Pimples Inside The Nose: Causes + Derm Recommendations

So that zit may not be a zit at all—it’s far more rare, but there are other causes. “If you have a raised sore spot in the nose it is most likely a pimple,’ assures Nicole Hatfield, certified esthetician for Pomp & Founder of Radiant Beings Wellness & Beauty. “Another more likely cause could be an inflamed hair follicle, also called folliculitis. However if it begins to spread or become more painful rather than less painful over time you should see a doctor to be sure it is nothing serious.” 

How do you know what the little bump in your nostril really is? Well, it’s not always easy to tell—as folicilites and zits look and act very similar. However, folliculitis is caused by yeast that inflames the hair follicle in the skin and causes pimple-like bumps to appear. It’s normal for this type of yeast to live on the skin, but when it is not controlled, it can lead to these acne-like breakouts. 

Speaking of hair follicles, “it can be an ingrown hair,” notes King. Ingrown hairs are simply strands that got trapped in the pore, and thus are growing into the skin. They are very common, and usually not a big deal. However, they can become a problem if they become inflamed. “If the lesion gets worse or more painful with time, these can be signs of an infection and it’s important to see your doctor,” she says. 

If you really can’t tell, and it’s bugging you, you can visit a derm to help you identify what your problem is. They may even diagnose it as a cold sore. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1). “The virus typically lays dormant in the underlying nerve, but when there’s a triggering immune event (such as stress, sunlight, or trauma) to the skin, it can cause the virus to flare in the nerve,” board-certified dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare Purvisha Patel, M.D. previously told us about the difference between cold sores and pimples. Yes, cold sore blisters can appear inside the nostril (this is much more rare; most appear around the mouth or near the nose—not usually in the nose). And visiting a derm will mean they’ll be able to test the bump so you can know for sure. 

While acne, folliculitis, and ingrown hairs tend to look and feel similarly, cold sores act a bit different: They form in small blisters, which then will usually pop on it’s own, then will scab over heavily. The scab eventually flakes off in a few days. 

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