Why do I get crusts in my nose? What is nasal vestibulitis?

Some patients may complain from occasional bouts of dry nostrils that accumulate recurring crusts and scabs. This is easily very tender to touch, and gives patient sensation of soreness locally.

The basic underlying pathology for this kind of condition is an injury to the membranes of the inside of the nostril, which in medical terminology is called the nasal vestibule. Accordingly, the condition is called nasal vestibulitis. The injury to the membrane could be self-induced, such as cases of clipping hair or scratching the inside of the nostril with a fingernail. Alternatively dry nasal passages, which is more common in winter, can also lead to a breakdown of the usual defense barriers of the skin and result in an injury. Once these defense barriers are compromised, bacterial infection can penetrate deep into the nasal membranes and give rise to chronic infection. The usual bacteria that is implicated in these kinds of infections is Staphylococcus aureus.

The treatment for nasal vestibulitis is first and foremost to avoid any further injury to the area. The patient is strongly discouraged from picking the scabs and irritating the area repeatedly. At the minimum, application of Vaseline ointment with the help of a Q-tip can remedy some of the dryness effect. However, due to the deep nature of the infection, treatment with antibiotic ointment as well as oral antibiotic is frequently recommended. Both of these need to be by prescription and you need to see your doctor to make an accurate diagnosis and get appropriate prescription.

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