What Is Nasal Vestibulitis?

Picking or blowing your nose or plucking nose hairs can often increase the risk for this bacterial infection

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Nasal vestibulitis is an infection of the nostrils. This condition gets its name because it occurs in the nasal vestibule, the hair-covered area inside the nostrils. It usually appears after blowing the nose frequently, plucking nose hairs, or nose-picking. It can cause your nose to become swollen, red, and painful. You might also notice a pimple, bumps, boils, or crusting inside your nostrils. Although the condition is uncomfortable, it’s not usually serious. However, in some rare cases, it can lead to complications.

Continue reading to learn more about nasal vestibulitis, including how to tell if you have nasal vestibulitis, how to get rid of it, and why you might keep getting it. 

Woman blowing her nose

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Nasal Vestibulitis Symptoms

Nasal vestibulitis can cause the nose to become inflamed or painful. This pain and irritation concentrates on the nasal vestibule, near the tip of your nose, and inside the nostrils. The pain can be severe, and redness may also be visible on the outside of your nose. 

Common symptoms of nasal vestibulitis are:

  • Redness and swelling
  • Pain, which can be severe
  • Tenderness, particularly on the tip of the nose
  • Pimples, bumps, or boils within the nose
  • Crusting discharge in the nose

In rare cases, if your infection spreads, you may also experience fever, double vision, severe headaches, or increased white blood cell count.  


Nasal vestibulitis most often results from a bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus. This is the most common cause of bacterial infection. The bacteria usually infect the nose after minor traumas to the nasal vestibule. Day-to-day activities can increase your risk for these minor cuts and openings in the skin, including:

  • Blowing your nose often
  • Picking your nose
  • Plucking your nose hairs
  • Wearing a nose ring

Staphylococcus aureus is the same type of bacteria that commonly causes staph infections. Although complications from nasal vestibulitis are rare, having treatment-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in your nose can increase the risk for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections during hospital stays by about 30%.


A healthcare provider can diagnose nasal vestibulitis by examining your nose and asking about your symptoms. Because the treatments for nasal vestibulitis may require a prescription, it’s best to see a healthcare provider if you think you have nasal vestibulitis. 


Treatments for nasal vestibulitis focus on fighting the bacterial infection. The most common treatments are:

  • Bacitracin or Neosporin antibiotic ointment
  • Topical mupirocin, a prescription antibiotic skin cream that treats skin infections.
  • Oral antibiotics, which can fight more widespread infection
  • Warm compresses to treat pain


In most cases, nasal vestibulitis is easy to treat and goes away independently. However, if the infection is severe, facial cellulitis, which is a severe bacterial skin infection that requires oral antibiotic treatment, may develop. Some people develop abscesses that need draining by a healthcare provider. 


Nasal vestibulitis is a common infection that can make the nose red, inflamed, and sore. The infection most often happens when a common bacteria gets into minor cuts within the nasal vestibule. These openings in the skin can result from frequent nose blowing, picking the nose, or trimming nose hairs. Nasal vestibulitis is rarely severe, especially when treated with antibiotic cream or oral antibiotics.

5 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.
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  2. Lipschitz N, Yakirevitch A, Sagiv D, et al. Nasal vestibulitis: etiology, risk factors, and clinical characteristics: a retrospective study of 118 cases. Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease. 2017.

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By Kelly Burch
Kelly Burch is has written about health topics for more than a decade. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and more.