There’s nothing like a pimple on the nose to really tie together that perfect look that exudes confidence.
Sarcasm aside, looking like Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer typically isn’t something we plan for. Pimples on the nose and blackhead breakouts come for the best of us – it's one of the most common type of acne for men, and thankfully, pretty simple to manage with the right care.
Zits and acne are rated E for everyone– it doesn’t really matter if you have oily skin, dry, or acne-prone skin, you’re still pretty likely to get a zit or blackhead on your nose, especially with clogged pores and buildup of excess oil.
As one of the most prominent protruding features of the face, your nose can get oily and is typically a primary focal point, so keeping it acne-free is in the best interest of your aesthetics.
Blackheads, Whiteheads, and Zits– Oh my!
Here’s what a blackhead isn’t – it’s not actual dirt that's a clog jammed in your pores, so don’t scrub it out like you just landed face-first in a soccer field.
Blackheads are primarily caused by dead skin cells and sebum (your body's natural oil) that get stuck in your pores, creating a plug called a comedone. Your skin sheds dead skin cells in order to make room for new skin cells every 30 days, so there are plenty of dead skin cells to go around.
These plugs are typically close enough to the surface of the skin so they are fairly visible. Similar to that banana on your kitchen counter you should probably consider throwing out, the comedone plugs closer to the surface begins to oxidize and turn brown. If the comedone isn’t exposed to air, it’ll stay in its natural white-ish color.
- Blackheads = Comedones exposed to air.
- Whiteheads = Comedones not exposed to air.
Chances are, if you look in the mirror right now, you’ll likely see some minor or major blackhead developments throughout your face, and they can also pop up on your back, chest, neck, arms, around your mouth, and shoulders or even from shaving.
A blackhead, however, isn’t your trademark zit or pimple. A pimple develops when a pore is trapped by a plug of oil and dead skin cells. Your skin’s sebaceous glands keep doing their job and produce that sebum we mentioned earlier, some of which continues to be pumped into your pore.
However, instead of this oil being able to flow out of the pore, it’s stuck accumulating behind the plug. Your typical run-of-the-mill skin bacteria called Propionibacteria acnes joins the party and the follicle becomes engorged and irritated.
Next, the concoction of dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria swells up and forces the hair follicle wall to break, and white blood cells storm the scene, clogging, and then the pore becomes a red bump that's swollen and filled with pus, a thick fluid of cellular debris.
Boom – the timeless zit on the nose.
Men tend to have larger pores on their nose, which only increases the visibility of this acne. Our pores get bigger as we age, so it’s important to build some sort of skincare awareness and practice to keep our nose looking its best.
How to Get Rid of Zits on Your Nose
Those tiny little black dots and zits on your nose appear to come out of nowhere, but they’re actually fairly preventable. Let’s walk down the list:
The best offense is a good defense, and focusing on regular skin hygiene and wellness best practices tends to pay higher dividends (think cleanser).
Takes it easy, pimple poppers
What you shouldn’t do is give in to the temptation of trying to squeeze out every blackhead yourself, since this can cause more to pop up. Your fingers are massive compared to your pores, so you may end up doing more damage than help.
You may be able to squeeze one pore out, but the pressure on neighboring pores can collapse them and cause more plugs to form. Further, if you get too aggressive with your popping, you could cause some tears that will lead to holes or scars -- popping the pustules themselves usually won't scar but ripping the skin does.
Be cool, man
One of the primary causes of the formation of zit and blackhead-causing plugs is your stress levels and hormones. While your most intense hormone shifting teenage years might be in the rearview, your hormones can still change. Stress, well, that bad boy is going to be around unless you learn how to manage it.
If acne causes you more stress, which may cause more acne, try to break the negative cycle loop by focusing on a regular skincare routine. Spot treatments can always help, but try to avoid the over-the-counter acne treatments from your local drug store -- they're a little harsh for using on your skin too often.
Eat right, feel right
There are also several studies that link dairy, processed foods, and generally high-glycemic foods to poor skin health. By managing what you eat and keeping your glucose levels within a generally stable range, you could see a fundamental improvement in your overall skin health and a reduction of zits on your nose.
Exfoliate like a champ
Exfoliation, or the process of removing dead skin cells on the surface level of your skin by using a granular or chemical substance (or exfoliation tool), can be a very effective means to prevent these dead skin cells from falling back into the pores.
While some sites recommend using salicylic acid (a chemical exfoliant), we prefer the more natural route. A soothing granular exfoliant can go a long way in keeping your face looking healthy, minimizing blackheads and zits on the nose– all without putting any more chemicals on your body.
F*ck it, mask on
Clay masks are also a highly effective and natural way to get that deep clean that can reach the deep-down dead skin cell gunk. Clay mask ingredients can make all the difference. For example, we use a purifying blend of Bentonite clay, papaya, charcoal, willow bark extract, aloe, and eucalyptus in our clay face mask, and it’s awesome because, well, we made it to be awesome.
To top it all off, finish off with a moisturizer to prevent an excessive loss in face moisture.
It’s worth noting that even with an excellent skincare routine and healthy lifestyle, blackheads and acne can still form– welcome to the luxury of being human! However, by incorporating healthy lifestyle habits and the right topical support, you’ll be able to zap zits and blackheads before they form.
Different people have different skins though, so you'll want to make sure you identify what type of skin you have. For example we have an article specifically for skin care tips for black men.
Now, with all this in mind, don't be afraid to put stuff on your face for the sake of avoiding a little acne vulgaris -- sunscreen is super important, coconut oil is super nourishing for dry skin, and retinoids practically reverse the signs of aging. Just make sure you're going for noncomedogenic stuff, i.e. non-clogging, and you'll be golden!