Nasal Hummus Is an Actual Thing: Here’s How to Treat It

Nasal Hummus Is an Actual Thing: Here’s How to Treat It
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Photo: ImaxTree.

A few weeks ago during a impromptu sleepover with one of my girlfriends, our conversation about beauty products led to something I did not expect. After complaining that her skin was oily beyond belief (hers not mine because I’ve seen it all), she walked up to me and pressed her finger against the side of her nose. What followed was a gushy white film that made me want to wash my face.

Perhaps you think I overreacted. But as someone who routinely bypasses pimple-popping videos on YouTube, I definitely don’t have a stomach for this kind of stuff. There’s a difference between slick skin and pores that literally leak out dirt and grime. According to the interwebs, the latter is more popularly known as nasal hummus and there’s more than enough examples here, should you want to see it in action.

But for now, here’s the expert advice you need if your nose is especially oily and in need of a deep cleansing that’ll rebalance your skin.

MORE: Skin-Care Ingredients That Play Nice with Each Other

What Is It?

In the simplest terms, certified dermatologist and founder of DERMAdoctor Dr. Audrey Kunin defines nasal hummus as whiteheads squeezed from enlarged pores on the nose or T-zone, which extends across the forehead, down the nose and chin. 

“This area contains the largest number of oil glands on the face. So naturally, we tend to see more blackheads, whiteheads, oiliness and shine in these areas,” she says. For further clarification, a blackhead is an accumulation of dead skin cells, bacteria and sebum within the oil gland that has reached the surface of the skin. Once it contacts air, it turns black, hence the moniker.

A whitehead contains the same type of cells, in addition to an abundance of white blood cells (a.k.a. pus) that have not been oxidized by air. This is usually what nasal hummus is composed of.

MORE: The Most Popular Blotting Papers and Powders for Oily Skin

glowing skin makeup Nasal Hummus Is an Actual Thing: Heres How to Treat It

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Treatment Options

While the obvious goal is to eliminate all of that excess oil, overly aggressive attempts to remove it can leave the skin patchy and irritated. Ultimately, healthy skin requires small amounts of oil.

According to Kunin, “There is a misconception that steps taken to reduce excessive oiliness create a rebound reaction where even more oil is produced.” This isn’t true. “Oil production is triggered by the presence of hormones at the base of the oil gland, which cause sebum to be produced.” So while some people swear by fighting oil with oil, there are alternatives that work just as well.

In the case of an oily nasal area, Kunin recommends using a daily cleanser that contains both glycolic and salicylic acids, since these ingredients can penetrate to different levels of the skin and oil glands, which helps cleanse away more oil.  However, be wary of how you’re utilizing them. Since water neutralizes glycolic acid, it should be applied to dry skin for optimal effectiveness.

Also, soap-free and pH-balanced cleansers that contain hydrators such as hyaluronic acid can help reduce accidentally over-stripping skin of its protective surface oil. “Exfoliation, such as with the DERMAdoctor Kakadu C Intensive Vitamin C Peel Pads is useful to unplug pores, which prevents a buildup of sebum beneath the skin’s surface,” says Kunin.

Post-Cleansing

And in addition to a cleanser, using a toner afterward will further replenish skin moisture. However, not that “this is different than replenishing oil. You are replenishing water to help maintain a healthy complexion.” From there, finish off your routine with a lightweight oil-free moisturizer, such as DERMAdoctor Lucky Bamboo Jukyeom 9x Water Gel.

Additionally, retinols and prescription retinoids allow pores to breathe and oils to flow freely in more minute amounts. Lastly, if nasal oil or any of these treatment options lead to acne cysts or excessive inflammation, redness or the inability to reduce excessive oils, it’s time to check with a dermatologist.

Ahead are glycolic and salicylic acid cleansers that’ll jump-start your journey to more balanced skin.

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STYLECASTER | Products for Treating Nasal Hummus | Cane + Austin Face & Body Retexture Scrub 10% Glycolic Acid + 0.5% Salicylic Acid
Cane + Austin Face & Body Retexture Scrub 10% Glycolic Acid + 0.5% Salicylic Acid

A next-level exfoliator for the face and body, thanks to a powerhouse mix of glycolic and salicylic acids.

$42 at Sephora

Photo: Cane + Austin
STYLECASTER | Products for Treating Nasal Hummus | Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser

Salicylic, lactic and glycolic acids, along with jojoba beads, work to balance out the skin's sebum levels and scrub away dirt and grime.

$39 at Murad

Photo: Murad
STYLECASTER | Products for Treating Nasal Hummus | Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel
Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel

A lightweight soothing cleanser that still packs an exfoliating punch, thanks to glycolic and salicylic acids.

$38 at Peter Thomas Roth

Photo: Peter Thomas Roth
STYLECASTER | Products for Treating Nasal Hummus | Ole Henriksen Find Your Balance™ Oil Control Cleanser
Ole Henriksen Find Your Balance Oil Control Cleanser

In addition to glycolic and lactic acids for exfoliation, a slew of botanicals (green tea, eucalyptus, algae and Irish moss extracts) work to gently slough away bacteria.

$25 at Ole Henriksen

Photo: Ole Henriksen
STYLECASTER | Products for Treating Nasal Hummus | Kate Somerville Detox Daily Cleanser
Kate Somerville Detox Daily Cleanser

Salicylic, glycolic and lactic acids balance out oily skin without overdrying it.

$36 at Kate Somerville

Photo: Kate Somerville
STYLECASTER | Products for Treating Nasal Hummus | Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser
Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser

A simple yet effective facial cleanser made with the exfoliating powers of glycolic acid.

$16 at Mario Badescu

Photo: Mario Badescu
STYLECASTER | Products for Treating Nasal Hummus | CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser for Normal Skin
CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser for Normal Skin

A gentle, fragrance-free salicylic acid cleanser for sensitive skin.

$13.99 at Ulta

Photo: CeraVe
STYLECASTER | Products for Treating Nasal Hummus | Neutrogena Pore Refining Exfoliating Cleanser Face Wash
Neutrogena Pore Refining Exfoliating Cleanser Face Wash

A soap-free, dermatologist-recommended exfoliator made with a blend of alpha- and beta-hydroxyl acids.

$6.99 at Target

Photo: Neutrogena
STYLECASTER | Products for Treating Nasal Hummus | Boscia Clear Complexion Cleanser
Boscia Clear Complexion Cleanser

This cleansing gel is made with willow bark extract—a source of salicylic acid—for removing excess sebum from pores.

$28 at Boscia

Photo: Boscia
STYLECASTER | Products for Treating Nasal Hummus | Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Pore Perfecting Cleansing Gel
Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Pore-Perfecting Cleansing Gel

A soap- and sulfate-free vegan formula made with alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids to decongest pores.

$38 at Dr. Dennis Gross

Photo: Dr. Dennis Gross
STYLECASTER | Products for Treating Nasal Hummus | Dermalogica Clearing Skin Wash
Dermalogica Clearing Skin Wash

A foaming cleanser formulated with salicylic acid to slough away dead skin cells.

$38 at Dermalogica

Photo: Dermalogica

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  • STYLECASTER | Products for Treating Nasal Hummus | Cane + Austin Face & Body Retexture Scrub 10% Glycolic Acid + 0.5% Salicylic Acid
  • STYLECASTER | Products for Treating Nasal Hummus | Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
  • STYLECASTER | Products for Treating Nasal Hummus | Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel
  • STYLECASTER | Products for Treating Nasal Hummus | Ole Henriksen Find Your Balance™ Oil Control Cleanser
  • STYLECASTER | Products for Treating Nasal Hummus | Kate Somerville Detox Daily Cleanser
  • STYLECASTER | Products for Treating Nasal Hummus | Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser
  • STYLECASTER | Products for Treating Nasal Hummus | CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser for Normal Skin
  • STYLECASTER | Products for Treating Nasal Hummus | Neutrogena Pore Refining Exfoliating Cleanser Face Wash
  • STYLECASTER | Products for Treating Nasal Hummus | Boscia Clear Complexion Cleanser
  • STYLECASTER | Products for Treating Nasal Hummus | Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Pore Perfecting Cleansing Gel
  • STYLECASTER | Products for Treating Nasal Hummus | Dermalogica Clearing Skin Wash
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