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What Causes A Red Spot On The Nose & How To Deal With It?

A red spot on the nose can be cosmetically very frustrating especially in females. There can be numerous reasons as to why a person gets a red spot on the nose and most of them are quite benign and not a cause for any concern. They generally resolve spontaneously without requiring any treatments. However, in rare instances these spots can be caused by a more serious condition like skin cancer. In some cases, a red spot on the nose is a sign of an underlying medical condition.[2]

If one goes through the statistics about red spots on the nose, it is observed that aside from these spots around 15% of people also experience pain around the nasal area and around 10% have swelling around the area of the spot. There are 5% of people who also complain about nasal congestion aside from red spots on the nose.[1]

If there is a bump on the nose, 50% of the cases are diagnosed as a pimple and remaining as a boil. The duration of the spot is for less than one week in about 35% of people and 36% for more than a month before it resolves.[1] Read below to know more about the causes and treatment options for red spot on the nose.

What Causes A Red Spot On The Nose?

What Causes A Red Spot On The Nose?

The primary causes for red spot on the nose include the following:

  1. Acne: The nose has plenty of glands that produce natural oils in the body. Since nose is the most exposed part of the body, it is not uncommon for these glands to get clogged up with bacteria and other debris. This is what cause blemishes or spots on the nose. Sometimes, these spots caused by acne have a center filled with pus and mild swelling around the affected area.[2]
  2. Freckles: These are small spots that are caused as a result of excess melanin in the body. There are many people who are born with freckles but most of them get it due to prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. These spots are small to become with but increase in size with continuous exposure to sunlight.[2]
  3. Skin Cancer: This is rare but is definitely a cause for red spots on the nose. There are various forms of skin cancers as described below which all can cause red spots on the nose. These forms include:[2]
  • Melanoma: This is by far the most serious type of cancer that affects the skin. They are generally black or brown but they also cause red spots on the skin including the nose. They normally resemble a mole but gradually increase in size and shape with time and worsen.[2]
  • Basal Cell Carcinoma: This type of cancer is more common in the face. They present themselves in the form of red spots, patches, or bumps that have a tendency to itch. These spots do not go away with time and resemble a sore.[2]
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma: This type of cancer is exclusively seen on the areas exposed to the sun like the face and nose. The characteristic features of this condition are rough scaly patches of skin that at times become crusty and may even bleed.[2]

An individual who believes that he or she may be having symptoms similar to the above should consult with a skin doctor at the earliest for a diagnosis and treatment.

Spider Angioma: This is one of the most common causes for red spot on the nose. The spot and lesion seen with Spider Angioma as the name suggests resemble the shape of a spider. They are mostly seen in the nose and cheek. In many cases they are a sign of an underlying medical condition like rheumatoid arthritis, cirrhosis, and hyperthyroidism. Pregnant females are most at risk for getting Spider Angiomas even without any underlying condition.[2]

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: Also called as lupus, this is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system of the body mistakenly attacks the healthy cells of the body. This condition does not have a cure and treatment is aimed at controlling the symptoms. Studies estimate that more than half of the people with SLE tend to develop skin condition in the form of a rash at the bridge of the nose and cheek which looks like a butterfly. This rash worsens when exposed to direct sunlight.[2]

Rosacea: This is yet another common cause of a red spot on the nose. It is a medical condition that causes red spots and irregular bumps to develop on nose and cheeks. Some forms of Rosacea also cause rashes that are similar to that of acne. People with Rosacea will look as if they are continuously blushing as their cheeks are always red. The American Academy of Dermatology estimates that approximately 14 million people are affected by Rosacea.[2]

Actinic Keratosis: This is a condition caused due to excessive exposure to the UV rays of the sun. The characteristic features of this condition are small spots or patches of skin that are red or pink in color. It is generally considered to be a precancerous state with approximately 10% of cases of actinic keratosis going on to become skin cancers.[2]

How To Deal With Red Spot On The Nose?

Now that we know the cause of red spots on the nose, we delve further into the treatments for it. It is the underlying cause that determines the treatment for red spots on the nose.

Acne: For this condition, there are a variety of OTC and prescription medicines available to clear the spots and also prevent recurrence. Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid is the best treatment for dealing with acne.[2]

Freckles/Moles: They generally do not require any specific treatment. Just avoiding excessive exposure to direct sunlight is good enough to deal with them. It is also advised to apply sunscreen when venturing out, especially in hot and humid weather.[2]

Skin Cancer: The treatment depends on the extent severity of the disease. Usually, the affected area is removed surgically. There are also topical medications that can be prescribed that destroy the cancer cells and improve the appearance of the affected area.[2]

Spider Angioma: The treatment for this condition also depends on the underlying cause. Once that is treated then in most cases Spider Angioma resolves and the red spot goes away. This is best done by pulsed laser treatment that destroys the blood vessels that give the spots on the nose a red color.[2]

Rosacea: Antibiotics are the best way to treat Rosacea. It is also important to avoid triggers of rosacea lie hot and spicy foods.

In conclusion, a red spot on the nose in most cases is caused by benign conditions but in rare instances it is also caused by something more serious like skin cancer.

Conditions like moles and freckles do not require any treatment. However, if an individual has a red spot on the nose that does not heal on its own or is recurrent in nature then it is best to consult with a physician to rule out something more serious.[1,2]

Additionally, red spot on the nose that goes on to become blisters or lesions and start to bleed then also it is recommended to contact a physician for a diagnosis and treatment. If required, a biopsy may be needed to rule out more serious etiologies for red spot on the nose. In most cases, there is nothing to worry about if a person has a red spot on the nose as it heals away spontaneously.[2]


Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:February 11, 2022

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