Last Updated on January 6th, 2020
Acne on your nose tells the whole world you have acne. Treating acne on your nose the wrong way, however, can make it even worse.
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The nose is part of the “T zone” in the middle of your face, along with your brow, which generates the most oil. It is also rich in capillaries just under the skin. Sometimes these capillaries can break and leak blood, covering the nose with tiny red spots, or bruise, creating purple streaks. In severe cases, capillaries can accumulate scar tissue causing a condition of bumps on the nose known as rhinophyma.
When excess oil collects in pores on your nose, the problem is usually acne vulgaris, or common acne. This kind of acne has its own telltale signs.
When tiny red pimples pop out on the nose and across the cheeks in just minutes, the problem is more likely to be rosacea. Rosacea has symptoms that distinguish it from common acne.
If you have a problem with blackheads and whiteheads on your nose, you probably need to cleanse your skin twice a day. You want to get dirt and grime off your skin, but you don’t have to, and in fact you can’t, scrub your acne away. Cleansing your skin prevents future blackheads and whiteheads, but it does not remove existing blackheads and whiteheads right away, if at all.
Most people who have common acne, especially people who have acne on the nose, need to adjust their cleansing routine with the seasons. During the winter, the skin on the nose and forehead may be oily, but the skin on the cheeks and chin may be dry. Cleanser should be left on the nose and forehead for about a minute, but on the rest of the face for just 30 seconds or so. During the summer, all the skin on the face may get oily. It’s a good time to use a light cleanser on all the face during the summer, and to take extra care to keep hair care products off the nose and forehead.
Rosacea is caused by broken blood vessels. There is absolutely no way you can rub, scrub, or wash it away. In fact, the more pressure you put on the skin of your nose, the more likely it is to break out. For rosacea, mild cleansers are best. Detergent cleansers like sodium lauryl sulphate and anything that makes your skin red—especially cinnamon oil—can make your nose break out in unsightly pimples.
If you have rosacea, you need to use a gentle, anti-inflammatory cleanser. It may also help to use facial waters (mineral waters containing magnesium, selenium, and/or sulfur that are spritzed onto your face after you cleanse and pat it dry).
The nose is especially sensitive to sunburn. People who have rosacea often have the type of skin that never tans and always burns, and needs protection from the sun. Unfortunately, most people who have this skin type are determined to get a tan to make their acne less noticeable, and venture out into midday sun to try to do it. The result is only more rosacea plus sunburn and wrinkles. Because sun exposure weakens the collagen around blood vessels, the more sun someone who has rosacea gets, the more pimples will break out, too.
It is possible to have blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples caused by both common acne and rosacea at the same time on the nose. If this happens, it may be helpful to use a very mild cleanser like Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser or Eucerin Redness Relief Soothing Cleanser in the morning, and the very mildest formulation of benzoyl peroxide you can find in the evening.
Intense pulsed light treatment (which is provided by a dermatologist) can get rid of enlarged vessels on your nose. However, the treatments can be expensive, can have side effects, and are often not covered by insurance.