Nasal vestibulitis

Last updated:

Reviewed by:

Dr Bryony Henderson

, Lead GP at Livi

Medically reviewed

Nasal vestibulitis is inflammation of the area just inside the nostril. Learn the symptoms of nasal vestibulitis and how it can be treated.

What is nasal vestibulitis?

Nasal vestibulitis is inflammation of your nasal vestibule, which is the area where nose hairs grow, just inside of your nostril. The inflammation causes swelling and pain as your body tries to heal itself or fight an infection. 

What are the symptoms of nasal vestibulitis?

Symptoms of nasal vestibulitis are centred around the inside of the nose, and they can be unpleasant. Symptoms include:

  • Pain

  • Redness

  • Swelling

  • A spot may be present

  • Scabs in the area

  • A yellow crust around the nose

  • Nose bleeds

Less commonly, you may also feel unwell or have a fever. You don’t need to have all of these symptoms to have nasal vestibulitis.

How common is nasal vestibulitis?

Mild nasal vestibulitis is very common. You are more likely to have nasal vestibulitis if:

  • You have diabetes

  • You have a weakened immune system

  • You are taking targeted anti-cancer drugs

What causes nasal vestibulitis?

When nasal vestibulitis is caused by infection, it’s usually Staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria that lives on our skin. Minor trauma to the skin within our noses allows the bacteria to enter. This is often caused by:

  • Picking your nose

  • Plucking nose hairs

  • Blowing your nose excessively

  • Using nasal sprays and steroids

  • Getting objects stuck in the nose (this is common in young children)

Rarely, nasal vestibulitis can be caused by skin cancer. If this is the case, your symptoms may not clear up with treatment or you may have nasal vestibulitis symptoms more frequently. See a doctor if this applies to you as they may need to send you to a specialist for more tests.

How is nasal vestibulitis diagnosed?

Nasal vestibulitis is diagnosed clinically, which means no special tests are needed. A doctor will ask about your symptoms and look at the nostril area.

How to treat nasal vestibulitis

You can see a doctor who can prescribe an antibiotic cream to rub onto the affected area. In more severe cases of nasal vestibulitis, a doctor may prescribe you oral antibiotics. They may also recommend some nasal washes to clean the area.

To treat nasal vestibulitis at home, you can put a clean flannel soaked in hot water on the area 2 to 3 times a day for 15 to 20 minutes. This can help relieve pressure from any spots or boils.

Nasal vestibulitis in children

Children pick and blow their noses more frequently so nasal vestibulitis is slightly more common.

In children, nasal vestibulitis can be caused by them having objects stuck up their nose. If you suspect your child has put something in their nose do not try to hook it out as you risk pushing the object further in – instead, see a doctor.  

When should I seek help?

Reassuringly, nasal vestibulitis is rarely complicated and will clear up on its own or with simple treatments from a GP.

If you are experiencing the following symptoms in addition, you should visit A&E:

  • Pain deep in your face, feeling unwell and a fever

  • A severe headache that starts suddenly

Last updated:
Reviewed by:
Dr Bryony Henderson, Lead GP at Livi