Pimple Inside Nose

Pimples or bumps inside the nose can sometimes require treatment.

A pimple occurs when bacteria gets trapped inside a clogged pore, a tiny hole in the skin that also contains hair follicles. Pores can become clogged by hair and oil cells, which prevents bacteria release. A pimple (or another type of bump) can be found inside the nose.

Pimples inside the nose are generally uncomfortable but harmless; however, some bumps inside the nose could require medical attention, including bumps from allergies, bacterial infections, or, in extreme cases, cancerous growth.

Bumps inside the nose include polyps (harmless tissue growths), nasal furunculosis (infection inside a hair follicle), nasal vestibulitis (bacteria at the opening of the nose), cold sores, or, in extreme cases, cancerous growth.

Here's more on pimples and other bumps in the nose, their causes, and treatment options.

Woman blowing nose

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Symptoms of Pimples and Bumps in Nose

Common symptoms of having a pimple in the nose include:

  • Whiteheads, blackheads, or small red bumps inside the nose
  • Itchiness or irritation
  • Redness and swelling
  • Pain at the site of the pimple

Other symptoms of bumps inside the nose might include:

  • Runny or "blocked" nose with mucus or pus
  • Trouble breathing at the site of the bump (especially in the case of an abscess, which is a bump usually caused by bacteria)
  • In the case of nasal cancer: Face pain or numbness, swollen glands, watery or bulging eyes, vision issues, a lump on the nose or other areas of the face, nosebleeds
  • Blister inside the nose
  • Cold sores inside the nose (when it occurs as part of the herpes simplex virus [HSV])

Bumps in the Nose: Emergency Care

Please seek medical attention as soon as possible if:

  • A bump inside your nose occurs rapidly as part of an allergic reaction.
  • You're having trouble breathing because of bumps in your nose.

Causes of Pimples in the Nose

The most common causes of pimples or bumps in the nose are:

  • Bacterial infections that clog pores inside the nose.
  • Nonallergic rhinitis or allergies: Irritation from chemicals and environmental irritants or allergic reactions cause inflammation, which is when the immune system fights an infection.
  • Excessive nose picking or nose blowing, which irritates the nose and increases the chances of bacteria entering the follicles.
  • An injury, such as a blow to the nose, can irritate tissues in the nose and cause swelling.
  • A symptom of nasal cancer. If nasal pimples or bumps do not disappear with treatment and are accompanied by symptoms like nose bleeds and loss of smell, it's advised to see a healthcare provider to get tested as soon as possible.
  • The herpes simplex virus (HSV) can cause cold sores in the nose.

What Medications Can Cause Pimples in the Nose?

Medications that could increase the chance of allergies might cause sinus irritation, which could cause pimples in the nose. These include:

How to Treat Pimples in the Nose

To treat pimples inside the nose, it's advised to avoid picking at the pimple. Keep the pimple area clean with mild soap, and use a warm compress to help drain the pimple. Take ibuprofen, aspirin, or other over-the-counter (OTC) anti-inflammatory medication to ease your pain.

For other types of bumps inside the nose, it might be advised to:

  • Put ice and povidone-iodine (betadine) cream on cold sores.
  • Drain an abscess with a needle after consulting with a healthcare provider.
  • Apply antibiotic cream if the bump is a result of bacterial infection.
  • In the case of non-allergic rhinitis, avoid irritants like scented detergents and perfumes.
  • Get tested for allergies and take antihistamine medication when allergies flare up.
  • Take antiviral medication to treat and manage the symptoms of herpes.
  • Seek diagnosis for other issues, including nasal cancer, if symptoms do not subside in a couple of weeks.
  • Consider surgery to remove polyps.

Complications and Risk Factors Associated With Pimples in the Nose

If a pimple inside your nose does not heal with at-home treatments, complications could include:

  • Swelling inside the nose that may make breathing difficult.
  • Loss of smell or taste if bumps are larger.
  • Redness, pain, and swelling in the area.

Are There Tests to Diagnose the Cause of Pimples Inside the Nose?

To determine the cause of a pimple inside the nose that doesn't go away, a healthcare provider might:

  • Test for bacterial infection or the herpes virus via a swab on the area.
  • Test for nasal cancer, which could include a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine, a biopsy, a swab sample, and an examination.
  • Perform allergy testing, which can include skin and blood tests or testing small amounts of a substance to see if someone is allergic.

When to See A Healthcare Provider

It's advised to see a healthcare provider if a pimple or bump inside your nose:

  • Doesn't shrink after treatment
  • Gets larger and interferes with breathing
  • Is accompanied by other symptoms like nose bleeds, fever, pain, and pus
  • Causes loss of smell or taste


Pimples inside the nose are largely harmless. Other bumps inside the nose include nasal polyps, canker sores, nasal furunculosis (infection inside a hair follicle), and nasal vestibulitis (bacterial infection). Symptoms of pimples inside the nose include redness, swelling, blackheads or whiteheads, pain, pus, mucus, nosebleeds, and headache, among other symptoms.

Treating a pimple inside the nose usually means keeping the area clean while avoiding touching or picking. For bacterial infections, treatment includes antibiotic creams or oral medications, while abscesses could be drained. Nasal polyps can require surgery. Testing bumps or pimples inside the nose might include a swab test, an MRI for polyps, or allergy testing.

If bumps inside the nose do not respond to treatment or other symptoms accompany them, it's advised to see a healthcare provider as soon as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What causes pimples in the nose?

    Pimples inside the nose are caused by pores clogged by hair, oil, and sometimes, bacteria. Other possibilities for bumps inside the nose include polyps (which are painless but can grow larger), nasal abscess, a canker sore, an allergic reaction, or injury to the nose.

  • How can I get rid of pimples in the nose?

    Keeping the area clean and applying a warm compress can help heal pimples in the nose. It's best to avoid picking at or irritating the area. Anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen can help with pain and redness as the pimple is healing.

  • When are pimples in the nose dangerous?

    If a pimple doesn't heal or includes other symptoms (getting larger, nosebleeds, pus, fever, headache), it's likely a bacterial infection. Untreated bacterial infection in the nose could spread to the brain, so getting an antibiotic is advised. Persistent nose bumps can also be a symptom of nasal cancer. Bumps in the nose that get larger could cause difficulty with breathing, so removal as soon as possible is recommended.

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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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By Neha Kashyap
Neha is a New York-based health journalist who has written for WebMD, ADDitude, HuffPost Life, and dailyRx News. Neha enjoys writing about mental health, elder care, innovative health care technologies, paying for health care, and simple measures that we all can take to work toward better health.