Dr. Sunil - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Sunil

Is Picking Your Nose Bad For You?



Short answer

Picking your nose can be gross to some and even make others laugh. When it comes to your health, unless done excessively, there isn't much to worry about.



Long answer

Nose picking! Not a topic everyone is comfortable talking about. How unhealthy is it, though? The mucus that is released into our nasal cavity acts as a protective coating from the bacteria and other debris we inhale. Sometimes, however, it is nice to get all of this junk out of the way. Truth is, in the past nose picking was considered bad and even to this day it is ridiculed by society. Ironically, one study found that nearly 90% of people actually pick their nose on a regular basis. The next time you get made fun of for picking your nose, just remember they are more than likely doing it too - just in private.

Medically, there appears to be very few downsides to picking your nose. The nasal tissue is really thin and the mucus, whether runny or dry is a protective coating. Therefore, over picking can lead to nose bleeds. Another potential downside, which is really only seen in habitual nose pickers, is a small infection called vestibulitis due to germs introduced by your finger. Vestibulitis is an infection found directly after the opening of the nostrils. It is usually classified by an area of redness or inflammation and isn't very serious. Small pimples may also arise - known as folliculitis.

Possible short-term side effects

  • embarrassment
  • nose bleed

Possible long-term side effects

  • vestibulitis
  • inflammation
  • small pimples
  • boils (rare)


  • clear out nose

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Written by Kathan Natrajan | 12-28-2015

Written by Kathan Natrajan
Suggest improvement or correction

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