I've noticed that some barbers practice some nasal hair removal methods. One method they use involves applying a type of "warm wax" connected to a stick, in the nose, cooling it and when the wax is somewhat hardened pulling it out. It seems this is called nostrils waxing. Several YouTube videos such as 1 also show this practice. It seems painful but fairly harmless to me and is supposedly mainly done for cosmetic reasons.

Doing so could possibly cause intracranial thrombophlebitis 2 according to an online answer 3 from Dr. Mehmet Oz (MD). He explains that the hose is part of the triangular region of the face 4 and therefore (the brain is) at increased risk. How likely is it to suffer from such condition after using the mentioned nose hair removal method?

Also, nasal hair functions include filtering foreign particles from entering the nasal cavity and collecting moisture. 5 So, does removing nasal hair increase the risk of inhaling harmful substances? If so, are there any studies that suggest how much the increased risk could be? Lastly, is it particularly bad for groups at risk such as asthma 6 patients?

1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4617tbn2xlI
2 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thrombophlebitis
3 https://www.sharecare.com/health/healthy-nose/danger-of-pulling-nose-hairs
4 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danger_triangle_of_the_face
5 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasal_hair
6 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asthma

  • 2
    Waxing nasal hairs -- things that make you wince to think about them.
    – Carey Gregory
    Dec 12, 2019 at 5:31

1 Answer 1


1) How likely is intracranial thrombophlebitis after nasal hair removal?

Cavernous sinus thrombosis (Stat Pearls, 2019) after nasal hair removal (or from any cause) seems to be rare but possible:

...annual incidence of cavernous sinus thrombosis might be approximately 0.2 to 1.6 per 100,000 per year.

Cavernous sinus thrombosis (CST) is a rare, life-threatening disorder that can complicate facial infection, sinusitis, orbital cellulitis, pharyngitis, or otitis or following traumatic injury or surgery, especially in the setting of a thrombophilic disorder. Early recognition of cavernous sinus thrombosis which, often presents with fever, headache, eye findings such as periorbital swelling, and ophthalmoplegia, is critical for good outcome. Despite modern treatment with antibiotics and anticoagulation, the risk of long-term sequelae, such as vision, diplopia, and stroke, remains significant.

Antimicrobial therapy includes an anti-staphylococcal agent (vancomycin if methicillin resistance is high, or nafcillin), a third-generation cephalosporin, and metronidazole (for anaerobic coverage) as well as antifungal therapy with amphotericin B. A prolonged duration of parenteral therapy, typically three to four weeks or at least two weeks beyond clinical resolution is suggested.

As many as 50% of survivors might have sequelae, most commonly third or sixth nerve palsy. Other complications can include sepsis, meningitis, subdural empyema, brain abscess, blindness, panhypopituitarism, intracranial hypertension, infectious arteritis or mycotic aneurysm of internal carotid artery, vasospasm, septic emboli, stroke from carotid narrowing, cortical vein thrombosis or hemorrhagic infarction, coma, and death. Mortality rates as high as 80% in the era before antibiotics have diminished to below 8% to 13%.

The Dangerous Triangle (Still Dangerous) (JAMA, 1969):

Report of a Case:— A 31-year-old woman was first seen by a physician Jan 13, 1966, with the report that she had plucked some nasal hairs two days before. This was followed by edema and soreness around the dorsum of the nose. The patient received penicillin intramuscularly and was instructed to place hot packs on the nose. Twenty four hours later, the penicillin therapy was repeated, followed by an antiinflammatory dose of radiation to the nose.On Jan 16, marked edema and discoloration of both eyelids and periorbital areas...

Plucking hair could spread the infection from the pre-existing infection in the nasal mucosa, for example, due to a pimple or boil or bacterial sinusitis or from contaminated tweezers, especially when plucking is associated with bleeding.

Cavernous sinus thrombosis caused by contralateral sphenoid sinusitis: a case report (Head & Face Medicine, 2013):

...more recent reports suggest that sinusitis is currently the most common etiological factor in CST.

2) Is there an increased risk for inhaling harmful substances after nasal hair removal?

In a small study involving 75 patients with asthma, the amount of nasal hair was inversely correlated with asthma:

Does nasal hair (vibrissae) density affect the risk of developing asthma in patients with seasonal rhinitis? (International Archieves of Allergy and Immunology, 2011):

The rate of asthma was 44.7, 26.2 and 16.7% in the few, moderate and many [hair] groups, respectively (p = 0.002).

Our findings suggest that the amount of nasal hair providing a nose filtration function has a protective effect on the risk of developing asthma in SR patients.

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