Myths and Legends

Picking Your Nose Will Make it Bigger

Man Nose Picking in Public
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic LicensePhoto by  erwinsoo

Have you ever been told “Picking your nose will make it bigger?” This is a pretty common myth that many parents have told their children over the years to make them stop that diggin! There’s nothing more unsightly than someone diggin’ for gold In the Ole Nostril Pass.
I did a piece a while back that asked the age old question Is it Safe to Pick your Nose, and in that post we talked about the dangers of picking your nose. But not from jabbing yourself in the brain, but from contracting an infection due to some dirty fingers.
So when I started thinking about the old myth that picking your nose will make it bigger, I knew I had to discuss this with you all.

The Nose Picking Statistics

According to anonymous polls 91% of Americans had admitted to picking their nose occasionally. But it gets worse, the poll also stated that 43% of them confessed to picking away while out in public. Yah, I think I know who most of them are, you can’t miss it! Then to my amazement, I found out that another 23% will jab their finger up their nose for anywhere between five and fifteen minutes at a time! I sort of think that picking nose in public is better than doing it for fifteen minutes straight…lol

So I think it’s pretty safe to say that we Americans are definitely Nose Pickers… But contrary to the amount of folks that love to dig in their beak, most of them were warned as children that picking your nose will make it bigger.

Medical Views of Picking your Nose

On a psychological level, picking your nose will definitely decrease the amount of people that want to hang out with you. But will it really make your nose bigger? To answer abruptly, NO!

According to Dr. Shervin Naveri of Washington DC picking your nose will not reshape your nostrils or your nose. Since he is a facial plastic surgeon, I tend to agree with him rather than siding with many fear inflicting parents.

Dr. Naveri confirms this by saying that in order to reshape the human nose, bone and cartilage must be restructured surgically. Even though this is the case, it’s also a fact that skin may possibly be stretched, over long exposures to forceful movements in the wrong direction. Plastic surgeons know this because they have a certain technique that involves placing balloons under the skin in order to stretch it out. They use this technique to help cover areas that a patient may be missing skin from.

This skin stretching procedure is quite similar to the stretching of lips and ear lobes in certain African tribes. Unfortunately today’s youth have also made a regular practice of stretching their ear lobes to fit unsightly plugs into their ears.

But, all this being said, in order to stretch or misshape your nose, the picking would have to be constant over time. I’m sure some of you are probably thinking, “well I know people that do pick their nose constantly”. But in all actuality they would have to pick from sun up to sun down for probably months to see any change.

Parents Picking their Nose

Another common teaching of parents is that picking your nose will lead to nose bleeds. This is in fact true. Most doctors will tell you that the majority of nose bleed cases in children are due to picking their nose. But the culprit for adults is normally due to dry air. Now you’re probably remembering those statistics from earlier, which could mean one of two things.

1. Adults don’t admit to picking their nose while at the doctors office with a nose bleed.

2. They have gotten much better with age where clipping their nails and hygiene is concerned, and the dry air really is to blame.

Children are not the only compulsive nose pickers out there. It is so bad they’ve even given it a clinical term, rhinotillexomania, which means obsessive nose picking. One documented case involves a man by the name of Ian Bothwell of Manchester, North West England. Bothwell was found by his landlord in a pool of blood. Most people thought he’d died from a blow to the head when falling out of the bed. But according to the coroner’s office, he had bled to death from picking the crap out of his nose!

So if you’re a parent out there looking for a new story to keep your kids from diggin for gold, then tell them about Ian Bothwell from England. It may not be possible that picking your nose will make it bigger, but it could certainly lead to bleeding to death!

If you have any other odd questions you need answers to, you may find them in our great section of bizarre Questions & Answers.
Any more dangerous or daring nose picking stories? Use the comments below…

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40 thoughts on “Picking Your Nose Will Make it Bigger
  1. I have been psychologically scared by being told this! It’s one of my earliest memories while on holiday one of my parents friends saw me picking my nose and told me it would make my nose big! (I was about 7).. ever since I pressed my nose at the front and both sides in to make it smaller again even now I do that about 20 times a day and unconsciously sometimes and I can’t stop (I’m 24 now).. so be careful what you say!

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