Red Bumps On My Nose: Is It Acne or Something Else?

Dec 12, 2023
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If you have red bumps on your nose, you may quickly conclude it's acne. But those red bumps can have a lot of other causes that require different treatments. Read on to learn what they could mean.

It's easy to conclude that bothersome red bumps on your nose are just acne – it's the most common skin condition in the United States. But red bumps on your nose can have many causes that aren't acne, including rosacea. Usually, these bumps are not a cause for concern, but in some cases, they may indicate a serious skin condition. And they can be aesthetically displeasing and uncomfortable. 

At North Pacific Dermatology & Aesthetics, dermatologist Kelly Kinsley, MD, can properly diagnose the red bumps and get you the needed treatment. If an underlying condition causes them, she can help you manage that, too. 

If you find these bumps won't go away with treatments that usually resolve acne, it might be time to look closer at your skin. Read on to learn more about what might be causing the red bumps on your nose.

Acne symptoms

Acne occurs when your pores get clogged with oils or hair and are infected with bacteria. Acne commonly shows up on the nose. That's because pores in this area are large and therefore clog easily. 

Acne, specifically acne vulgaris, can appear as pimples, blackheads, or cysts and blemishes that appear as tiny red or pink bumps on the skin. Papules may feel sensitive; if you pick them up, you'll notice the inflammation worsens. 

If you have a history of acne – especially on other areas of your face or body – the red bumps on your nose may be acne. Hormonal changes, such as those that happen with puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, or stress, can trigger acne breakouts. Heavy sweating, humidity, and excessive touching of your skin can also cause acne to develop. 

When to suspect another condition

Other skin conditions can cause red bumps to form on the nose. Rosacea – or acne rosacea – affects some 14 million people in the United States. This condition causes skin redness and swelling. Often, the symptoms start at your nose and spread to your cheeks and other central areas of your face. 

Inflammation from rosacea can cause your nose to appear enlarged and pimples to develop on top of the flushed skin. Your skin may burn or sting. The redness from rosacea may resolve only to recur; it can also be permanent. 

Other possible causes for the red bumps on your nose are:

Perioral dermatitis

This rash-like condition can cause red bumps around the nose and mouth. It's often mistaken for acne but requires different treatment.

Contact dermatitis

Exposure to irritating substances or allergens can lead to red, itchy bumps on the nose. Identifying and avoiding the trigger is crucial for relief.

Skin cancer

Rarely, red bumps on your nose could indicate skin cancer like squamous or basal cell carcinoma.

If the red bumps on your nose persist despite acne treatments or worsen, call North Pacific Dermatology & Aesthetics now or use this website to schedule your appointment. Dr. Kinsley can evaluate your skin and provide treatment that effectively minimizes their appearance and helps you manage any underlying condition.