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The danger triangle on the face, also known as the “triangle of death” or the “nasolabial triangle”, refers to the section of the face from the bridge of the nose to the corners of the mouth. The area is in the shape of a triangle, with the tip of the triangle in the medial position of the eye and the base covering the upper lip.

This little portion of the face has a direct connection to the brain; this link is made possible by the cavernous sinus, a web of vast veins located behind the eye sockets. Through this sinus, blood drains from the brain. This area is linked through blood vessels to regions of the skull where infections can spread instantaneously and become more critical.

Due to the unique nature of the blood supply to the human nose and surrounding area, it is feasible, although exceedingly unlikely, for regressive infection from the nasal area to spread to the brain. 

If the skin inside this triangle is broken, like from a cut or popped pimple, bacteria can enter the body and cause infection, which has a very high chance of spreading to the brain. Due to its proximity to critical portions of the brain, the infection can quickly lead to serious complications, including cavernous sinus thrombosis, meningitis, brain abscess, or even death. Staph infection is one of the major infections in the danger triangle.

Health Implication of Infections in the Danger Triangle

Cavernous sinus thrombosis is one of the major complications that affect the brain caused by these infections that result in blood clots in the sinus. This poses serious health issues and increases the risks of:

  • Brain infection
  • Paralysis of the facial nerves, including the eye muscles which can lead to vision loss
  • Meningitis
  • Stroke
  • Possible death

How To Prevent Infections in the Danger Triangle

Though the invention of antibiotics has made infections in this area unusual, prevention of the infection altogether is best advised. These infections can be prevented via the following hygiene habits:

  • Avoid popping zits.
  • Avoid hands touching the face frequently, and wash make-up brushes often.
  • Avoid going to bed with makeup on.
  • Avoid picking the nose; use a tissue to clean the nose instead. 
  • Don’t pluck nose hairs; trim instead.
  • Some teeth sit within the danger triangle; therefore, good dental hygiene helps to prevent abscesses.
  • Moisturize your face regularly to prevent cracking or peeling.

Treatment possibilities

One effective way of preventing infections within the danger triangle is by contacting a board-certified practitioner. Furthermore, if an unusual pimple or boil is noticed, it should be left alone, monitored closely, and observed frequently. Seek the medical attention of an experienced dermatologist if you are unsure of the condition. 

Early diagnosis and treatment are best to prevent the possibility of an infection from spreading to the brain. The expertise of a board-certified physician should be utilized for safe treatment options such as antibiotics injections. These treatments need the expertise of a physician who is highly trained in these procedures to prevent further complications.