In this new series, CNA way of life asks the experts for your thoughts ~ above common poor habits. This week, us look at a very universal one: sleep picking.

You are watching: Does picking your nose make it bigger

(Art: Jasper Loh)



You don’t require research to tell you how gratifying it feels come indulge in this details habit (yeah, sure, deny every you want). But if you must know, nose picking is so typical that one inspection of 254 adults discovered that 91 per cent execute it – and also 1.2 per cent perform so at least every hour.

So yes, human being – not simply kids – do habitually pick their noses out of boredom or nervousness.

The evident excuse is that it’s every in the name of remove those pesky boogers, which, in and also of itself in reality have vital function.

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“The nasal lining produces mucus to assist clear particles in the air that a human being breathes in. Boogers are dried mucus that has collected these particles,” stated Dr Tan Teck Shi, the clinical lead because that a respiratory workgroup operation by SingHealth Polyclinics.

READ: Love wearing that mask top top your arm or under your chin? You’re spreading germs

“Dusty locations or a hazy environment can cause an ext dust or dirt particles to be trapped through our sleep lining, result in an ext boogers.”


But there are additionally some threats when “cleaning” one’s nostrils. Since “blood ship on the lower component of the septum are really superficial”, picking her nose deserve to actually obstacle the sleep debris against the delicate nasal lining and also sometimes cause bleeding, warned Dr Tan. The septum is the cartilage in the nose that the end the nostrils.

“Although reports that septum perforation in severely impacted patients are rare, constant nose picking can cause chronic infection, inflammation, and also thickening the the sleep passages, thereby boosting the size of the nostrils,” he said.

Yes, you check out that appropriate – consistent picking deserve to enlarge those nose holes.

(Photo: Freepik/drobotdean)

“Pinching your nose is unlikely to help in minimising the nostril enlargement,” said Dr Tan. “On the contrary, it may attribute to the enlargement together it causes much more damage and also hence, inflammation v pinching.”

That’s no all. There is a greater chance that you choose up germs through your fingers and delivering lock straight into your nose. During the pandemic, you certainly don"t desire to risk presenting the COVID-19 virus into your body. 

Not simply COVID-19, staphylococcus aureus, a kind of bacteria the commonly causes skin infections, is more likely discovered in the nose of sleep pickers in a 2006 netherlands study.


Picking one’s sleep is something plenty of of us do without even thinking about it – but just Dr Tan likewise pointed the end that there’s a possibility that the habit could likewise be caused by a psychological disorder such together rhinotillexomania or compulsive sleep picking.

“Rhinotillexomania might be diagnosed if a person proceeds to nose-pick also when the boogers space removed. This is share under obsessive-compulsive disorders, which encompass skin picking, hair pulling and nail biting,” the said.

Whatever prompts girlfriend to start picking your nose, Dr Tan recommended some tips to mitigate the habit.

(Photo: Diana Polekhina)

If stress or tension is the reason behind your nose picking, shot muscle be sure or deep breath exercises, he said.

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What around situations as soon as you really must clear the end your nostrils? “Blow your sleep gently through clean tissues and wash her hands immediately thereafter,” claimed Dr Tan, particularly if a cold or allergy has actually increased her secretion of mucus and also the resulting boogers.

“To minimise mucus production, you deserve to use a humidifier or wait purifier. Allergies can also be treated through steroid sprays and antihistamines.”

However, if friend persistently check out blood in your boogers, it can be a authorize of something more serious, and also you should take into consideration consulting a doctor, claimed Dr Tan. “Similarly, seek medical aid if there is persistent sleep irritation, abnormal discharge and bleeding, obstruction, ache or ede in the nostrils.”