Why Do I Have a Dark Line Across My Nose?

It may be due to allergies

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Among the complications of allergies and frequent allergy attacks is a line across the nose, also known as a transverse nasal crease or allergic crease. This dark and horizontal line arises due to the stress caused by repeatedly rubbing the nose and pushing it upward because of allergy symptoms.

While the condition may resolve on its own, topical skin-lightening creams, and chemical peels are among the treatment options.

If you have a dark line across your nose, allergies are likely to blame. This article briefly covers how an allergic crease arises, what you can do about it, and how to prevent it from forming.   

Man blowing nose

Tanja Ristic / Getty Images

What Causes a Line Across the Nose?

Allergic creases are distinct horizontal (or “transversal”) lines across the nose caused by its being repeatedly and habitually rubbed due to allergies. These darker lines, about 1–3 millimeters (mm) in length, are horizontal. Generally, they’re seen at the juncture of the middle and lower thirds of the nose, sometimes accompanied by small lesions.

People who develop allergic creases most often have allergic rhinitis (commonly known as hay fever or seasonal allergy), which inflames the nasal passages. This causes sneezing, nasal congestion, itchiness, and stuffiness, and people will tend to rub their noses to get relief. Over the long term, this repeated agitation of the skin causes allergic creases to form.


In many cases, allergic creases fade and resolve on their own as allergy symptoms subside. However, in severe or intractable cases, treatment options can correct the issue. These include:

  • Retinoids or lightening agents: Repeated application with prescribed topical creams, such as those with hydroquinone or other agents, can gradually fade the crease and correct darker lines.
  • Topical steroids: A dermatologist may prescribe steroid creams or gels to promote healing of the area, preventing scaling, flaking, or itchiness.
  • Chemical peel: This option, which involves using a solution to remove the outer layers of skin, is considered when the line has become atrophic. This means it’s become an indented scar. Eventually, the skin regenerates, which can correct the issue.
  • Laser therapy: In some cases, laser treatments can be used to target discolored tissue, fading their color over time. 


Fundamentally, the key to preventing an allergic crease is to stop rubbing your nose. More than just telling yourself to stop, it means managing your allergies and working to prevent attacks. Here’s a quick breakdown of what you can do to stop dark lines across the nose from forming.

Keep Tissues Handy

Keep soft tissues handy at all times and use them instead of rubbing your nose. Try to be gentle and wipe instead of digging or pushing. This should help ease the amount of strain you put on the skin.  

Allergen Avoidance

One of the best ways to prevent allergic creases is to steer clear of the allergens that trigger allergy attacks. Allergens are commonly found in:

  • Dust mites
  • Pollen
  • Pet dander
  • Mold
  • Cockroach excrement
  • Tobacco smoke

Avoiding your allergens, of course, means recognizing what they are. Strategies to steer clear of them depend on what’s causing symptoms. These may include:

  • Pollen: If you have pollen allergies, you can prevent attacks by staying indoors, ventilated from the air outside. Sleep and drive with the windows closed, with the air-conditioning running, if possible.
  • Dust mites and dander: Applying a more frequent and thorough cleaning regimen can help if dust mites are causing symptoms.
  • Mold: Mold and fungi can arise outside or inside your home. Staying indoors and avoiding exposure to outdoor air, especially after it has rained, is key. In the home, the idea is to improve ventilation, lower indoor humidity, and prevent damp surfaces.
  • Tobacco smoke: There are many health hazards to smoking indoors, and exposure can trigger allergy attacks. If you smoke, do it outside, and if you don’t, steer clear of indoor smoke. The safest option for you and those around you is to seek help with quitting smoking.

Allergy Medications

Several classes of medications, available over the counter and by prescription, treat allergy symptoms, including:

  • Antihistamines: Generally used as first-line treatment for allergic rhinitis, antihistamines, such as Claritin (loratadine), Allegra (fexofenadine), Benadryl (diphenhydramine), and others, manage attacks. Available as tablets or nasal sprays, they block receptors of histamine, the chemical that causes itchiness, stuffiness, and other symptoms.     
  • Corticosteroids: Nasal corticosteroid sprays like Flonase (fluticasone nasal), Nasacort (triamcinolone), and Veramyst (fluticasone furoate) are the most effective treatment for allergic rhinitis. Not only are they effective when allergies flare up, but consistent use can also work to prevent attacks.
  • Decongestants: Nasal decongestants, such as Sudafed (pseudoephedrine), Mucinex (guaifenesin), and Afrin (oxymetazoline), can also help with the stuffiness associated with allergies. However, be careful; don’t take these medications for more than three days in a row.  
  • Leukotriene inhibitors: Drugs that block leukotrienes—enzymes that trigger symptoms along with histamines—can also treat symptoms and manage attacks. Examples include Singulair (montelukast) and Zyflo (zileuton), among others.  
  • Other approaches: To prevent allergies in more severe cases, immunotherapy is delivered either via injections or sublingually (under the tongue). This gradually desensitizes your immune system to the allergens causing symptoms, typically grass or ragweed pollen or house dust mites.


In response to repeatedly rubbing your nose due to allergies, you can develop a horizontal dark line or allergic crease. While this issue can resolve on its own, in some cases it becomes permanent, requiring dermatological treatment to remove. Prevention strategies include avoiding allergens and treating the allergy symptoms at the root of the problem.  

A Word From Verywell

Allergies can be challenging to live with, and a dark line across the nose due to your sniffling can only add to that burden. This is why it’s important to be proactive in managing both the symptoms of your allergies and their effect on your body. If you’re worried about that dark line or are struggling with your allergies, be sure to reach out to your provider for quick and effective relief.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the dark line across the nose called?

    There are several names for the dark line across your nose caused by rubbing your nose due to allergies. Dermatologists call this a transverse nasal or allergic crease. In medical literature, it may be referred to as an allergic crest or allergic salute.

  • Does the line across my nose need to be treated?

    No. While an allergic crease can be unsightly and affect your self-esteem, it’s not dangerous and doesn’t cause complications. However, it is worth managing the allergic rhinitis or other allergies that cause this line to form, especially if you’re having trouble controlling symptoms.

  • Will a line across the nose go away naturally?

    It may or may not. If an allergic crease occurs in a toddler or infant, it can resolve naturally over several months. However, especially in cases of untreated allergies and if arising in adults, the line across the nose can become permanent. Dermatological treatments can help resolve this discoloration.  

4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Ramírez-Bellver J, Ruiz-Rodriguez R, Sanchez-Carpintero I. Transverse nasal crease with milia. J Allergy Clinl Immunol Pract. 2019;7(6):2023. doi:10.1016/j.jaip.2019.02.028

  2. Agarwal K, Podder I, Sarkar R. Pigmented transverse nasal band: a review. Indian J Dermatol Venereol, Leprol 2022;88:144-7. doi:10.25259/IJDVL_820_19

  3. MedlinePlus. Allergic rhinitis.

  4. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Preventing allergic reactions and controlling allergies.

Additional Reading

By Mark Gurarie
Mark Gurarie is a freelance writer, editor, and adjunct lecturer of writing composition at George Washington University.