.
  2. Ingrown Hair: Removing nose hairs using clippers, tweezers or by shaving around the lower rim of the nostrils can also result in the painful problem of an ingrown hair. A pimple will often develop over an ingrown hair.

In severe cases, oral antibiotics or antibiotic cream may be prescribed. However, in many cases, simple home remedies, such as using a warm compress on the nose, or the salt water or tea tree oil remedies explained earlier will get rid of nose pimples caused by nose hair removal.

In order to avoid the problem of Folliculitis or an ingrown hair, take additional care when dealing with nose hair, and never put anything inside your nostril that could scratch the lining and cause a painful spot to develop.

Serious Medical Causes

A sore place inside your nose could possibly be a symptom of a more serious condition. Although this is unlikely, the following are serious medical conditions that should be examined by a doctor.


Patients suffering from lupus, an autoimmune, rheumatic disease, often suffer from nose sores inside their nostrils. In fact, nose sores are one of the eleven criteria used by the American College of Rheumatology for diagnosing lupus.2


This is an autoimmune condition that happens when the body's immune system attacks its own blood vessels. This can occur after an infection, as a result of a reaction to a prescription medication or as a secondary condition of another disease or illness.

There are different types of vasculitis. It is a condition that can affect the skin, joints, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, eyes, brain, and nerves. If vasculitis affects the sinuses, nose, throat, and ears, one of the symptoms can be sores and ulcers inside the nose.3


This is an infection of the skin caused by bacteria. It is usually cased by the staphylococcus and streptococcus bacteria. If not treated, it could become deadly.4

When Do You Need to See a Doctor

It is good to know that most cases of a sore or pimple inside your nostril are very simple and straightforward to treat.

However, if your problem does not resolve with the treatment I've suggested or if you have other symptoms that are causing concern, be sure to get medical advice from a qualified healthcare practitioner.

Signs You Should See a Doctor

If you experience any of the following, please seek professional medical attention:

  • dizziness
  • excruciating pain
  • fever


If the doctor discovers that you have a bacterial infection, he/she will give you an antibiotic, such as bacitracin or mupirocin.4


1. Chanel Parks, "Tea Tree Oil for Your Body: What You Need to Know," Jun 02, 2014. Huffington Post. Accessed July 14, 2017.

2. Carol Eustice, "Lupus —10 Things You Should Know: From Diagnosis to Disease Management," May 9, 2016. VeryWell. Accessed July 14, 2017.

3. Mayo Clinic Staff. "Cellulitis," February 11, 2015. Mayo Clinic. Accessed July 14, 2017.

4. "Pimple Inside the Nose," Healthline. Accessed July 14, 2017.

Have you ever had a painful pimple inside your nostril? If so, which of the following did you do?

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

  • What ratio of water and tea tree oil would you suggest when diluting it for acne care?

    The membrane inside your nostril is going to be more sensitive than the skin on your face. If you can comfortably use a 50% solution on the spot on the face, (i.e. 1 part tea tree oil to two parts water), I would suggest that you begin with a 25% solution of tea tree oil for a pimple inside your nostril (i.e., 1 part tea tree oil to 4 parts water). If you still find this a bit too strong, you could come right down to a 10% solution (1 part oil to 10 parts water) to begin with. When diluting with water, it is best to mix the oil and water in a small container with a lid so that the two ingredients can be shaken together immediately before use. This is because the oil and water will naturally separate. If you only dip a clean cotton bud into the container (do not reuse a cotton bud after applying to your pimple), the solution will remain safe for use if kept in the fridge for up to a week.

  • Does tea tree oil get rid of pimples?

    Tea Tree oil is a tried and tested antiseptic and useful for minor skin problems such as acne and pimples. However, it may be too strong to use undiluted, particularly on sensitive skin. Apply only a very tiny amount (diluted if necessary), on the tip of a cotton bud so that you only treat the affected spot.

  • Are pimples on top of the nose dangerous to pop?

    You may have heard of the 'danger triangle': the area on the face that includes the nose, the area beneath the nose and mouth, and the upper lip. The danger with popping pimples in this area is not the pimple popping in itself, but the fact that this can lead to infection. Because of the nature of the venous blood supply in this so-called 'danger triangle', there is a very slight chance that an infection could become so serious that it leads to a sinus thrombosis (clot), or complications associated with a central nervous system infection. Personally, I would not pop a pimple on my nose!

  • Tea tree oil (or any oil for that matter), does not mix or dilute in water, so you can only dilute it in another oil, correct?

    You are correct, oil cannot be dissolved in water. However, if shaken together with a number of water droplets of oil are in suspension, effectively diluting the potency of the oil.

© 2011 Alison Graham


Submit a Comment
  • Alison Graham profile imageAUTHOR

    Alison Graham 

    2 years ago from UK

    Thank you Oscar, glad you found my article on what to do if you have a pimple inside your nose helpful. A nostril pimple seems to be a problem that a lot of people suffer from!

  • Oscarlites profile image

    Oscar Jones 

    2 years ago from Monroeville, Alabama

    very good info!


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