What It Really Means When Your Nose Is Cold

If you've ever wondered why your nose feels cold more often than not, you're not alone. There are numerous reasons people experience cold noses beyond the obvious of freezing temperatures. While some are normal and no cause for concern, other reasons might indicate an underlying health condition.

When you're exposed to cold, your body sends a reserve of heat and energy to vital organs, while reducing blood flow to extremities, such as your hands, ears, and nose, according to WebMD. Your nose feels freezing weather first since it is mostly cartilage tissue without fat to insulate it and an exposed part of the body, explains facial plastic surgeon Philip J. Miller on his official site

Some people can experience cold noses in warmer temperatures, too. The most common reason is hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid gland that doesn't produce adequate hormones to regulate the body's energy and heat use, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Other symptoms of this condition include exhaustion, weight gain, dry skin, and muscle aches or weakness.

Health conditions to watch for if your nose is always cold

One of the most common reasons people experience a cold nose is poor circulation, which often results from underlying health issues. For example, obesity and heart disease can impair blood flow, according to a 2016 study published in Exercise and Sports Science Reviews. The best treatment depends on the cause.

Raynaud's disease is triggered by cold temperatures and stress and indicates artery or nerve damage, usually in the hands or feet, according to National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. In rare cases, it can affect the ears and nose, too.  

If you're exposed to cold temperatures for a prolonged period, hypothermia can also make your nose feel extremely cold, warns the CDC. This condition occurs when body heat lowers below its normal temperature of 98.6°F after as little as 30 minutes in below-freezing weather. Symptoms include fatigue, shivering, and confusion. 

People who worry that their cold nose is a symptom of a more serious health condition should see a doctor. Only a physical examination and tests can diagnose specific disorders, which require medication and other treatments to resolve.