Here's why you've always got black spots on your nose (and how to get rid of them.)

If there's one place on your face that's consistent in producing clogged pores and glorious spots on the reg, it's old mate nose. He's always covered in them. Whether they're blackheads, whiteheads, blind pimples or a total mix of everything - he's got it all down pat. God bless him. So thoughtful.

Watch: On the topic of spots... here's how to treat blackheads. Post continues below.

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And whenever you think you've finally got the whole situation under control (read: you've squeezed, ripped and scrubbed the living hell out of your schnozz), they seem to just pop right back up for the ride. Cute!

But why is nose congestion such a recurring issue? And how do you stop them from coming back? Because we're tired of wading hrough different opinions on Google, we turned to dermatologist Cara McDonald from Complete Skin Specialists to help clear things up (soz, we had to).

Why do I ALWAYS have spots on my nose?

First of all, let's start by explaining why TF our noses are always absolutely riddled with spots - shall we?

"The skin on the nose is thicker and more robust to support the freestanding structure of the nose," said McDonald. "Pores are the openings of the hair follicle on the skin. This is known as a pilosebaceous gland and includes an oil gland which is necessary to lubricate the skin with sebum. Sebum helps protect the skin by supporting the skin barrier and improving flexibility."

Okay, but why is our nose such an over-achiever on the sebum front? What gives?

"As the nose skin is thicker, our pores are deeper. The problem is that when the oil glands become overactive due to genetics or hormones, we see a significant build-up of oil and subsequently dilated pores on the nose," said McDonald. 

This means that certain life stages, like puberty, pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause can increase the amount of sebum the pores in the nose produce. 


Are the blackhead-looking things on my nose *actually* blackheads?

Weirdly, no. The constellation of black spots on your nose aren't always blackheads. 

"All pores are lined with a layer of skin cells and have an oil gland attached. The skin cells and oil should continually move out of the pore to lubricate the skin. If the skin turnover is abnormal or oil production is excessive, then we see a problem where the dead skin and oil block the pore causing congestion," explained McDonald. 

So, that black colour we see is actually caused by oxygen in the air oxidising the oil within the pore.

While they may look like blackheads, more often than not these black spots are just clogged pores or 'sebaceous filaments' if you want to get all fancy on us. "This is similar to a blackhead, where there is a larger blockage of skin cells and oil that has become oxidised and is not clearing out as we would like," adds McDonald.

How do I get rid of spots on my nose?

To clear congestion on your nose, there's some hardcore drawing and clearing agents you need to get on your squad. "The best way to keep the pores clear is to use active skincare ingredients which help breakdown dead skin cells and those which help reduce oil production," said McDonald.

Listen to Mamamia's podcast for your face, You Beauty, where we chat all things popping pimples. Post continues below. 

If you're wondering what kinds of active ingredients to look out for, McDonald says to keep an eye out for things with salicylic acid and beta-lipohydroxy acid (B-LHA), because they are lipophilic - meaning they are attracted to oil (*winks*) and are drawn down deep into pores. 

"These then act to break apart the clogged skin cells and stagnant oil and create a clearer, smaller looking pore," she adds.

We reckon La Roche-Posay Effacular Duo Anti-Acne Moisturiser, $31.95 (it contains lipohydroxy acid) or Andalou Clear Skin Blemish vanishing Gel, $19.99 (contains salicylic acid) will do the job nicely.

"The right skincare can regulate oil production and skin cell turnover as well as clear out existing debris. Retinols are especially good at normalising cell turnover which reduces the clogging of the pores and can also decrease oil production. Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide help clear congestion from within the pores."

If you've you tried the above ingredients before and are still swanning around with enlarged pores and blackheads, you may need something a little stronger. "Blackheads and visible pores on the nose are unfortunately related to your genetic pore size and skin type, which is mostly pre-determined. To prevent breakouts it is best to use appropriate skincare or prescription treatment if needed."


Is there anything I shouldn't be doing?

Don't go too crazy on the exfoliation front, because you're going to have a bad time. 

"One mistake that we see frequently is over-cleansing, harsh ingredients or physical exfoliation in an attempt to clear the congestion, but this can actually increase inflammation and increase the frequency of breakouts. So, the one thing to avoid if you are prone to breakouts is over-treating or over-exfoliating the skin," said McDonald.

Sooo, I just squeezed the sh*t out of my nose. Is that bad?

We know it's hard when you've got that 50x zoom magnifying beauty mirror pulled out under a bright ring light, but in the interest of not ruining your skin, there should be no touchy touchy. So, please. Pretty little mitts off.

"There is a risk with squeezing or extracting blackheads on the nose that you induce inflammation which unfortunately can worsen breakouts and increase the risk of scarring," said McDonald. Sad face. 

Rather than messing around with squeezing, extraction tools and nose strips (we are guilty of all), McDonald recommends seeing a skin expert for a professional extraction instead. "Gentle professional extraction is the best method, because squeezing and nose strips can damage the skin barrier and increase inflammation."

Whaa? But I love those nose strips I've been using since I was 15! We hear you cry. 

Y'see with things like nose strips, you end up stripping the skin barrier which "results in a protective reaction from the skin to produce more oil and skin cells in an attempt to protect the skin from further damage." Basically, you just get more spots in return. No good. Ditch 'em.

If you don't have the monies to throw around on professional extractions, sticking to the right skincare ingredients (everything we mentioned above) will work an absolute treat and help clear things up. "The best way to clear congestion on the nose is with topical skincare ingredients such as salicylic acid and retinols, used with gentle barrier protection."

Feature image: Getty

Do you struggle with breakouts on your nose? What's your remedy? Share with us in the comment section below.