Sinus Cilia | Nose Hair | NYC Sinus Center

Sinus cilia? Or time to break out the clippers?

Clipping, tweezing, trimming…we go to great lengths to ensure that our unsightly nose hair isn’t visible to the casual passer-by. It turns out, though, that nose hair has an important role to play in our overall health.

Nose hair – nature’s filter

nose hair is nature's filterAdditionally, there are two kinds of “hair” in the nose…the course, clip-able kind that peeks out of our noses, and the microscopic hair-like cilia. Both kinds of hair are vital to respiration.

Nose hair filters particulate matter from the air. Additionally, the mucus layering this hair creates a sticky “trap” for allergens and molds. While it may be tempting to get rid of that nose hair, you do so at your own risk—people who de-hair their nasal passages too assiduously are at increased risk for sinusitis, allergies, and bloody noses.

How it works

As you inhale, the hair in your nose “beats back” towards your sinus cavity. At the same time, the cilia in your sinuses are “beating forward,” propelling the particulate-bearing mucus down your throat and into you stomach. These cilia are tiny, hair-like structures that are free-floating in the nose and sinus cavity. When they are healthy, they beat 14-16 times per second. Clippers and tweezers have no effect on these hairs, but they can be paralyzed or even killed off by diesel fumes, cigarette smoke, and other pollutants

Sluggish cilia are implicated in sinus infections, chronic sinusitis, and possibly even lung cancer—so get that air purifier you’ve been eyeing! And if you’re having sinus problems or any discomfort, contact us right away—and no, you shouldn’t clip your nose hair first.

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