Is it OK to squeeze nose pores?

Nose pores, also known as nasal pores, are small openings in the skin on the nose. These pores are connected to sebaceous glands that produce an oil called sebum. The sebum lubricates and protects the skin. However, excess sebum, dead skin cells and other debris can clog pores and lead to blackheads and pimples. This often prompts people to want to squeeze their nose pores to unclog them. But is this advisable?

Quick Answers

Squeezing nose pores can potentially cause more harm than good. Here are some quick answers on the key questions around squeezing nose pores:

  • Can squeezing unclog nose pores? Yes, squeezing can expel some of the contents of a clogged pore. However, it likely won’t remove all the debris trapped deep inside.
  • Is squeezing nose pores bad? Squeezing can damage pores leading to enlarged pores, redness, inflammation, infection and scarring. It can also push debris deeper into the pore causing more clogs.
  • Does squeezing nose pores cause acne? Yes, squeezing can spread bacteria leading to more breakouts. And damaging pores through squeezing can also contribute to acne.
  • Can squeezing permanently enlarge pores? Excessive squeezing can permanently stretch pores. The trauma leads to loss of elasticity.
  • What is the best way to unclog nose pores? Use oil cleansing and exfoliating acids to dissolve debris in clogged pores. Clay masks can also help draw out impurities.

Can Squeezing Unclog Pores?

Squeezing does have the potential to clear some debris out of clogged nose pores. By applying pressure, you can essentially push out some of the contents of the pore like oil, dead skin cells and dirt. Sebum, in particular, gets liquified with the pressure and comes out of the pore. So in this sense, squeezing can temporarily unclog pores by expelling some of the blockages.

However, squeezing likely does not remove all the congestion deep inside the pore. The contents get compacted and can be difficult to fully extract with squeezing alone. Dermatologists warn that squeezing simply cannot extract all that is trapped way down in the follicle. So while it may look like the squeeze empties the pore, there is probably still residual debris caught in there.

Limitations of Squeezing for Unclogging

There are several limitations to relying on squeezing to unclog congested nose pores:

  • Doesn’t fully empty pores – Material trapped deep inside pores cannot be fully expelled by squeezing.
  • Pushes debris deeper – Squeezing can accidentally push contents further into the pore, causing more impaction.
  • Damages pores – Excessive pressure can expand pores, leading to more debris entering.
  • Causes bleeding – Squeezing too hard can rupture capillaries around pores.
  • Spreads bacteria – Can introduce more bacteria into pores leading to infection.

Overall, while a light squeeze may lift some surface-level debris, the limitation is that squeezing cannot deeply clean out the follicle. And excessive squeezing can even backfire and worsen clogs.

Is Squeezing Nose Pores Bad?

Yes, dermatologists caution that squeezing or picking at nose pores can definitely be bad for your skin. Here’s an overview of the potential adverse effects:

1. Enlarged Pores

All the pinching and pressing can permanently stretch out the pore. This leads to enlarged pores on the nose. Once a pore has been dilated, it does not regain its original tautness. The pores remain opened up and appear larger.

2. Scarring

Repeated trauma to the skin through excessive squeezing can trigger scar formation. This can take the form of depressed scars or raised, firm keloid scars around the nose. Scarring can be disfiguring and difficult to treat.

3. Redness and Inflammation

The skin around squeezed pores often becomes red and swollen. This inflammation is the body’s protective response to injury. While it normally subsides within a few days, chronic squeezing leads to perpetual irritation and inflammation.

4. Infection

All the picking and prodding can introduce bacteria deep into the pore. This breeds infection leading to pimples or pustules around the nose. Infections can be painful and difficult to treat.

5. Bleeding

Aggressive squeezing can rupture tiny blood vessels around the pore. This causes bleeding that appears as dots of blood on the nose. While it resolves quickly, it is a sign of skin damage.

6. Hyperpigmentation

In those with darker skin tones, trauma from squeezing can induce brown or red marks called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. These discolorations often hang around for months.

7. Deeper Clogs

Ironically, squeezing can sometimes worsen clogs by pushing the debris further into the pore. This compacts the material deeper into the follicle leading to more stubborn impactions.

Does Squeezing Nose Pores Cause Acne?

Yes, there are a few ways that squeezing nose pores can contribute to acne:

  • Spreading bacteria – Excessive pressure can force bacteria deeper into the skin, causing more breakouts.
  • Enlarging pores – Stretched pores allow more oil and debris to enter, blocking pores.
  • Irritation – Squeezing leads to inflammation, which exacerbates acne.
  • Creating wounds – Damaged skin is more prone to blemishes and scarring.

Dermatologists point out that the nose is part of something called the “acne triangle” – the chin, nose and forehead. This is because the sebaceous glands in these areas are very active. Aggressive squeezing provides an easy route for bacteria to penetrate and infect pores leading to papules, pustules and nodules.

Those with acne-prone skin are at higher risk for breakouts from squeezing. The inflicted trauma promotes more clogged pores and pimples. So it can become a vicious cycle.

Precautions for Those with Acne

People with acne should take extra care when dealing with clogged nose pores by:

  • Avoiding excessive squeezing
  • Gently extracting only surface-level blackheads
  • Always washing hands before touching nose pores
  • Using antibacterial gel after any extraction
  • Keeping extraction tools clean to prevent reinfection

With some caution, those with acne can carefully extract some clogs without inflaming breakouts. But aggressive squeezing should always be avoided.

Can Squeezing Permanently Enlarge Pores?

Yes, dermatologists warn that excessive squeezing of nose pores can permanently stretch them out. That’s because the trauma inflicted by repeated squeezing damages the elasticity of the pore.

The lining of pores contains elastin fibers that allow them to flex. But constant pressure overstrains these fibers. The pore opening then loses its ability to retract back to its original size.

This effect is compounded over time with ongoing squeezing. The pores get wider and wider. And the damaged elastic fibers cannot recover once over-extended. The end result is permanently enlarged, gaping pores.

Preventing Pore Stretching

To avoid stretching pores when dealing with congestion you should:

  • Avoid picking and pinching
  • Use gentle, circular motions instead of squeezing
  • Apply warm compresses to soften blockages
  • Use oil cleansing and masks to dissolve debris
  • See a dermatologist for professional extractions if needed

With a careful approach, you can clear clogs without putting excessive pressure on the pore lining. This maintains the elasticity so pores stay their normal size.

What Is the Best Way to Unclog Nose Pores?

While squeezing seems tempting, it is not the optimal way to deal with congested nose pores. Dermatologists recommend these safer, more effective alternatives:

Oil Cleansing

Massaging with oils derived from jojoba, almond or olive oil can help dissolve waxy, sticky sebum in clogged pores. The oil solubilizes debris so it flows out of pores without picking.

Exfoliating Acids

Alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic acid and lactic acid work by chemically exfoliating the pore lining. This loosens up debris so it detaches and releases from the follicle.


Prescription retinoids promote skin cell turnover and normalize oil production. This can help clear buildup in congested pores and prevent new clogs.

Clay Masks

Clays like bentonite have absorbent properties that draw out impurities from the skin. Applying a clay mask can extract debris from clogged facial pores.

Professional Extractions

Dermatologists have tools to safely lance and extract hardened blackheads. This is done under sterile conditions to minimize damage and prevent scarring.

Consistency is key with any pore clearing method. With regular use of these techniques, you can keep pores clear without subjecting them to trauma from squeezing.


Squeezing provides temporary relief from congested nose pores by expelling some surface-level debris. However, it likely does not remove all the compacted gunk deep inside. Excessive squeezing can also lead to enlarged pores, scarring, redness and even infection. And aggressive picking can make acne worse by spreading bacteria.

Dermatologists recommend avoiding squeezing whenever possible. For the safest and most effective way to keep nose pores clear, use gentle cleansing, exfoliating acids, retinoids, clay masks and professional extractions. With a diligent routine, you can maintain clean, healthy-looking pores without damaging delicate facial skin.

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