9 Possible Causes of Red Nose and Treatment

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Redness of the nose can affect anyone. Some people are more likely to develop a red nose, such as those who regularly drink alcohol in excess. Many other health conditions and disorders, including rosacea and perioral dermatitis, can also lead to a red nose.

This article discusses the possible causes of a red nose and what you can do to manage it.  

Woman blowing nose

Guido Mieth / Getty Images

What Causes Red Nose?

Many things can cause a red nose. Some common causes include:

  • Weather-related: Windburn, sunburn, and freezing weather can all lead to the nose becoming red.
  • Allergies: If you have an allergic reaction, you may develop irritation in and around the nose after frequent wiping. The repeated action leads to redness. Blood vessels can also swell in the nose, which may lead to redness.
  • Rosacea: Rosacea is an inflammatory disease that leads to a red rash on the face because of inflammation and visible blood vessels.
  • Perioral dermatitis: Perioral dermatitis typically surrounds the mouth, but it can also develop on the nose, forehead, or around the eyes.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption: When people consume too much alcohol regularly, it can cause the blood vessels in the nose to be chronically dilated, leading to redness.
  • Nasal vestibulitis: Nasal vestibulitis is an infection that causes redness and swelling inside and outside the nostrils.
  • Lupus: Lupus develops when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the body, thinking they are foreign pathogens. Rashes and redness of the face and nose are common clinical signs of lupus.
  • Emotions: Feeling stressed, angry, or embarrassed can cause the face to flush, turning the nose red.
  • Acne: Acne can develop anywhere on the face, including the nose. It causes pimples, skin irritation, and redness.

Flushing and Nose Redness

Flushing can be caused by various things, from emotions to health disorders. While flushing tends to occur on the cheeks, it can develop across the entire face and cause the nose to become red. 

Redness in Other Facial Parts

The causes of nose redness can also often lead to redness in other parts of the face. For example, lupus is highly associated with a butterfly-type rash that extends from cheek to cheek across the nose.

An allergic reaction can also cause redness across the entire face, depending on how a person responds to it and the type of reaction it is. For example, say a person uses a new moisturizing lotion and they’re allergic to it. The red rash accompanying allergies is likely to occur everywhere the lotion was applied, not just the nose area.

Face Redness and Your Health

While many causes of facial redness are nothing to be too concerned about, they can point to an existing underlying health disorder. Therefore, your healthcare provider should examine a chronically red face.

Treatment By Cause

Treating a red nose is done based on what is causing it to occur. Treatment options include:


A weather-related red nose could remedy itself after you remove yourself from the type of weather exposure that causes it. For example, if you are out in the cold for some time, your nose may become red because of the cold and wind.

After being inside in the warmth and out of the wind, the redness in the nose will clear up. You can also moisturize the area with unscented products if there is a lingering cold or windburn.

Sunburn on the nose will also usually clear up on its own. In the meantime, for a sunburn, you can apply a soothing lotion or gel such as aloe vera to the area to help speed up the healing process.


Weather-related redness on the nose will typically clear up on its own, but you can use soothing gels or moisturizers to help ease irritation.


Allergies are treated in several ways. If you have come into contact with an allergen that causes your nose to turn red, simply removing the allergen can help to clear it up.

In some cases, you may want to take antihistamines that can help reduce a runny nose and, thus, the need to blow or wipe your nose often.

You may also apply hydrocortisone cream to the area to help decrease inflammation, irritation, and rash caused by allergies.


There is no cure for rosacea, so it will not go away on its own. However, specific treatment options are available to you that can reduce flare-ups and redness. Some therapies include:

  • Oral medications
  • Topical medications
  • Light therapy

The type of rosacea a person has determines the treatment they need. Topical creams or ointments using antibiotics (metronidazole) and azelaic acid are used alone or as part of a combinational therapy approach before starting other treatments. Topicals should be applied for six weeks before moving to another therapy.

Oral drugs designed to constrict blood flow through the blood vessels may be used along with adrenergic antagonists, which increase blood pressure. They are only used in special circumstances and are very low-dose.

Laser or light therapy can also reduce redness caused by rosacea by targeting blood vessels. The blood vessels eventually collapse because of the laser or light and become invisible underneath the skin.  

Avoiding Triggers

People with rosacea tend to have flare-ups where the redness worsens. To help limit these occurrences, people can avoid any triggers such as extreme temperatures, exposure to UV light, spicy food, stress, and alcohol.

Perioral Dermatitis

Treatment for perioral dermatitis is done by first stopping the application of corticosteroids such as hydrocortisone cream. While this may seem counterproductive, hydrocortisone creams can cause the rash to worsen over time.

Antibiotics can be given to help treat the condition, as can specific lifestyle changes, such as switching the more mild facial cleansers.

Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Treating alcohol nose involves the use of topical treatments that are similar to those used for people with rosacea. Topical medications such as antibiotics, azelaic acid, and retinoids are all first-line treatment options for redness caused by excessive alcohol consumption.

Some people may have to take oral antibiotics. However, the most severe cases require an appointment with a specialist. They will determine if more drastic measures must be taken to treat alcohol-induced redness.

Alcohol Nose and Surgery

Some cases of alcohol nose can become so severe that surgery is the only option to reverse the physical damage done. Surgeries aim to shave off the tissue on the nose affected by the condition while leaving the healthy cartilage behind.

Nasal Vestibulitis

Since nasal vestibulitis is a bacterial infection, it is treated using topical antibiotics. If the cream or lotion antibiotics do not work, a person may be required to have a course of oral antibiotics instead.

A warm compress can help ease any irritation in the area while it is being treated.  


Lupus is a chronic, lifelong disease. There is currently no cure, but there are treatment options that can effectively manage symptoms. Treatment options for lupus include:

  • Over-the-counter (OTC) NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories) such as Advil
  • Corticosteroids to reduce swelling and inflammation, such as prednisone
  • Antimalarial medications to clear skin rashes
  • BLyS-specific inhibitors, which are medications designed to lower or limit the number of abnormal immune cells in the body that cause symptoms
  • Other medications designed to suppress the immune system
  • Chemotherapy

Can Alternative Therapy Work for Lupus?

Research is lacking regarding alternative therapies for Lupus. That said, some supplements such as vitamin D, turmeric, and omega-3 fatty acids may reduce disease activity in people with the condition.


Facial redness driven by emotions is temporary. Once the feeling subsides, so does the redness. If you experience chronic stress, you may notice flushing more often.

The best thing to combat that is to practice stress management techniques such as exercise, yoga, meditation, and participating in calming activities you enjoy.


Some OTC therapies can help treat acne around the nose, such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or topical retinoids. Sometimes, a topical antibiotic may be used alongside benzoyl peroxide or retinoids.

A medication known as Isotretinoin may be used for severe acne, but it is reserved for the most serious cases and only after people have tried other products to treat their skin.

When to Seek Medical Attention

A red nose isn’t always a cause for concern and can be treated relatively easily. Since some redness or rashes that occur on the nose require treatment or indicate another disease, you must see your healthcare provider if:

  • You develop a rash shaped like a butterfly on your face 
  • The skin on your nose begins to peel, crack, ooze, or bleed
  • Itchiness or redness doesn’t go away

Best Moisturizers for Red Nose 

The best moisturizers for your red nose depend on what is causing it. Generally speaking, if you want to choose a good moisturizer, your best bet is to go for fragrance-free moisturizers that contain calming ingredients such as aloe.


Many different things can cause a red nose. For example, your nose could turn red from something as simple as weather exposure, but it could also be a sign of an underlying health condition such as lupus.

Treating your red nose will depend entirely on what is causing it. That is why you see a dermatologist if you experience a red nose with other symptoms, such as itchiness, peeling, bleeding, or skin breakage. They will diagnose your condition and provide you with proper treatment.

In the meantime, moisturizers containing soothing agents such as calamine or aloe can help soothe irritation.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does nose redness get worse with age?

    While your nose won’t typically get red as you age, it can if you develop a skin condition known as rosacea. Rosacea causes a red rash on the face that can worsen and then improve sporadically with treatment. Some people notice their nose reddening with age because they have undiagnosed rosacea, and the condition typically develops after a person hits middle age.

  • What’s the link between red nose and high blood pressure?

    High blood pressure doesn’t necessarily cause your nose to become red, but it can. In some cases, high blood pressure develops because of various stressors, and the entire face begins to flush when that happens. That red flushing can include the nose. Typically, the redness caused by high blood pressure is temporary.

  • Does makeup cause nose and cheek redness?

    Make-up can contain ingredients that irritate the skin. If a person has sensitive skin or is allergic to any of those ingredients, their face can turn red. Typically, the redness goes away when they stop using the product.

  • Is red nose a chronic symptom?

    A red nose isn’t always a chronic symptom, but it can be in some. People with lupus, for example, often develop a butterfly-shaped red rash that stretches across both cheeks and their noses. Since lupus is a chronic disease, a red nose can be a chronic symptom of that disease.

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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 Angelica Bottaro
Angelica Bottaro is a professional freelance writer with over 5 years of experience. She has been educated in both psychology and journalism, and her dual education has given her the research and writing skills needed to deliver sound and engaging content in the health space.