Why does my nose turn red?

Although a red nose may look jolly on Santa Claus, the average person doesn't want one. A number of things can cause a red nose, but you can generally counteract it with various treatments or neutralise it with make-up.

Common Causes

Cold temperatures, emotional stress and oversensitive blood vessels can redden your nose, as can wind, spicy food, skin disorders, alcohol consumption and exercise. Over-washing your skin may also cause a red nose as can irritation of the nasal skin due to a runny or stuffy nose or allergies.

Medical Causes

Persistent redness of the nose can be a sign of rosacea, which affects about 5 per cent of the population. Rosacea can also affect the forehead, cheeks and chin. Oversensitive blood vessels are another cause of a red nose, particularly in smokers or people with thyroid disorders.


Generally, irritants and other agents cause the blood vessels in the nose to dilate, bringing blood to the surface and creating a rosy hue.


Treatment depends on the cause. If cold is the culprit, keep your nose covered while outside and warm it with a warm compress when you return inside. If the cause is over-washing, use tepid water and wash very gently. You can combat redness caused by emotional stress with deep breathing and relaxation. Quitting smoking can also help. Your doctor can prescribe medication if the cause is rosacea.


If you can't cure the redness and need to hide it, cover it with green make-up you can purchase over the counter. The green colour neutralises the redness in the skin.