Along with cooler air and more time spent indoors surrounded by artificial heat comes the chance for a complexion concern known intimately by many: dry skin around the nose. While cooler air can dry out your skin from head to toe, the area surrounding your nose may be particularly susceptible to becoming dehydrated. Pair that with the fact that, generally speaking, people blow their noses more when it’s chilly outside, dryness is nearly inevitable.
For this reason, we figured it’d be pretty helpful to sit down with a couple of dermatologists to discuss the best ways to help heal dry skin around the nose. After all, while dryness might not be the biggest, most pressing issue in modern history, in terms of beauty and self-care, it can feel like a pretty big deal.
Meet the Expert
- Dr. Y. Claire Chang is a New York-based board-certified cosmetic dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in Manhattan.
- Dr. Michele Green is a board-certified dermatologist based in New York.
So, without further ado, keep reading to check out what the pros suggest when dryness crops up around the nose.
Be Mindful of Harsh Ingredients (Like Retinol or Physical Scrubs)
Whenever you have irritated or extremely dry skin, it’s a good idea to cut back on any harsh ingredients so as to not exacerbate the issue. “If using retinoids, you may want to hold off for several days until the dry skin is improved,” according to Dr. Y. Claire Chang, a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in Manhattan, New York.
Retinoids aren't the only harsh ingredients to be aware of though. It's a good idea to steer clear of excessive use of salicylic acid, which while effective for oily and acne-prone skin types may be especially drying during periods of dryness.
Try a Calming Cream
The cooler the temperatures are outside, the warmer you're bound to set your thermostat indoors. Together, these two extreme climates make for a seriously dehydrating environment for your skin. And, you know what that means: dry skin around your nose.
Since dry skin around the nose is often accompanied by increased irritation, board-certified cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Michele Green says that calming creams—like Eucerin Skin Calming Cream— can help the inflamed area. “They are specifically formulated for sensitive skin and are fragrance free,” she explains. “Calming cream helps reduce irritations and stress-related redness. They also aid in helping to strengthen the skin's natural protective barrier, while helping improve the skin's natural irritation threshold.”
Don’t Over-Moisturize (or Over-Cleanse... or Over-Exfoliate)
In addition to knowing what to apply, it’s worthwhile to know what to avoid, too.
“When it comes to skincare too much of a good thing is usually not a good thing,” Green says. “If you have 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.” What’s more, if you wash your face too often, the skin around your nose can dry out, so cut back on that too, washing no more than twice a day, using a gentle cleanser in the process.
But that's not all. Over-moisturizing can mess with your complexion, too. (We know: counter-intuitive.) Nevertheless, as much as you may want to slather the dry skin around your nose in gobs of moisturizer, you really ought to opt for a thinner layer, as over-doing it might make your skin freak out even more, with breakouts, irritation, and additional redness. For that reason, always remember, when it comes to skincare: Less is more.
Look for Moisturizers Rich in the Right Ingredients
Knowing that quality moisturizers are the first line of defense against dryness, it helps to know what makes a moisturizer top-notch in the first place. According to Chang, ingredients like ceramides and petroleum jelly are particularly healing for the skin. “Ceramides are a natural lipid that helps repair the skin’s protective barrier,” she explains. “Petroleum jelly is an occlusive ointment that can lock in moisture and repair the skin.”
Additionally, Green says to find products formulated with glycerin and hyaluronic acid, as both are known for deeply hydrating the skin. What’s more, she says to always opt for the cream version over the lotion. “Creams are thicker and can work sooner on repairing the dry skin around the nose,” she explains. “Just like the moisturizer, apply it on slightly damp skin.”
Apply Aquaphor to Address Seasonal Dryness
As Green points out, Aquaphor is made mostly of petroleum (“a blend of mineral oils and waxes”), lanolin (“a greasy emollient that’s derived from sheep’s wool”) and glycerin (“a gentle hydrator that pulls moisture from the air into your skin”), all of which work together to prevent moisture loss and protect your skin from outside irritants. “Aquaphor prevents water from evaporating from your face, helping to improve your skin barrier and keep it healthy,” she explains. “By using Aquaphor, it will protect the skin to enhance the natural healing process while restoring smooth, healthy skin.”
Thanks to its rich makeup, she says it’s best to apply a thin layer on areas of concern as the final step of your skincare routine, following your moisturizer.
Consider a Recovery Cream
Like calming creams, recovery creams can work a world of good for dry skin around the nose. “When your skin barrier is compromised, it allows for bacteria to enter the skin and cause irritation, so take proper precaution during your skincare routine,” Green says, noting to transition to cool water when washing your face, avoid harsh cleansers, and use a recovery cream—like Avene’s Skin Recovery Cream—to moisturize immediately post-rinse.
“Your first line of defense against this nose flaking is a good moisturizer,” she explains. “Not only does it help to repair the moisture barrier in skin, it also soothes the itchiness and discomfort associated with dryness. Recovery creams will moisturize and soothe dry, red, and damaged skin.”
Place a Humidifier in Your Room
Another way to cater to dry skin around your nose is to ensure that there’s not only enough moisture in the skincare products that you use but in the air surrounding you, too. The best way to pump up the hydration in your home is to add a humidifier—like Hey Dewy's Portable Facial Humidifier ($39)—to your space.
“Having a humidifier will aid and protect the skin from being extra dry and chapped,” Green says. “Humidifiers are particularly helpful during winter months or in drier areas with less humidity in the air. If you can't seem to find the source of your dry, flaky situation, a humidifier will actively hydrate your skin as you sleep.”
Consume Foods That Are Rich in Omega 3 and Antioxidants
You are what you eat and when it comes to your skin, Green says that means you want to stock your diet with fish like mackerel and salmon to benefit from their omega 3 content, as well as antioxidant-rich foods including green tea, dark chocolate, and turmeric. “These will keep dry skin at bay in the long run,” she says.
Consider a DIY Option With Common Pantry Ingredients
You don’t have to run to the store every time you notice a touch of dryness around your nose. Instead, Green says you can take a trip to your pantry. “For additional care during the winter season, you may also try home remedies such as applying extra virgin coconut oil or olive oil, shea butter, and jojoba oil around the nose,” she says. “The nutrients in these oils are natural moisturizers that can repair dry and flaky skin around the nose.”
A Final Word
As beneficial as these remedies have been for folks all over the world, there’s always the chance that they won’t be promising for each and every complexion on the planet. For this reason, if dry skin around your nose persists, Chang says your best bet is to meet with a board-certified dermatologist to rule out any other skin conditions that could be making the dryness worse. “Seborrheic dermatitis can present with dry, flaky, and red skin around the nose and can be treated with topical antifungal creams,” she explains. “Photodamage can present with dry, rough skin around the nose and may require further treatments, like resurfacing lasers or cryotherapy. Rosacea can present with flushing, redness, dryness, and texture change around the nose.” By ruling out any of these causes—which may require alternative treatments—Chang says you’ll be able to address the dry skin around your nose from a more holistic stance.
What causes dry skin around the nose?
Dry skin around the nose can have a range of root causes, from dehydration to sun damage to something more serious, like dermatitis.
Can you treat dry skin yourself?
You can start treating dry skin around your nose by reaching for an over-the-counter calming cream, such as Aquaphor or Eucerin, and using humidifiers in your room to ensure the environment is conducive to hydration.
What should you do if dry skin persists?
If you can't battle your dry skin on your own, see a doctor, as it may be a cause of an underlying condition such as photodamage or seborrheic dermatitis.