There are worse things in life than dry skin around the nose. However, when we're inspecting our pores in front of a magnified mirror at 11:30 p.m. or striving for a silky-smooth foundation look, consider us offended—and completely befuddled. After all, we're diligent about our skincare routines (which include some top-notch moisturizers) and other areas of the face like our chin, cheeks, and foreheads manage to maintain a hydrated, and sometimes even greasy, homeostasis. To which we say why though?
So since winter is upon us and we're getting downright sick of watching the skin around our nose dry and flake like the drought-ridden likes of the Mojave, we decided to consult some experts: Renée Rouleau and Gina Mari (both of whom are leading celebrity estheticians) and Breana Wheeler, board certified nurse practitioner at Facile Dermatology + Boutique. And, as it turns out, there could be many factors at play. From products to allergies, keep reading to learn the cause—and solution—for that stubborn dry skin around your nose.
Why it happens
For starters, Wheeler explains that in comparison to other parts of the face, the nostril area (and the sides of our mouth) have fewer sebaceous glands. Therefore, we have less of the oil that naturally keeps our skin hydrated in this region. So yes, biology is already working against us, but to add fuel to the fire, all three experts agreed on plenty of other factors that can play a role regarding the dry skin around our nose.
If you are sick or have allergies: According to both Rouleau and Wheeler, someone who is sick or has allergies might experience additional dryness around their nose, especially if you're blowing your nose often. "Blowing your nose frequently will strip your skin of its natural oils and will remove any moisturizer that would help dry the skin," Wheeler explains.
If your skincare products get trapped: It's easy for excess product to settle or get trapped around the nose, and if the formulas are drying, it can make matters worse. "When someone puts on active treatment products, such as an acid serum or retinol, larger amounts of product can sometimes pool or collect and settle in that area easily. This causes the product to become too strong, setting off an irritation response, and ultimately leading to dryness," Rouleau says.
If you've been out in the sun or dry, cold weather: We're already familiar with the dehydrating effects of freezing temperatures, but as Rouleau points out, sun exposure isn't doing our dry skin any favors, either: "If there's any oil being secreted in this area it can degrade sunscreens and cause the sides of the nose to get more UV damage. Ultimately, this can lead to flaky skin."
If you're using harsh or stripping skincare products: These types of products will definitely increase dryness, Mari warns. "We have a lot of clients who use Retin-A, which is fabulous, however, it can it can also rob your skin of moisture. I always tell my clients when using Retin-A to start off slowly, and then gradually increase how much you're applying. Using it every day may be too strong for some people, which can cause that stubborn dryness."
If you're not minding your moisturizer: Apparently, there's a fine line when it comes to too much or too little moisturizer. "Moisturizing products are what you want to focus on when dealing with dry skin. However, you don't want to layer too many products, less is more," says Mari.
And Rouleau agrees: "Make sure you are also using moisturizer diligently—it doesn't need to be too heavy of a moisturizer, as long as it is being used consistently. Plus, when you apply your treatment products be very careful not to get too much of it around the corners of the nose." Because as we mentioned above, an excess can lead to dry skin.
If you're over-exfoliating: When it comes to skincare (or really anything for that matter), too much of a good thing is usually not a good thing. "If you're someone who has been exfoliating a lot—thinking this is the solution to getting rid of flakiness—try exfoliating less to give the skin some time to repair," Rouleau advises.
So now that we know what can exacerbate and cause the dry skin around our nose, what products and treatments can help? According to our experts, it all comes down to some must-have products with some helpful tips and tricks along the way. Keep reading for their expert recommendations.
"Switch to cool water when washing your face, avoid harsh cleansers, and make sure you apply a moisturizer like this recovery cream immediately after washing," Wheeler advises. Rich with soothing, skin-loving ingredients like thermal spring water and amino acids, this pick boosts luminosity while also pacifying sensitive or damaged skin.
"Treatment-wise, I love doing microdermabrasion to help sluff off any dead skin, and afterward, I'll hydrate my skin with an oxygen treatment. However, my favorite product for when my skin is dry and irritated (especially during the winter months) is this calming cream. It’s very gentle and has helped decrease any dryness and/or irritation I might have," Mari says.
Since you don't want to overdo it on moisture, this refreshingly lightweight facial lotion from Renée Rouleau is just what a dry, flaky complexion craves. Chock-full of youth-enhancing ingredients like red marine algae and niacinamide, skin is blessed with radiance and an overall improvement in fine lines and wrinkles. (And as a bonus, it will never clog your pores.)
We've loved this multipurpose ointment for a while now, but according to Wheeler, it's also a handy tool to have in your arsenal when it comes to combating dry skin around the nose. "If you find yourself frequently blowing your nose due to allergies or a cold, dab a little Aquaphor on the dry areas on your nose to protect the area before it gets too dry."
If you're still suffering from dryness, Wheeler suggests placing a cool mist humidifier in your room to help hydrate your skin as you sleep. This cool sculptural one by Quooz also happens to be a dreamy diffuser.
Next up: Five essential oils for dry skin.