Nose picking: Why people do it and how to stop

Nose pick is an unusual practice, in that most people do it but many condemn it. In fact, in an older survey from 1995, 91 % of the participants reported that they picked their nose, and 75 % said “ about everyone does it. ” however, not everyone picks their nose for the lapp reasons. Although some people pick their scent to remove irritating boogers, others may pick their nozzle out of habit or compulsion.

This article outlines the versatile causes of nose foot and its consociate risks. It besides provides tips that could help adults and children stop picking their nose.

Why do people pick their nose?

A child is seen picking her nose while looking out a window. share on PinterestBoth children and adults may pick their nose for various reasons. People pick their intrude for a assortment of reasons. The sections below will outline some of these potential reasons .


One of the most common reasons that people pick their nose is to remove boogers. The term booger describes the dry nasal consonant mucus that collects around pollen, dust, and early debris inside the nostrils. Boogers can block the nasal passages, and this may feel uncomfortable or irritating. It may besides affect a person ’ s breathe. As a resultant role, people may use their fingers to pick out the boogers and clear the rhinal passages .

Nasal conditions

Conditions such as allergies and upper respiratory infections ( URIs ) can increase levels of rhinal mucus, thereby increasing the formation of boogers .

Nasal structure

geomorphologic irregularities within the intrude can cause problems that increase the likelihood of intrude pick. The septum is a line of bone, cartilage, and mucous membrane that divides the scent into two rhinal passageways. These two passageways are typically the lapp size. however, some people have a deviated septum. This means that their septum does not run down the center of their nuzzle. This condition may be present from parturition or happen as a result of wound to the nose. A deviate septum may lead to versatile issues, such as :

  • increased nose picking
  • breathing difficulties
  • sinus problems


For some people, nose nibble is a aflutter habit. For others, it becomes a compulsive behavior. The checkup term for compulsive nose pick is rhinotillexomania. It is a type of body-focused repetitive behavior ( BFRB ). The term BFRB refers to a group of obsessional self-grooming behaviors that can cause unintentional price to the person ’ randomness body. other types of BFRB include :

  • hair pulling
  • nail biting
  • skin picking

People who are prone to BFRBs are more probably to perform these behaviors when they are feeling stressed or anxious.

Does nose picking cause damage?

Although nose pick is generally harmless, there are some risks involved. The primary problems associated with nozzle picking are :

  • introducing viruses, bacteria, and other contaminants into the nose
  • spreading bacteria and viruses from the nose onto surfaces in the environment
  • damaging the tissues and structures inside the nose
  • triggering nosebleeds

How to stop picking the nose

For a person to stop picking their nose, they may first gear need to identify the cause of their pick habits. Below are some tips that may help a person arrest picking their scent .

Increasing moisture in the nasal passages

Dry nasal consonant passages can lead to more boogers and an increased cheer to pick the nuzzle. consequently, keeping the rhinal passages damp can help prevent nose pick. A person can keep their rhinal passages moist by :

  • drinking plenty of fluids
  • using a saline nasal spray to lubricate the nasal passages
  • applying a small amount of coconut oil to the insides of the nostrils
  • flushing the nasal passages with clean, warm water, using either a bulb syringe or a neti pot
  • using an indoor humidifier to add moisture to the air

Treating nasal conditions

Conditions such as allergies and URIs can increase adenoidal mucus and boogers. Treating these conditions will help reduce any urges to pick the nose. Some electric potential treatment options for allergies include :

  • oral antihistamine medications, such as loratadine or cetirizine hydrochloride
  • steroid nasal sprays
  • decongestants, such as oxymetazoline or phenylephrine

Some home remedies that may help alleviate adenoidal symptoms of a URI include :

  • drinking plenty of water to loosen the mucus
  • increasing indoor humidity
  • applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly to the insides of the nostrils

Treating compulsive nose picking

The following treatment approaches may be helpful for people whose nose pick is a anxious or compulsive habit :

  • mindfulness meditation, which can help reduce the stress and anxiety that can promote compulsive behaviors
  • habit reversal training, which helps people become aware of and interrupt their habitual behaviors
  • cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps people identify negative thinking and behavior patterns and develop more adaptive responses

What to do about nose picking in children

Like adults, children may pick their nose to remove uncomfortable or irritating boogers. They may besides pick their nose out of boredom or as a way of exploring their bodies. Young children besides may not have internalized company ’ s disapproval of nuzzle blame. It is not necessary to make a child feel ashamed or bad about themselves for picking their nuzzle. however, the follow tips can help discourage a child from nose pick :

  • Provide gentle yet firm reminders that it is not OK for a person to pick their nose in public.
  • Encourage children to blow their nose into a tissue, instead of picking the nose.
  • Tell children to wash their hands after seeing them pick their nose.
  • Use methods to keep the child’s nasal passages moist.


Nose pick is a park practice that has many likely causes. In most cases, people pick their nose to remove uncomfortable or irritating boogers. In some cases, however, nose pick may be a compulsive demeanor. Nose pick is associated with health risks such as spreading bacteria and viruses. It can besides trigger nosebleeds and may cause damage to the delicate tissues inside the nose.

For a person to stop picking their nose, they may first need to identify the campaign of their pick. If they pick their nose to remove boogers, they should take steps to prevent the boogers from forming. People who pick their nuzzle compulsively may wish to try therapy to help them manage the behavior .

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Category : Healthy