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Our noses have an important job. They help filter the air we breathe.
Your nose often shows the first signs that you're getting sick: sneezing, tickling, dripping, or congestion. When this happens, we need to listen and allow our bodies to fight back as well as possible by resting and drinking plenty of fluids.
Most of the causes for a sudden sore nose are not dangerous and are treatable at home.
Though sore noses are usually not a serious medical condition, if you have been experiencing extreme pain or unexplained soreness that has lasted for over one week, you should consider seeing an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) doctor for a professional examination.
Causes of Pain Inside the Nose
Very cold air or dry air can irritate the inside of the nose and make it hurt. Blowing the nose frequently can also make your nose dry
There are a number of home treatments. See below for more information.
Excessive nose blowing, scratching, or other constant rubbing of the nose can make it sore
Stop irritating your nose, and solve the underlying problem causing the constant irritation
Acne can crop up in the nose and can be quite painful
Don't try to pop the pimple! Apply a warm compress three times a day to help draw out the infection.
Folliculitis happens when bacteria gets into a pore and causes an infection — it can look like a red bump or a collection of white bumps
Use a warm compress to ease the pain, and it should go away within about two weeks. If not, see your doctor.
Also known as a furuncle, this is deeper skin infection in the nose
Use warm compresses to draw the pus to the surface. Once the boil bursts, keep the wound clean with soap and water and continue applying warm compresses.
Other kind of infection
General signs of infection include redness, areas that are warm to the touch, drainage or pus, fever, and swollen lymph nodes
See an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist to be examined.
How to Treat Your Nose Pain
There are many reasons noses can hurt. Here are some of the most common ones and things to try to help make the pain go away:
Dryness is one of the most common causes of a sore nose, and it can be caused by a variety of factors.
People who blow their nose frequently, smoke tobacco or marijuana, or who live in a dry climate are especially susceptible to getting a dry nose.1 In fact, blowing the nose too frequently is the most common cause for a dry nose — whether blowing because of allergies or a cold.1
You can also get it from using common medications like antihistamines and over-the-counter treatments for colds like nasal decongestants.
Artificial heating and cooling can also dry out the air, meaning you can still get a dry nose in the middle of the summer.
To alleviate your sore nose, you can try one of the following remedies.1
- Line the interior of your nostrils with a very small amount of petroleum jelly
- Get a humidifier to increase the moisture in the air in the areas where you spend the most time
- Use a saline nasal spray — these can be used to wet and cleanse your nasal passages.
- Breathe in some steam — boil several cups of water and pour into a large bowl, then place a towel over your head and over the sides of the bowl to trap the steam and breathe in the vapors. This should relieve the soreness, but be forewarned that the effects of steam won't last for very long.
- Use a wet facial tissue or a baby wipe and gently wipe on the inside of your nostrils.
Hopefully these methods will help your nose. If you're experiencing fever, bloody discharge, or bloody noses that won't stop, you should see a doctor.
Blowing your nose repeatedly or otherwise irritating your nose can cause soreness. Extra vigorous nose picking or rubbing can have the same effect. Have you been giving your nose too much attention lately? Or have you accidentally scratched or otherwise harmed the tissue?
Maybe it's time to give it a break or take some medicine to calm your allergies, your cold, or whatever it was that was causing you to touch your nose so frequently in the first place.
3. A Pimple
Acne can happen inside of your nose. Often, nose pimples don’t have a head, so they appear simply as a lump that is sore to the touch, though you might also experience one that is deep within your nose so you can't see it or touch it except from the outside.
Don't try to pop or pick at the pimple! That will likely just make it worse and could possibly cause infection. Instead, apply a warm compress to the area for 15 - 20 minutes, three times a day.2 Make a compress by wetting a dish towel with warm water and then wringing out the excess and placing it over the sore area. This will soothe the soreness and help the pimple heal on its own.
If it doesn't go away or if it starts to get worse, you should consult a doctor.
Folliculitis is the inflammation of the hair follicles.3 It can happen anywhere on your body, including in your nose.
There are many different causes of folliculitis, which range from damage to the hair follicles to irritation from makeup.
Folliculitis looks like red bumps with a hair in the middle of each one — they might burn, itch, or drain pus.
Folliculitis will typically resolve itself within two weeks or so. To ease the pain, you can use a warm compress (see above).
If it doesn't go away within two weeks, you should see a doctor. You may need to get antibiotics.
5. Furuncles (Boils)
A furuncle is an infection that starts in the oil gland or hair follicle.4 They start as a hard painful lump and then get softer over the course of a few days, with some pus forming in a pocket at the top. Eventually, they burst and drain, which normally causes some pain relief.
Usually, they heal on their own after about 10 days (which is usually when they burst).
Do not poke or try to pop the boil — especially do not try to pop it with a needle. It will pop on its own.4
Use warm compresses (see above) to help soothe the pain and draw the infection towards the surface. After it bursts and drains, keep the area clean with antibacterial soap and rubbing alcohol (this will help keep it from getting infected further). If it is inside your nose, seek a doctor's advice on how to keep the area clean.
Wash the area two to three times a day until it is completely healed and continue to use warm compresses.4
You should see a doctor if the boil does not drain or more boils form, or if you develop a fever or swollen lymph nodes.4
5. Some Other Infection
If none of these treatments help, it's possible there is something else going on inside of your nose that is a little more unusual. In general, the signs of a skin infection in your nose include redness or warmth on your nose, drainage, a fever, or swollen lymph nodes.
If you have pain in your nose that has lasted for a long time or is getting worse and includes the above symptoms, you should see a doctor. And always remember that Internet advice is not the same as seeing a professional in-person.
Wishing you good health!
Answer Our Poll!
- Krans, Brian. Medically reviewed by Debra Sullivan, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE, COI. "5 Ways to Treat Dry Nose." May 24, 2017. Healthline. Accessed August 16, 2017.
- Nall, Rachel, RN, BSN. Medically reviewed by Steven Kim, MD. Pimple Inside Nose. March 31, 2015. Healthline. Accessed August 16, 2017.
- "Folliculitis - Topic Overview." WebMD. Accessed August 16, 2017.
- Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD. "Boils." November 17, 2015. WebMD. Accessed August 16, 2017.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Share Your Story With Others!
bobbie on October 28, 2018:
first i cleaned the area with a cotton swab soaked in astringent, dried with another swab..now, with a walnut oil soaked swab, i saturated the area...next day it was drained and healing and not hurting....walnut oil is high in anti-bacterial and more
Da realeishaaa._bih on August 04, 2018:
I Have nasal spray so do i use that????
email@example.com on June 28, 2017:
i need help to see how can i get rid of pain in my nose i was botched job in burnley many years collapsing my septum and raw skin in nose causing severe pain
firstname.lastname@example.org on June 28, 2017:
i had a botched job done on my nose in england by a indian for polyps he ruiined my septum and suffering terrible pain especially in mornings i was told the lining is raw in nose id like to get advice how i can get ir put right mebe with a skin inplant in nose please advise tommy
molly on June 14, 2017:
i found that my nostril was hurting mainly because i had slept with my window open so it was cold, i just put my head under my covers for about 3 minutes to make sure i was inhaling warm air and the pain went away!
Anonymous on June 13, 2017:
My right nose hurts after picking it and it only hurts when touched should i tell my parents
Hailey on June 12, 2017:
What else you can do is wet a paper towel, and only paper towel, rip out a small piece and put it in some nice hot water. Stick it up your nostril that hurts and in about 3-4 minutes and you should feel fine. If you don't feel good still, try using nice hot water still and let it sit in your nostril 5-6 minutes that time. If you want more feed comment and daily I will come back with more suggestions and facts what you can do!
Jamiyah on May 20, 2017:
My nose do not hurt no more
Cd on May 20, 2017:
My nose pimple is closer to my eye. I tried the warm water washcloth and instead of working, It made it worse. Tysm
someone on February 10, 2017:
alexis, did you sniff water?
Guest on February 01, 2017:
8 ounces is not 8 cups. Might want to change that. Lol
vae on July 10, 2015:
My left nose is hurting when my head are bow. What should i do? It also hurts when i go to sleep
Alc on July 06, 2015:
try coconut oil
deez nuts on May 24, 2015:
My left nostril hurts (:)
alexis on March 30, 2015:
i tried water and it did not help it made it burn
chloe beyer on February 16, 2015:
My nose hurts and non of these things helped. They only made it hurt worse