Sores in Nose That Won’t Heal, Are Painful, White or Bloody

Nasal sores are lesions or ulcers that form inside the nose lining. Yellow, green or white sores inside the nose are caused by dry air in the winter, lupus, allergies, cold, some STDs, sinus infections etc.

When disturbed, they can be painful, won’t heal and can be bloody because they will remain open for a long time.

The nose lining is moist and delicate. Trauma, bacterial infections and some allergies can irritate it. This makes it to form small sores that become a source of discomfort. Sores in nose are small wounds that either scab over or remain open. Open sores may bleed often, leaving your nose bloody.

Sores under nose pictures

Sores under or inside the nose may start like small pimples or blisters. After Some time, they rapture and form small scabs. If you start to pick the itchy scabs in your nose, you will end up with bloody sores. Here are pictures.

White sores in nose
White patches inside nose


Why do I get small wounds in my nose? Inflammation of your nasal lining can make you feel uncomfortable. The redness turns into nasal blisters.

Some bacterial infections such as staph or MRSA, viruses such as the herpes simplex virus (HSV) can cause nasal sores that won’t heal or keep coming back.

Other than these infections, some diseases such as lupus, diabetes, impetigo, HIV, herpes and Crohn’s disease (CD) can also manifest their symptoms as lesions and blisters in the nose. In detail, here are the causes.

1. Cold sores from herpes

Cold sore symptoms

Cold sores inside the nose form as a cluster of blisters that undergo all the stages of cold sores. They appear as a cluster of small papules that become fluid filled. They rapture after a day or two of infection with the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) and the appearance of pimple like growths in the nose.

  • Fever blisters in nose are itchy and can be painful.
  • According to Mayo Clinic, Cold sores can occur around the nose too. “The small blisters may merge and then burst, leaving shallow open sores that will ooze fluid and then crust over.

Treatments and remedies for cold sores inside nose include applying petroleum jelly and eating foods with lysine to make the sores heal faster.

2. Dry air during winter

An extremely dry nose is caused by inhaling dry air. During winter, the air has very little moisture. When the nasal lining lacks moisture it dries and cracks up. The cracks form small areas of dry cracked nasal lining or membrane with blood. These become small patches of lesions.

According to the WebMD: “Cold, dry air pulls moisture from your mouth and nose, leaving your nasal passages dried out and your throat dry. Dry nostrils are more likely to crack and give you a nosebleed.” A dry and itchy throat may also result.

If you suffer from scabbing and dry sores in nose during winter, use a humidifier at home. This will help hydrate your sinus lining to prevent scabs and bloody sores in your nose during winter.

3. Allergies

Allergies can cause the inflammation and irritation of the mucous membrane in the nose. The most common allergens include aerosol sprays, pollen, and nasal sprays. Some chemical fumes, nose piercing jewelry and even tissue papers can cause an allergic reaction in your nose.

Chronic rhinitis, whether allergic or non-allergic can cause large sores in the nostril. Atrophic rhinitis manifests symptoms such as drying sores and scabs in the nose. Your nasal secretions may also smell bad, leading to a bad smell in the nose.

Symptoms of allergic reaction include itchy sores in nose or nasal itching, rash on nose redness and general redness around the nose. If you have small bumps in your nose from allergies, avoid most of these irritants to reduce the inflammation.

4. Nose picking

Do you have nasal sores that won’t go away or won’t heal easily? The main cause of stubborn recurring scabs, blisters and lesions is nose picking. Nose picking is “the act of extracting nasal mucus with one’s finger (rhinotillexis) and may include the succeeding action of ingesting the mucus picked from the nose (mucophagy).” []

  • Picking the nose as a habit causes occasional nosebleeds from a broken septum.
  • It also causes trauma to the nasal lining. Breaking this membrane leads to small wounds and sores to form inside the nose.
  • Another danger of picking your nose is increased chances of infections, including herpes cold sores, flu or common cold, and even some bacterial infections.
  • Nose mining, according to Baby Center, is one of the major cause of nasal sores in babies.

Sores that won’t go away or heal are due to the repetitive nature of compulsive nose picking. It is possible to stop picking your nose with medical help and guidance.

5. Nose lining sores from blowing nose

It is also possible to get a sore nose from blowing too hard. “According to recent study conducted at the University of Virginia, cited in The Wall Street Journal, when you blow your nose your generate 10 times more pressure than you do while coughing or sneezing.” – []

Too much sinus pressure from blowing your nose too hard leads to raptured or broken blood vessels. When they blead, they cause nose sores to form and scab over after some time.

  • Blow your nose gently to get rid of the excess phlegm during a cold or flu.
  • Blowing gently will also reduce the chances of a sinus infection and painful sores in nose.

6. Bacterial infection, staph or sinus infection

Yellow, green or white sores in nose can be a sign of bacterial infection in the nose. Staph, or staphylococcus bacteria is common in the nose and can cause lesions, sores and small boils or wounds on the nasal lining.

The bacterium Staphylococcus aureus is often found on the skin and in the noses of healthy people…” and approximately “25 to 30 percent of the population has staph bacteria in the nose.” However, only a few of these people will have symptoms of a Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) staph infection in the nose. []

A sinus infection can come with a decreased sense of smell, bad smell in nose and blistering or lesions inside the nose. Other symptoms of bacterial infection in the nose include pimples, boils, impetigo, carbuncles, abscesses, and cellulitis.

7. Sores inside nose after sinus surgery or rhinoplasty

Sores after rhinoplasty, septoplasty, and sinus surgery are common due to the healing process of the wound. Formation of sores, scabs, and crusts in the nose is a after a nose job or plastic surgery on the nose. The use of nasal splints in septoplasty and rhinoplasty cause swelling and soreness.

An antibiotic ointment, Vaseline or saline rinses can help get rid of the sores fast. However, if the sores are severe, you should see a surgeon or your ENT doctor for proper treatment and removal of the sores and scabs.

8. Nose sores lupus

Lupus is an autoimmune disease. It can affect just about any part of the body, from the skin to organs inside the body. According to Healthline Networks, patients of lupus experience flare-ups as part of the symptoms. When the flare-ups occur in the nose, you get sores in your nose.

Dr. Gilkeson notes that the distinguishing symptom of lupus sores is painless sores in nose and mouth. The blisters and lesions from lupus develop on the roof of the mouth and inside the nose. “Lupus ulcers are usually painless and signs of inflammation will show up in the biopsy.” – []

  • Discoid lupus causes raised sores on the nose lining. The lesions are likely to break down the lining of your nose and form ulcers that bleed.
  • Both cutaneous lupus and systemic lupus cause mucosal ulcerations in the nose and roof of the mouth.

Nasal sores caused by lupus can be treated using Vaseline. A steroid spray or paste can also be applied in cases of severe blisters and ulcers in the nose.

9. Sore nose after quitting smoking

Sores in mouth and nasal ulcers are common withdrawal symptoms of smoking. This symptom is accompanied by sore throats, sneezing, and coughing.

Quitting smoking leads to “the loss of antibacterial properties of smoking…,” making it easy for the mucous membrane in the mouth and nose to suffer mouth and nasal ulcers. Cold symptoms such as sore throat, sneezing and coughing are as a result of “loss of natural antibodies in the saliva” when someone quits smoking. [Source – Feb 2003 issue of Tobacco Control].

10. Oxygen tubes

Nasal blisters that hurt may be a result of oxygen tube trauma. Also, inhaling the oxygen can lead to dry nasal passages and cause cracked capillaries. Without hydration, the surface of your nasal lining can easily form a painful sore in the nose.

  • If you keep getting lesions and ulcers in your nose from home oxygen, try putting the cannula in the mouth for a few hours twice a day. This will allow your nose to rest and heal if it already has some wounds.
  • You should also use a moisturizing application over the counter to help heal your bruised and dry nose. A water-based lubricant such as K-Y jelly can help add moisture to your nasal lining and prevent sores and blisters.

Caution: Do not use Vaseline or any kind of petroleum jelly to keep your nose from getting sore. Avoid oil-based products.

11. Diabetes, celiac disease and impetigo

Celiac disease, diabetes, and impetigo can also show symptoms such as white sores in mouth, nose and tongue. Gluten intolerance can also produce similar symptoms, but it an allergy and not an autoimmune disease.

Diabetic neuropathy can also cause sores that look like burn blisters on the skin. “If you have diabetes, you have an increased chance of developing foot sores, or ulcers, also called diabetic ulcers.” [Source – The National Health Service]. These sores, when severe, can manifest in the mouth, nose, and even lips. People with diabetes are highly prone to developing wounds that won’t heal easily.

Impetigo is a bacterial infection of the skin. It causes symptoms such as crusts and sores in nose. It is highly contagious and can form sores that break into open wounds and ooze fluid. They may form yellow crusts afterward.

Most children get impetigo contagiosa after suffering allergies or a cold that make the skin raw. “This type of impetigo usually begins with red sores around the nose and mouth.” []

12. Snorting coke and vaping

Drug abuse such as snorting coke and vaping can cause nasal irritation. Small blisters arise in your nose due to septum perforation after vaping. Continued use of coke can lead to painful sores and scabs in the nose.

The sores are caused by limited supply of blood to the nasal mucous membrane. The membrane dies and leaves holes that form sores and scabs. The septum can also collapse as a result of holes that develop in it.

13. Nasal polyps

The nose can also become sore due to pressure from polyps
The nose can also become sore due to pressure from polyps

Nasal polyps occur as small swellings on the lining of the nose. Since they are inflamed, they make the nose feel sore and painful. Normally, these polyps do not show any symptoms, especially when they are small.

However, when nasal polyps grow large enough or grow in clusters, they can cause pain, soreness, and facial pressure.

14. Nose sores after a cold

During a cold, a runny and stuffy nose is a common problem. Sores up the nose after a cold are caused by too much blowing of the nose. Clearing the nose with a rough fabric can also lead to a painful, sore nose.

Other causes of sores under nose include thyroid problems and diseases, chemotherapy radiation and Crohn’s disease (CD). Canker sores on the roof of the mouth can also spread into the back of the throat and into the nose.

Viral infections such as HIV and other STDs can also cause sores around nose and mouth, lips, and roof of the mouth. Candida too, can affect the nasal lining and cause blistering, bumps and pimples to form.

15. Sore in nose from Nasonex

Nasonex is a steroid nasal spray that is used to treat nasal polyps. Some patients are also given Nasonex for the treatment of congestion, runny nose, sneezing and nasal allergies.

Nasonex has its side effects too, including nasal sores, stuffiness, sore or itchy throat, and sore white patches in the nose. “Common side effects of Nasonex include headache, cough, sore throat, muscle or joint pain, nausea, nose and throat dryness or irritation” and sores or white patches inside or around your nose.

Note that sores and patches in the nose can also be caused by vitamin deficiency. Women, during pregnancy and before and after a period can also get small sores around nose due to acne and pimples. These pimples are caused by hormonal changes or imbalance.

White sores with bad smell

White sores from small wounds may start to produce a bad smell or foul odor in your nose. This is mostly when they are large and cause accumulation of phlegm and thick mucus inside the nostril. When scabs form inside the nose they can appear as white sores or patches in the nose.

A bad smell can also emanate from bloody sores inside the nose. Blood clots can start to rot in the nostril. These can also produce discomfort in your nose.

A foul odor can also mean an infected nose septum. If you have a nose piercing, chances are that sores form from its wound. These sores and scabs can also get infected and start to smell bad.


You can get rid of sores in your nose with prescription treatments as well as home remedies. We have discussed natural cures below. Treatments may include over-the-counter medications as well as prescribed medicines. Here’s how to treat nasal sores fast.

1. Anti-bacterial medications

If bacteria such as staph cause your nose to have sores, prescription anti-bacterial treatments can be given. Both topical and non-topical antibacterial treatments can be given by your doctor.

One of the most commonly used topical treatment used to get rid of a sore in the nose is Bacitracin ointment. Other antibacterial treatments include Bactroban, Neosporin, and Polysporin. If you do not see any change, see your doctor.

2. Anti-viral treatment

Cold sores inside the nose and around the nose caused by the herpes simplex virus are treated using anti-viral medications. However, in most cases, it is advised to let the recurrent sore go through the normal stages of a cold sore and heal itself.

Abreva, Famvir, and Valtrex are some of the medications used to speed up the healing process. It is preferred to take both oral and topical antiviral treatments to get rid of cold sores in the nose.

How to get rid of sores in nose naturally

Saline rinses, taking foods rich in lysine and using vitamin C can help get rid of cold sores in nose naturally. Applying Vaseline to sores around nose can also make them heal faster. Here are home remedies for nasal sores.

1. Vaseline petroleum jelly

Vaseline keeps the skin hydrated by locking in moisture. If you have cold sores, you can apply it on the scabs to keep them hydrated. This will prevent them from drying up and cracking or bleeding. Here’s how to use petroleum jelly to heal cold sores around the nose.

  1. Take a clean Q-tip and swab some Vaseline on it.
  2. Gently apply the jelly on the sores if they are inside the nostril.
  3. Allow it to remain and avoid picking at the sores and blisters.

If you do not want to use Vaseline, you can apply a hydrating ointment such as Aquaphor. It will keep the skin moist and prevent cracking or bleeding in your nose. Avoid applying a thick layer of Vaseline inside your nose. It can cause breathing problems.

2. Drink enough water

Soreness in the nose is caused by a dry nose. The cracking nasal lining leads to small wounds to form. Hydrating is one of the best home remedies for a sore, irritated nose. A dry nasal lining has flu-like symptoms and can be painful.

Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. You can also opt for chicken soup or broth and ginger tea. They will help you minimize a dried up septum.

3. Saline nasal rinses

Saline nasal rinses
Saline nasal rinses

Saline rinse can relieve swollen glands in mouth and nose. It can also be used as a home remedy for healing internal or inner nasal sores. It is easy to make at home as it uses warm water and salt. Here’s how to heal nose sores using a saline or salt water rinse.

  1. Add a tablespoon of salt to a cup of warm water.
  2. Stir to mix well.
  3. Use a dropper to suck a small amount of the solution.
  4. Drop the solution into your nostril.
  5. Elevate your head upwards and backward to allow the solution to pass through the openings.
  6. Blow the solution out through the other nose opening.
  7. Repeat for the other nostril.

Saline solutions and rinses will get rid of bacteria in the nasal passages. They are a good way to prevent sores in nose, ulcers, boils and painful cellulitis in your nose.

4. Lysine home remedy for cold sores

Lysine is a protein that occurs naturally in dairy. It can prevent and speed up the healing of cold sores. It works by preventing the growth of the herpes simplex virus that causes cold sores. You can use lysine by applying it topically or orally. When you have a breakout of blisters of cold sores under nose, include the following foods rich in lysine.

  • Vegetables
  • Dairy
  • Beans
  • Fish and
  • Cheese

5. Vitamin C cure for colds

Improving your immune system is the best way to get rid of sores around your nose. Vitamin C has antioxidant properties and may help prevent and stop cold sores in nose faster, especially those that keep coming back or come and go.

Eat lots of citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges, and lime to increase your intake of vitamin C. Fruit juices and supplements can also help improve your immune system as well as reduce inflammation on your skin and nose.

Sources and references

  1. WebMD: Manage Dry Indoor Air This Winter
  2. Andrew Weil, MD: A Staph Infection That Won’t Heal?
  3. Lupus Foundation of America: How does lupus affect the skin?

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