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Nose Picking - What is it and how to stop this bad habit

Updated on January 6, 2012
This may be a cute nose picking picture because the child is simply adorable. But you'd be bonkers to believe that you can look cute too while picking your nose?
This may be a cute nose picking picture because the child is simply adorable. But you'd be bonkers to believe that you can look cute too while picking your nose?

Considered to be a disgusting habit, Nose Picking in public places is frowned upon in most parts of the world. Looking at someone picking their nose in public is a gross sight. Some even try to stick their nasal mucus under tables and chairs! Why? Let's answer the following questions: What is Nose Picking? How does Nose Picking affect you? What effect does Nose Picking have on others? How to stop Nose Picking?

What is Nose Picking?

Nose Picking is the act of removing nasal mucus, dirt and other foreign bodies from one's own nose, with one's own fingers. In most cases, Nose Picking is a habit rather than an addiction. For some people, the habit of picking their nose may be hard to control and can even turn into a compulsive habit. However, this compulsive habit of Nose Picking is not deemed as a medical problem until it becomes overpowering, obsessive and repetitive to a great extent. Once this habit meets the threshold that doctors have for it, this condition is known as Rhinotillexomania.

How does Nose Picking affect you?

1) Bleeding

Some of the common causes for nasal bleeding occurring due to nose picking are long or sharp fingernails, excessive picking or rough finger movements while picking the nose.

2) Entry of foreign bodies in the nose

Nose picking also carries with it the inherent risks of foreign bodies entering the nose.

3) Possible damage to the Nasal Septum

For those of you who don't know, the Nasal Septum is the walk that separates the left and the right nostril. Although there is no threat of damage to the Nasal Septum simply by normal Nose Picking, but it is a possibility in rare cases.

4) Risk of Infection

Small cuts on the skin inside the nose can be caused by the scraping effect of the nail. These cuts may lead to an infection if there are germs on the very fingers that pick the nose.

5) Unhealthy personality

Nose Picking is often considered to be a sign of a person who maintains poor standards of hygiene and an overall unhealthy personality.

6) Humiliation

As Nose Picking is considered to be a bad habit, people are often subject to humiliation and made fun off by friends or colleagues.

What effect does Nose Picking have on others?

  • Nose Picking is considered to be a private act which can gross out onlookers
  • The fact that many people who pick their noses stick their dried mucus on things like chairs and tables
  • People who pick their noses may infect others if they have fallen sick with a viral fever because the germs and bacteria on their fingers are going to spread everywhere they touch or go
  • The very sight of someone picking their nose is repelling, annoying and dirty and an early morning conversation at work may start off like "Oh this fellow next to me on the train was grossing me out with his constant nose picking. What a bad start to the day"

How to stop Nose Picking?

If the above mentioned points are not compelling enough reasons to stop picking your nose, here are things that you can do to stop this nasty habit.

1) Acknowledge that Nose Picking is a dirty sight

Many times, people don't even realize that the act of picking their nose can be a sight that is very unpleasant. So if you want to stop picking your nose, the very first thing that you must do is understand and acknowledge that Nose Picking looks disgusting. If that sounds difficult, ask others how they feel when they watch someone pick their nose. Remember, learning how to stop picking your nose is more of a mental battle, than anything else.

2) Acknowledge that Nose Picking can be a health risk

Nose Picking has health risks for you and others around you. Read the above mentioned risks of nose picking again and top it off by a visit to the doctors, if necessary. It will be much easier to win your battle against Nose Picking if you subconsciously acknowledge that there exists a medical risk when you indulge in this habit of yours.

3) Keep a handkerchief or tissue with you

It is easier and convenient to remove itches and mucus from your nose by blowing and sneezing rather than poking your finger inside. Keeping a handkerchief or a small pack of tissues with you all the time so you can use it to blow, rather than poke.

4) Set a reminder

As silly as this sounds, setting a reminder on your cell phone can go a long way in curbing your habit. Try it out by setting a reminder that goes off every day at noon and reminds you to stop picking your nose. The deliberate act of acknowledging that reminder will strengthen your psyche and mental battle against the habit.

5) Leave a tiny post-it on your desk

Whether it is study desk, your office desk or your usual workplace area, you can leave a tiny post-it note saying "Don't pick your nose" or "Say no to nose picking". This note will be a constant reminder to you and will literarily drill the idea of stopping your dirty habit in your head. Before you start writing out that post-it, make sure that you use a tiny sticky note and post it at a discreet yet strategically visible place on your desk. The last thing you'd want is for everyone who walks past your desk to see that you are waging a battle against your nose picking habit.

6) Clean your nose in the morning

It is understandable when you feel like picking you nose if it feels itchy. A great way to reduce the itchiness that is caused by mucus and other foreign particles during the day is to clean your nose every morning. There are Nasal Irrigation devices and tools available that flush out mucus and other dirt from your nose that you can use after taking advice from an expert.

7) Wrap a bandage around your finger

In many cases, the habit of nose picking is often done over and over again by the same hand and same finger. If this sounds like you, try putting an adhesive bandage around that finger. The bandage will act as an obstruction that will immediately remind you not to pick your nose.

8) Excuse yourself every time you have to pick your nose

Excusing yourself, by itself is not directly an aid when it comes to refraining from picking the nose. However, you should make a rule that you will always excuse yourself when you feel like picking your nose and do it in private. How many times in the day are you going to excuse yourself?

9) Tell your close friends or relatives to help

As a last resort that you want to try at home to stop the habit of Nose Picking, you can ask your friends to help you. Simply tell them to stop you when they see you picking your nose. This can be in the form of a subtle, yet rude reminder or a little tap on the fingers.

10) Go to a doctor

If you feel that you've exhausted all the above methods and still can't figure out a solution to your Nose Picking habit, go and visit your doctor.


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    • hoteltravel profile image


      6 years ago from Thailand

      Interesting article! Any suggestions to stop nose picking in adults who do not accept it as a disgusting act?

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      6 years ago from Chicago

      This is a fascinating article. I have never picked my nose. Nor have I ever told a lie.

    • princesswithapen profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Hi Tonipet

      I think we all seem to agree that nose picking in public is strictly a no-no. It is a big put off and we should all be considerate for others and not practice this habit in public.

      Thanks for commenting and I'm glad you found this informative.


    • Tonipet profile image

      Tonette Fornillos 

      7 years ago from The City of Generals

      Funny but true. Nose picking especially in public is a big big turn-off. We can always find time to do it in private, which is only proper. A very informative hub!

    • princesswithapen profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Hi Michael

      This is not about the once in a while cleansing of mucus from the nose. Rather, about the very habit of doing it over and over again in public eyes.

      Thanks for stopping by!


    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Nose picking isn't a disgusting habit at all, it just shouldn't be done in public. Unless you use a sharp instrument or something like that to pick your nose, the risk of any problems is almost zero. All it is, is a social taboo. Cleaning the hardened mucus out of your nose is actually a hygenic thing to do, as long as you wash your hands afterwards.

      Picking your ears or scratching inside them, on the other hand, can lead to a myriad of infections inside the ear. That, is a bad habit, not nose picking.

    • princesswithapen profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago


      I haven't. And I hope I don't ever have to because that will be a disgusting wait. If I ever see someone I'll hand them a copy of this hub!

      I'm glad you liked this hub.


    • kimberly Crocker profile image

      kimberly Crocker 

      7 years ago from Southern New Hampshire

      have you ever caught someone picking their nose at a stop light? I feel like i se a lot of driving nose pickers, more so than little kids exploring their nasal cavity... great hub!

    • princesswithapen profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago


      The strength and inspiration to write about Nose Picking came from watching someone practice this in public recently. This is my effort to spread a word about this nasty habit. It is amusing to see that some people are literally unaware that their habits are grossing everyone out.

      Thanks heaps for your feedback and a heart warming comment!


    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Well, I can honestly say that I'd never have thought I would read a hub about nose picking. Maybe one about Rhinotillexomania, perhaps, but nose picking, no way! That is, of course, unless it was written by someone on my list of favorite hubbers.

      So, I completely agree with the fact that it is a disgusting habit. Practicioners should be aware of its inappropriateness and that makes this hub useful. If one must engage in this gross practice, he or she should confine doing so to a private place when alone.

      I did get a few chuckles when reading about this reality, so voted funny along with useful.

    • princesswithapen profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Hi ytsenoh

      Wow what an apt description of the feeling you'd get while writing about this habit. Forget even mentioning about some of the pictures out there!

      You're right, nose picking is a very disgusting habit. And bad habits are meant to be, and should be broken. Thanks for reading and commenting!


    • ytsenoh profile image


      7 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

      Thanks for having the courage and stamina to write about a disgusting habit.

    • princesswithapen profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      I'm glad you liked this hub, nemanjaboskov. Thanks for stopping by!


    • nemanjaboskov profile image

      Nemanja BoŇ°kov 

      7 years ago from Serbia

      This is a really great hub, princesswithapen!

    • princesswithapen profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Hi Kitty

      Yes, it happens to the best of us. And that's exactly why I wrote this, hoping it can be helpful and serve as a gentle tap on the fingers for anyone who picks their nose. I really appreciate your feedback and vote! Thanks for reading and commenting.


    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Kitty Fields 

      7 years ago from Summerland

      hilarious! Except, I know a lot of people with very high senses of hygiene that pick their I don't know that I agree with the part of "people that pick their nose generally have low self-hygiene." Voted up and awesome, though!

    • profile image


      7 years ago



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