May 3, 2022

Why Nose Hairs Grow So Long

How to handle the thicket of long hairs sprouting from your nose

man with long nose hairs

Something catches your eyes as you glance in the mirror. You lean in for a closer look, and that’s when you see it — a thicket of long nose hairs waving from your nostrils like party streamers.


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Questions immediately fill your head. When did those sprout? How did they get sooooo long? And can air still get through that forest of horrors?

First, relax. Nose hairs are a natural part of life. In fact, the inner surface of your nose has as many hair follicles as the top of your head. They’re in place for an important reason, too, says Michael Benninger, MD, an ear, nose and throat specialist.

So, let’s learn a little more about nose hairs from Dr. Benninger, plus get some tips on taming them.

The purpose of nose hair

Consider nose hairs a natural air filter. “As you breathe through your nostrils, the hair in your nose blocks and collects dust, pollen and other particles that could make their way to your lungs,” explains Dr. Benninger.

A thin layer of mucus coats nose hair, which helps those particles stick to the hair. These tiny bits of airborne debris eventually end up in the mucous blanket on the inner wall of your nasal passages.


From there, the trapped particles either get swallowed or blown out into a tissue or through a sneeze.

“Your nose hairs really do get the job done,” says Dr. Benninger.

Studies show that more nose hair can be a good thing, too. Researchers found that a dense layer of nose hair can actually decrease your risk of developing asthma in conjunction with hay fever (allergic rhinitis).

Why does nose hair grow so long?

Aging brings lots of interesting bodily developments — and that includes changes to your nose hair, notes Dr. Benninger.

Nose hairs naturally get longer and thicker as you get older. It’s part of a process called anagen sensitivity, or basically, long-term exposure to hormones in your body. (The same phenomena can fuel troll-doll hair in your ears and on your eyebrows.)


How to get rid of nose hair

Invest in some nose hair trimmers if you want to address a sudden bushiness in your schnoz. These may be special tiny scissors with safely rounded tips or a whirring gadget that amounts to a nostril weed whacker.

Note that this isn’t going to be a one-and-done job. The nose hair will grow back. (Fast fact: The average nose hair follicle grows over 6 feet during a person’s lifetime, which definitely explains why this is a concern.)

No yanking nose hairs!

Resist the urge to just pull nose hairs out. Plucking or waxing the hairs in your nostrils can lead to ingrown hairs and infections. A study of people with nasal vestibulitis, a common nasal infection, identified nose hair plucking as a main risk factor.

Final thoughts

The bottom line on long nose hair? It’s more of a personal grooming matter than a medical issue. “Long nose hairs won’t hurt you,” assures Dr. Benninger. “But if you remove them incorrectly, they can cause problems.”

Related Articles

Notes taped to window of possible new year's resolutions with hand in foreground holding marker.
December 1, 2023
How To Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

Pick specific, measurable goals, but also be open to changing them if need be

person holding a thermometer with stress thought bubbles above head
December 1, 2023
Yes, There Is Such a Thing as Stress Sickness

From nausea, weight gain and eczema, stress can affect your immune system in many ways

bowl of soy-based cubes with hand
November 30, 2023
Can Soy Cause Breast Cancer?

Research consistently shows that soy-based foods do not increase cancer risk

person scratching neck that has eczema
November 29, 2023
How Lifestyle Changes and Self-Care Can Improve Your Atopic Dermatitis

Changing your wardrobe or environment won’t eliminate eczema, but it can help reduce flares

person stressing, with clock and books
November 29, 2023
6 Ways To Feel Less Anxious in the Mornings

Breathwork, sleep mediatation and avoiding screens can help fight back morning anxiety

covid toe
November 28, 2023
Are COVID Toes and Rashes Common Symptoms of the Coronavirus?

Chilblain-like skin lesions and rashes probably aren’t COVID related

magnesium pills out of container spelling out MG
November 28, 2023
Magnesium for Anxiety: Does It Help?

This supplement may help with regulating cortisol levels, which may help with stress

woman in her forties, using an inhaler
November 28, 2023
Why Sex Hormones Can Help (or Hurt) Your Asthma

Developmental changes like puberty and menopause can impact symptom severity

Trending Topics

group of hands holding different beverages
November 14, 2023
10 Myths About Drinking Alcohol You Should Stop Repeating

Coffee won’t cure a hangover and you definitely shouldn’t mix your cocktail with an energy drink

Person applies moisturizer as part of their skin care routine after a shower.
November 10, 2023
Korean Skin Care Routines: What You Need To Know

Focus on the philosophy — replenishing and respecting your skin — not necessarily the steps

glass of cherry juice with cherries on table
November 8, 2023
Sleepy Girl Mocktail: What’s in It and Does It Really Make You Sleep Better?

This social media sleep hack with tart cherry juice and magnesium could be worth a try