Cocaine nose

It’s common knowledge that cocaine affects your brain and the way you act. But you probably don’t think much about the effects it can have on little things, like your nose. Years after taking coke, some people still feel the physical repercussions. So, while it may seem fun to snort a line, it can also seriously mess with your sniffer. We’ll talk you through it all.

A young, blonde woman is holding her phone. She is looking up cocaine nose. This is a wide-angle image.

How does a nose work then? 

Before we get into cocaine nose, it’s time for a short biology lesson.

Your nose is separated into two chambers by the septum – this is the fleshy wall you can pinch between your fingers. The inside is also covered by a thin, sensitive layer called the mucous membrane. This works like a filter, and basically protects against infection whenever you inhale and sweep up stuff your body doesn’t need, like dust motes, pollen, fluff particles … or coke.

What’s cocaine nose

When you’re snorting coke, the drug is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream via the mucous membrane. One immediate effect within the membrane is to shrink the blood vessels. As a result, this sensitive lining becomes irritated and inflamed. Short-term effects include sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion and nosebleeds (which turn into a scab in your nose from coke).

Does your nose heal after coke? 

Cocaine nose is a serious side effect of doing the stuff and is sometimes irreversible. If the mucous membrane becomes damaged due to sniffing coke, it can impair the way that air is humidified before it reaches the lungs. Not to mention the decreased blood supply to the nose. All of these things are pretty permanent and can mess with the way you smell and breathe.

Continued use can also cause sores to form in the membrane, and it can also lead to a perforated septum. This is basically the appearance of a hole in the dividing wall of the nasal cavity that can continue to grow with your coke habit. If enough support is destroyed, the septum can collapse. This can cause a multitude of problems such as sinus infections and breathing problems.

You might even face cosmetic problems such as a scab in the nose from coke. Plastic surgery can improve these issues, but patients are advised to seek treatment of the addiction before any attempt at reconstruction can be carried out. 

I’m worried about my coke use, help! 

Cocaine is notoriously addictive and it’s a tough habit to break. Try not to wait until your nose is collapsing in on itself (cocaine nose) before you get the help you deserve. The NHS have advice if you’re ready to face your cocaine addiction. You can also read our seeking help for addiction article which will point you in the direction. As well as any advice we can provide, it’s important to seek medical advice for drug addiction. Make sure you don’t try and detox on your own because it’s going to be a tough journey ahead. 

We’re also here to support you at any time through our free, confidential support services.

Next Steps

  • Addaction helps people recover from drug and alcohol addictions.
  • FRANK offers friendly, confidential advice on all things drugs-related. Call now on 0300 123 6600
  • Release offers free and confidential advice on everything to do with drugs and drugs law. 0845 4500 215
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By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 13-Sep-2021