I never actually realized I was putting my health at risk by plucking my nose hairs. The extent of the risk I thought I was incurring is it was that it hurt and it would make me sneeze like crazy. I figured it was the most effective way of nose hair removal, so it was worth the pain. What I didn’t know, was that I was opening myself up to serious infection. I’ll get into the details about how risky it is to pluck your nose hairs in a minute. For now, I’ll simply explain that this article is about the various ways you can groom your nose hair safely, effectively and painlessly. I know what you’re thinking. Do I really need to learn about the proper way of nose hair removal? Well, considering there are people that get quite sick from removing nose hair the wrong way, then the answer is yes. Read on for our guide on removing nose hair without putting your health at risk.
Why it’s dangerous to pluck your nose hair
First things first. Nose hair might not look very attractive, but it plays an important role in keeping us healthy. It acts as a filter for all kinds of toxins to prevent the bad stuff from getting into our bodies. That is why we breathe through our nose since the mouth doesn’t have such a barrier. When we pluck out nose hair, we are taking away that essential filter. Much more importantly and a higher risk to our health is that we are inviting an infection when we use tweezers or fingers to pull out nose hair. The way our nose is engineered is that there are a lot of blood vessels very close to the surface of the inside of our nose. Those vessels send blood directly into the brain in some cases. When we pull out a hair by the root, in a very wet and bacteria-laden environment as you find in your nose, an infection there could lead directly to the brain. So the question of how to trim nose hair becomes more important than you probably though. Yes, this is a long shot and very rare. I dug around a little bit and couldn’t find any reports of people dying from plucking their nose hair. Which shouldn’t matter. I, personally, don’t want to be the first reported case of death by plucking, so I have stopped pulling out my nasal hair. There are many other easy and effective ways of how to trim nose hair.
Worst case scenario | What happens if you get an infection in your nose
Just to illustrate that you should take the idea of safely removing your nose hair seriously, here is a scenario of what could happen. If you decide to pluck your nose hairs, then this is like one of those videos you used to have to watch during Driver’s Ed classes showing fatal highway crashes.
Think of this as a friendly, though slightly scary PSA!
Your nasal membrane is a very moist place with lots of bacteria thriving in that environment.
Unbelievable, the staphylococcus bacteria, aka staph is among them and very common inside your nose.
It doesn’t do much damage while it sits on the surface of your nasal passages as it isn’t yet an infection. It gets dangerous when the membrane gets damaged.
In other words if you pluck the nose hair and then damage the wall of your nasal passage, you have now opened the door to staph to do some real damage.
How do you know when you have an infection in your nose?
Here are a few signs to look out for.
- Painful swelling – If you feel some pain inside your nose when you blow it or press on your nostril then this is a sure sign that you have an infection. It might not be staph and might go away on its own, but you surely have an infection based on this. This could be something as simple as an ingrown hair in which case you can treat it with an ointment or essential oil to kill the bacteria.
- Bleeding with puss – Now we have a situation on our hands. If your swelling and discomfort has graduated into full on lesion with bleeding and possible discharge of puss, you need to take control. This is an infection that is going to start giving you problems.
- Fever – If you have progressed from the first two symptoms into one where you include a high grade fever, then you are getting sick. You likely have a staph infection and will need professional help at this point.
The only way to know if this is a staph infection or some other type is to have a test done by your doctor. At this point they will likely give you some antibiotics to take, but if it comes back as MRSA the treatment will be totally different. Now, for the record, I personally know somebody who had this happen. It’s unclear if his infection was caused by plucking or something out of his control, but he got MRSA from an infection in his nose and he was really sick for a while.
What happens if you don’t treat it?
This is where things get tricky.
If you haven’t gone to the doctor at the point where you had lesions and some discharge, then there is no way to know what kind of bacteria lead to the infection. Will it just go away on its own?
The reason to not take that chance is that your nasal passage is like an express lane to your brain. If you leave an infection to fester there you can open yourself up to something life threatening. That may sound hyperbolic, but it is true.
A rare but possible complication is cavernous sinus thrombosis. This is when your infection travels deep inside the nasal passage and deposits a blood clot on the base of your brain. What happens then? Do I need to go into details. It’s not good! That’s all you need to know.
Sepsis is also another rare possibility but does happen when your body is getting racked with an infection that got left untreated.
The last sections are very unlikely to happen but are real possibilities. What is more likely to happen is you get a very painful ingrown hair or cyst inside your nose that can be painful and embarrassing. Either way it is not worth it to pluck or wax your nose hairs. Read on to find the ways I recommend that you safely and easily deal with your excess nose hair. Unless of course you opt to embrace it with extensions.
Here’s our list on how to trim nose hair
Using a nose hair trimmer
The easiest way to trim your nose hairs is to use a nose hair trimmer. They are cheap, easy to use and do a great job at getting rid of those long, wiry hairs. They don’t usually get the hair right down to the skin, and that is actually a good thing. It is helpful to leave a bit of stubble in the nostrils so the hair can do the job they were meant to do. Which is filtering out pathogens like fungus, bacteria and germs. As the hair grows longer it is much more effective at this job so it helps to only start trimming when the hair becomes unsightly. Don’t try to remove all of the hair. Focus on the long ones that are visible by others so you still leave some beneficial ones in there. Typically, you really will only need to trim your nose with trimmers once or twice a month. In some cases, for those with especially thick nostril hair, you may end up trimming once a week. There are different kinds of nose hair trimmers, namely rotary and foil guard. They can be battery operated, rechargeable or manual. For a list of the best nose hair trimmers, check out our review here. There is no trick to using them. Just use a mirror to see what you are doing and put the business end inside your nose. Move it around to get all the hairs. Don’t push it in too deep as you are only trying to cut the visible hairs off. That’s it. A few minutes per month and your nose looks presentable again.
Using nose hair scissors
If you have particularly sensitive skin inside your nose, then you may want to use a nasal hair trimming scissor. For some, just the sensation of an electric trimmer inside the nose can send them off into a sneezing frenzy. Or the skin just feels like it is rubbed raw. This isn’t the fault of the trimmer usually, it’s just how some of us are built. The best way to beat that is with these special scissors with a rounded tip. They work well in getting the most visible hairs without cutting the skin or even rubbing against the inside of your nasal membrane. To use them, set yourself up in a well-lit area with a mirror and make sure the scissors are clean. Carefully, insert the scissor tips inside the nose. Even though they are built to be safe, you still need a gentle touch and to work slowly to avoid cutting yourself. Just snip the hair as close to the skin as you feel comfortable. You really only want to cut the long hairs that are closest to the opening of your nostril. Leave the hairs deep inside that nobody can see unless they are right under your nose and using a flashlight. You need those hairs there as I already mentioned. When you feel like you have gotten all the long ones, then lift the end of your nose and have a good look around to make sure there aren’t any that will end up growing out in the next few days. That’s it, you’re done. Now just wipe your scissors down with a cotton swab dabbed in isopropyl alcohol to kill any bacteria they might have picked up.
Nose Hair Waxing
Is waxing your nose hairs safe? Well, it is safer than plucking, since it more gently removes the hair. Since it is taking the hair out from the shaft, it does carry some infection risks. There are products that can do this at home, but if you are wary of doing it yourself, then you can go to a salon and have a professional do it. For those looking to wax their nose hair at home, then just follow a few guidelines. Make sure you use a product with clear instructions and follow them closely. Always use an antibacterial wipe to disinfect the inside of your nose after. To minimize an damage to the membrane, then try to not rip the wax out too forcefully. You need to do it quickly to do it effectively, but you don’t need to rip it out. Just a solid yank and the hairs will come out. There may be some pain or sensitivity, but generally speaking, it is far less painful than plucking. Generally, expect this method to last about a month to five weeks before you need to do it again.
Removing Nose Hair with Lasers
Though there are several at home laser machines for nose hair removal, I recommend going to a professional for your nose hair removal. Once again, I remind you that the membrane in your nostril is very thin and sensitive and it isn’t worth it to risk doing permanent damage to your nasal passage just for the sake of removing nose hair. Leave this one to the cosmetologist and play it safe. This is as close to permanent nose hair removal as you can get, when it is done right. It may take a few sessions, but the lasers should keep the hair from growing back for up to six months, and some may never grow back at all. The procedure is made safer by using the laser from the exterior of the nose to minimize any damage to the membrane.
Nose hair removing treatments to avoid
If you want to stay safe only do the procedures that I outlined in this article. You may read about some other methods, but these should be avoided. The two most dangerous ways of nose hair removal are by plucking and depilatory creams. The first I already covered so no need to revisit that. But, let me take a moment to implore you to not be tempted to use something like Nair or other hair removal creams in your nose. You take some serious risks of doing permanent damage to your nasal passage with that method of nose hair removal. Remember, that skin is very thin and there is an almost 100% guarantee of a chemical burn in your nose. It may go away eventually, after a lot of pain and discomfort, or it may need to be medically treated. With all the easier ways to remove your nose hair, it just doesn’t make sense to risk it.
FAQ about how to remove nose hair
Q: Is there a permanent way to remove nose hair?
A: The only potential way to permanently remove nasal hair is to do laser nose hair removal treatments. Some hair may grow back but most will not. Consult a licensed dermatologist to find out if this method of removing nose hair is right for you.
Q: What to do if I get an ingrown hair in my nose?
A: Ingrown hairs can happen inside your nose, too. To get rid of an ingrown hair in your nostril is a bit tricky. Before you attempt to get rid of one, leave it alone for a while. It may actually grow out on its own. If it doesn’t go away, try using an antibiotic ointment like bacitracin by applying some on a cotton swab and rubbing it over the ingrown hair. If you can see the hair by using a mirror, and feel comfortable doing this, heat the tip of a needle with a lighter and then use it to pierce the blemish. Use a cotton swab to clean it up and then wipe with an antibacterial wipe to disinfect it. The best thing is to see a dermatologist to safely take care of it.
Q: How do I know if I have a nose hair infection from plucking?
A: There are a few symptoms that will alert you to the fact that you have an infection called nasal vestibulitis from plucking for nose hair removal. The symptoms include:
- Redness or swelling of your nostril, inside and out
- Pimples or bumps inside your nose
- Pain and irritation of the nose, especially when you touch it
- Crustiness inside your nose
- Painful boils inside your nose
If you have any of these symptoms then you need to take action as it is a staph infection. Mild cases when the symptoms first appear can be treated with antibiotic creams like bacitracin. It should go away in a few days, but you should continue using it for around 10 days to make sure it is totally gone. If it seems to be getting worse or is not going away then you need to see a doctor. If you have a high fever in addition to those other symptoms then get to a doctor right away.
Final Thoughts on Removing Nose Hair Safely
I hope this guide on nose hair removal didn’t frighten you off! If you feel intimidated about trimming your nasal hairs, then just remember to keep it simple. Try any of these methods and go about your life. You don’t need to feel any stress or anxiety about grooming your nose hairs, and you definitely don’t want them growing out of your nose for fear of causing infections. My only point was to make you aware that there were safe and unsafe ways to take care of the problem. If you have any questions or want to share a story about nose hair removal gone wrong, then drop a line in the comment box below as I would love to hear about it!