An upturned nose is one with a tip that’s angled upward. The angle can vary from slightly upturned to an exaggerated angle that makes the nose appear short and the nostrils prominent.

Upturned noses are sometimes referred to as “pixie noses” or “piggy noses.” Whatever you call it, an upturned nose is like any other facial feature.

We’re all different, and unless the shape of your nose changed because of an injury or previous surgery, chances are you inherited it from your family.

From a medical standpoint, an upturned nose isn’t a cause for concern. Unless it’s interfering with your breathing, nothing needs to be done. If you’re bothered by the shape of your nose, there are surgical and nonsurgical options that can help.

Let’s take a look at what can cause an upturned nose.


Your facial features are based on genetics. This goes way back in your genetic heritage, which was partially influenced by the environment of your ancestors.

The nose regulates the temperature and humidity of the air we breathe as it enters our air passages, so its shape developed based on the climate your ancestors were exposed to.


An upturned nose can be caused by sudden nasal trauma. To change the shape of your nose, the injury has to be severe, such as a broken nose. A direct frontal blow is usually what causes a nose to push inward and upward, creating an upturned appearance.

Common causes of broken noses include:

  • falling down
  • walking into a wall
  • being hit in the nose while engaging in a contact sport
  • motor vehicle collision
  • physical assault, such as being punched or kicked in the nose

Upturned nose after rhinoplasty

Michael Jackson is often the person who comes to mind when you think of an upturned nose caused by plastic surgery. Rhinoplasty is the surgical procedure used to change the shape of the nose.

If too much cartilage is removed from the tip of the nose or the septum, it can shorten the nose and cause the tip to turn upward. This can happen when a nose already lacks projection before surgery and an excessive amount of cartilage is removed during surgery.

Some people have rhinoplasty to achieve an upturned nose. A population-based study published in the medical journal JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery found that a nose with a slightly upturned tip was considered more attractive in females.

Gene mutations and birth defects

Certain rare gene mutations can cause medical conditions that affect physical development in the womb.

In people with these types of conditions, the nose is usually one of the features affected. These conditions can also affect the way a person’s eyes, limbs, and stature develop.

Many of these conditions also cause microcephaly, in which the head size is smaller than average. This condition can also cause developmental delays and intellectual disabilities.

Some of the conditions that can cause an upturned nose include:

  • Cornelia de Lange syndrome
  • Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome
  • Kaufman oculocerebrofacial syndrome
  • Toriello-Carey syndrome

An upturned nose doesn’t usually cause problems. Unless you’re having trouble breathing because there’s been damage to the nasal septum — the cartilage that separates your nasal passages — an upturned nose is unlikely to pose any health risks.

Noses come in all shapes, sizes, and angles. Having an upturned nose is normal and not something you need to change unless you really want to.

If you’re unhappy with the angle or shape of your nose, here are some things you can do about it.

Highlight your other facial features

Highlighting your other facial features can help make your nose appear less prominent by taking attention away from it — though chances are others don’t notice it the way you do.

Some of the ways to achieve this include:

  • Contouring and highlighting. Use contouring and highlighting to create the illusion of a different nose shape. This involves using a dark contouring makeup to create shadows for minimizing and highlighter to put the emphasis on other areas. You can find tutorials online or ask for help at most cosmetics counters.
  • Other makeup. Draw attention to your eyes and lips with shadows, liners, and lipstick. Go for a bolder eye and a toned-down lip or vice versa to draw attention away from your nose.
  • Change your hairstyle. Certain hairstyles draw attention to the nose, such as heavy or blunt bangs or sharply angled haircuts. Soft layers, a little bit of lift or wave, and a medium length are styles that can soften facial features and pull attention away from the nose.

Nonsurgical rhinoplasty with injectable fillers

Injectable fillers, such as hyaluronic acid, can be injected into different areas of the nose to change its shape. This is also called a nonsurgical nose job.

Fillers have a gel-like consistency. They’re injected under the skin’s surface to add fullness. The practitioner can use their hands to manipulate the area and move the filler to even out its appearance.

Based on a 2016 report by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of soft tissue fillers ranges from $644 to $1,930 per syringe, depending on the type.

The number of syringes used to correct an upturned nose depends on the amount of correction required. More than one session may be needed, depending on the product used.

Nonsurgical rhinoplasty is performed in-office and takes between 15 to 60 minutes. The results can last from a few months to several years, depending on the product used.

Side effects are usually minimal. However, in rare circumstances, the filler can block a blood vessel in the nose, which can cause necrosis, or death of the skin where the filler was injected. It can even cause blindness if injected near the eye.

These complications, while rare, can be devastating. So, it’s important to find a board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist when getting a filler treatment to the face. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers the use of fillers in the nose to be an “off-label” use.


Rhinoplasty, commonly known as a nose job, is one of the most frequently performed cosmetic surgery procedures in the United States.

Correction of an upturned nose can be performed using open and closed surgical techniques. Both usually involve placing grafts at the end of the septum and tip to help support and lengthen the nose. The grafts are made from cartilage taken from the ribs or ears.

Rhinoplasty is performed under general anesthesia, and it takes approximately two or three hours.

In 2016, the average cost of rhinoplasty was $5,046. Recovery depends on how complicated the procedure is, which varies from person to person.

An upturned nose isn’t a cause for concern, and it doesn’t need to be corrected unless it’s interfering with your ability to breathe properly. If you aren’t happy with how your nose looks, there are things that you can do to change its appearance.