One of the most instinctive things people do is reach for their face, around the mouth and nose. This is known as the danger triangle. Some also refer to it as the “triangle of death”, but this is more old-fashioned. This is because popping a pimple in this area can be extremely dangerous. Nose-picking is also a common habit that many people are better off dropping.
Things you should avoid doing to your nose
1. Nose picking
Studies show that at least 91% of people pick their nose. People pick their noses for reasons ranging from irritation, dryness, too much moisture, obstructions, or being absent-minded. It can also be a compulsive behaviour. This is known as rhinotillexomania, including other nervous habits like nail-biting or scratching.
Picking your nose can lead to infections. Fingernails aren’t clean and can leave harmful bacteria or other pathogens. Picking also leads to the spreading of disease. Mucus collects dust, and dirt and can contain disease-causing agents such as viruses. If you pick your nose and don’t wash your hands after, you can spread infected mucus around. One study found that this is one of the leading causes of the spread of pneumonia. Nasal Congestion: 7 Ways To Clear Your Child’s Blocked Nose
Picking the nose can also lead to damage within the nasal cavity. Repeated swelling and inflammation of the nasal tissue can lead to narrowed nostrils. This can make breathing difficult and discomfort in the sinuses. Other dangerous effects of nose-picking include septum damage where a hole forms within the cartilage, nosebleeds, and sores.
2. Unsanitary piercings
You can get piercings in the nostril, septum, or lip. However, piercings around the triangle of death present unique risks. This is because of their proximity to blood vessels that flow to the brain and sinus area. The risk of infection is still low but you should take extra care to sterilize your piercings. Ensure your hands are clean as well when taking out the piercings. Ensuring you keep them clean reduces the risk of the spread of hepatitis B, C, or tetanus.
3. Pimple popping
You shouldn’t pop acne pimples or other blemishes that appear on your face. There are plenty of resources that dermatologists recommend to help reduce acne, zits, whiteheads, or blackheads. However, sometimes you may be in a hurry to get rid of a pimple before an event. Pimples around the nasal or mouth area can be very prominent and make you self-conscious. It can be tempting to just pop it to get rid of the mound. However, unlike pimples on the forehead, chin, or cheeks, when you pop pimples in the danger triangle, you may see severe consequences. Skincare: 9 Acne Myths You Need To Stop Believing
This is because popping a pimple in the area close to the nose can lead to pushing the contents of the pimple deeper into the skin. As a result, you can get permanent scarring and acne. One of the reasons pimple popping near the nose is dangerous is because there is a small risk of developing cavernous sinus thrombosis (CST). This is a condition where a blood clot develops in the sinuses and can prevent blood flow to the brain. The cavernous sinus is a vein that drains blood from the brain. Any infections in the danger triangle can also increase the risk of infections in blood vessels that flow to the brain.
In addition, you touch your nose or lips more than any other position on your face. It’s the area most likely to have the largest concentration of bacteria and other pathogens. Popping a pimple in this area can lead to bigger pimples due to irritation and inflammation. It can also lead to infections, sores, or redness.
Popping pimples with contaminated fingers can cause a superficial infection that’s highly contagious. This is known as impetigo. This is a bacterial infection that leads to soreness and redness that burst and form a yellow crust. If the impetigo goes deeper into the skin, this leads to ecthema or ulcers which are also highly contagious. If you come into contact with someone who has such sores, ensure you wash your hands immediately. Beauty: How To Take Care Of Acne Prone Skin
Gloria Mari is a culture writer based in Nairobi, Kenya. She writes on art, film, literature, health, and the environment. She has previously written for Kenya Buzz, People Daily, The Elephant, and Kalahari Review.