Acne is simply a blocked hair follicle, typically clogged by dead skin or oil. While the dreaded ‘t-zone’ (forehead, nose, and chin) is the most common place to have acne, it can pop up anywhere.
One thing to note is that while the little black specks on the nose look very similar to blackheads, they aren’t. They’re called sebaceous filaments and are a completely normal part of hair follicle anatomy. They actually occur wherever there is hair, they’re just most noticeable around the nose, so don’t worry about getting rid of them.
Stress can contribute to many health problems, weakening the body’s immune system and generally just making it harder to bounce back. While it’s a factor that can be really hard to control, destressing when possible can help prevent flare-ups.
Hormones are one of the biggest factors – there’s a reason teenagers are known for having pronounced acne. They can trigger excessive skin oil production, causing clogged pores and other unsightly problems. However, adults can have the exact same problem. PMS and menopause are two of the biggest culprits for hormone-related acne in adults.
Genetics are just that – some people are predisposed to have acne and others aren’t. One thing to note is that the exact inheritance of acne is still unknown, so just because someone’s parents didn’t have acne doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t have it either.
Pre-existing infections can also contribute to acne, putting stress on the body and the immune system. A specific species of bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes) is also known to contribute to acne flare-ups, though the exact relationship between the two is still unknown.
There’s a common misconception that greasy foods cause a pimple on the nose – but it’s just that, a misconception. Eating a balanced diet, however, does help. Also, some medications can cause acne, so always double-check side effects.
One of the easiest to control factors is abrasion. This isn’t just things like helmets or scarves, but also towels and makeup.
So how to prevent a pimple on the nose?
There’s no way to change some of the factors that cause acne but ensuring things like towels and pillowcases are cleaned regularly will go a long way in preventing flare-ups.
Washing affected areas – particularly the t-zone – and toning them, can help, but doing it too much can cause additional flare-ups.
General steps, like reducing stress and improving diet, will help with most things, not just acne.
In general, the best way to treat a sudden surprise pimple on the nose is to try and prevent it in the first place.
Because acne is so common, there are a wide variety of treatment options available, both over the counter and prescription. There are many folk remedies, such as using baking soda or toothpaste, but they don’t have scientific evidence to support them and introducing abrasive substances can make the situation worse, so do research before applying anything to the skin.
Two things to avoid when possible are popping pimples and covering them up with makeup. While it can be tempting, especially if it’s in a visible place like on the tip of the nose, both of these can ultimately make the situation far worse. Popping pimples can cause infections, while covering them up with makeup or another concealer can cause further outbreaks.
Washing linens and towels after the first pimple appears can help prevent it from spreading. Avoid poking it or touching the face and hopefully it will go away on its own.
Improving one’s diet is a simple way to start the process, especially in individuals who don’t have the most well-rounded diets. It’s a great way to help manage the occasional flare-up.
Benzoyl peroxide is available over-the-counter as a topical gel or a face wash. It’s often the active ingredient in washes sold as acne treatment. It works by killing the bacteria associated with acne. Because it’s not a traditional antibiotic, it doesn’t cause antibacterial resistance the way prescription antibiotics can. This can be used for mild cases or in conjunction with other treatments for more severe cases.
Retinoids reduce skin inflammation and sebum (skin oil) production, which can help prevent hair follicles from getting clogged. This is great for cases of acne that are triggered by oily skin.
Antibiotics have become less effective in recent years due to resistance in bacteria. They are typically only used for more severe cases and are prescribed by doctors in either pill or topical form.
Because hormones play a big part in regular acne flare-ups, birth control pills and antiandrogens can be used to lower sebum production and therefore reduce acne associated with hormonal fluctuations.
Azelaic and salicylic acids are topical treatments much like benzoyl peroxide, though tend to have more side effects – particularly dry skin and the lightening or darkening of skin depending on existing melanin production.
Nicotinamide is a form of vitamin B3 that can be applied topically or taken orally, and it has been suggested for milder cases due to its anti-inflammatory nature. It also helps wounds heal faster.
In more extreme cases, light and laser therapy can be used to reduce sebum production and tackle the pores directly, reducing scarring and pimples, but it’s only recommended for the most severe of cases. Chemical peels work in the same way, but they can have unwanted side effects.
The most effective ways of treating acne are to use a combination of methods and to take good care of the skin in general. A pimple on the nose is more than just an unsightly problem, it could be caused by larger lifestyle problems.