Welcome to The Spot, a monthly column tackling acne and our relationships to it. Here, we ask women how they deal with blemishes at home—and consult with skin care experts to find out what really works.
We can all agree that breakouts are no fun to deal with, and it seems like we always have blemishes on our nose. When that part of the face gets oily and congested, you have to be strategic about treating it. As much as we may want to pick at our faces, the skin in that area can be very sensitive and any extraction mistakes could lead to permanent scarring and broken capillaries. So, how do you treat nose acne?
First, let's start by explaining why our nose is a prime spot for oil build-up. The nose has structures that produce sebum called sebaceous glands. Dermatologist and co-host of the skin care podcast The Gist, Doris Day, M.D., explains that these glands can become overactive and fill up in what looks like blackheads and breakouts. However, she explains that although they look like blackheads, they're actually sebaceous filaments.
COMMENT a 💥 if you have ever seen these on your nose! These little dots are VERY common and often confused for blackheads, but these are actually sebaceous filaments. They reside in the lining of your pores and their primary function is to channel the flow of sebum. BUT when the lining fills up with sebum, they become visible and more noticeable 👀The best way to minimize the appearance of them = Exfoliation! Using a cleanser with Salicylic Acid morning + night will help break down the sebum filling up your pores, and clear away dirt, bacteria, and debris that has the potential of developing into acne. Pads with exfoliating acids like Glycolic Acid and Lactic Acid are also a simple way to help by sloughing away dull skin and keeping pores clear 💯 Link in bio to shop Salicylic Acid Cleanser + Resurfacing Acne Swipes, the products I formulated with @slmdskincare !
A post shared by Sandra Lee, MD, FAAD, FAACS (@drpimplepopper) on May 2, 2020 at 4:38pm PDT
Sebaceous filaments line our pores to control sebum production, and when the oil gland fills up, it can look like a blackhead. Dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, M.D. explains that the nose is one of the highest-density areas of the face for oil glands, hence, the why there appears to be so many nose breakouts.
Both dermatologists agree that the best way to keep the nose clear is through exfoliation. Dr. Day says looking for products with salicylic acid, like the Paula's Choice BHA Liquid Exfoliant, can help with oil control and help with buildup in pores. She also recommends topical retinoids, like Differin Gel, and sunscreen to prevent acne and protect skin from irritation.
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Dr. Nazarian says that “tried and true” acne-fighting ingredients, like adapalene, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid, won’t fail you. “Topical ingredients can decrease sebum production, encourage regulation of the skin cells to minimize clogged pores, and decrease bacteria," she explains. "These are all effective methods to prevent acne in the long-term.”
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It can be super tempting (and weirdly satisfying) to take matters into your own hands and squeeze the sebum and sebaceous filaments out, but Dr. Nazarian strongly advises against doing your own extractions. “If gentle pressure doesn’t immediately encourage the [breakouts] to slide out, it’s best to immediately stop,” she says. Instead of squeezing them, Dr. Day recommends gently steaming the skin to help detoxify it without having to apply pressure.
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Remember, treating nose acne takes time. Your best bet is to develop a consistent skincare routine and be patient—good things come to those who wait.