There are worse things in life than dry skin around your 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. So when the first sign of redness or flakes creep up along the sides of our nostrils, we say, "Why though?"
Since 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.
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. From products to treatments, keep reading to learn how to heal that stubborn dry skin around your nose and why it even happens in the first place.
Apply Aquaphor for Seasonal Dryness
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. Sounds familiar, right? But instead of avoiding the tissues altogether, just follow it up with a little ointment.
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 all over your body, including the area 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."
Use Calming Cream During Winter
We're already familiar with the dehydrating effects of freezing temperatures. The weather gets colder, and the skin all over your body (but around your nose in particular) gets drier and flakier. So what to do? Mari says treatment-wise, she loves doing microdermabrasion to help slough off all those dead skin flakes, followed by a hydrating oxygen treatment. If you don't have access to either, don't stress (after all, stress only leads to more skin issues). She also recommends an easily accessible cream to combat the dryness. "My favorite product for when my skin is dry and irritated (especially during the winter months) is this calming cream," she says. "It’s very gentle and has helped decrease any dryness and/or irritation I might have."
But winter isn't the only time of the year for stubborn dryness around the nose. If you've ever spent the day outside in the summer and wondered why your skin looks the way it does in the dead of winter (read: red and dry), it's possible that you also have the sun to blame. 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." Let this serve as another reminder to be diligent about reapplying your sunblock when the time strikes and to pay special attention to tricky spots, like the creases around your nostrils.
Moisturize, But Don't Overdo It
When it comes to skincare, we tend to think the more, the merrier. And when we come across an especially dry patch of skin around the nose, the tendency is to load up on the face lotion. But 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." If you have naturally oily skin, you don't need to use thick creams. Stick with your usual lightweight gel lotion, but be diligent about your application. "And when you apply your treatment products, be very careful not to get too much of it around the corners of the nose," she adds. Because as we mentioned above, an excess can lead to dry skin. Aim for applying a normal amount and evenly distributing it across your face.
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. It's so light that it won't clog your pores—a major bonus for those who are prone to breakouts.
Opt for Recovery Cream Over Harsh Skincare Products
As we mentioned before, 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. While it is necessary to regularly remove the buildup of dead skin cells, using too strong of a chemical exfoliator or using one too often will do more harm than good.
Additionally, harsh or stripping skincare products will definitely increase dryness, Mari warns. "We have a lot of clients who use Retin-A, which is fabulous, however, 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 regularly use exfoliators, combat the inevitable dryness with gentle, moisturizing products. 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. "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.
Place a Humidifier in Your Room
Because of the shape of your nose and contours around it, it's easy for the excess product to settle or get trapped in the nooks and crannies. And if those formulas are drying, it can make matters much 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. To remedy this, pay particular attention to how much product you're applying and aim for even distribution across the face.
If you're still suffering from dryness despite your best efforts, Wheeler suggests placing a cool mist humidifier in your room. These devices help increase the moisture content in the air and 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. This cool sculptural one by Quooz also happens to be a dreamy diffuser.