Our skin has a way of turning against us in the dead of winter—dry rough patches and redness are common complaints. The nose is a particularly sensitive area in cold-weather months. If redness around the nose is something you've been struggling with, keep in mind that the redness is there for a reason. The most important thing is to determine why it's there and treat the underlying cause—rather than cover up the problem with concealers or powders that could aggravate the situation. If you're concerned about persistent redness around the nose, it is best to consult with a dermatologist who can diagnose your issue.
We reached out to Beverly Hills dermatologist Ava Shamban, MD, founder of AVA MD Dermatology and Skin Five, and celebrity esthetician Kát Rudu, founder of Kát Rudu Pure Biotic Skincare, to talk more about the causes and share some at-home remedies to help relieve the irritation.
Meet the Expert
Ava Shamban, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Skin Five. Shamban sits on the editorial board for the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, is an assistant professor at UCLA, and published a book on a complete approach to healing the skin.
Meet the Expert
Celebrity esthetician Kát Rudu is a favorite of Kate Beckinsale, Mena Suvari, Shalom Harlow, and Simon Cowell and his lady love Lauren Silverman, and she provides treatments in her studios in Venice Beach and Manhattan Beach, California. She has her own namesake product line: Kát Rudu Pure Biotic.
Some of the most common causes of redness around the nose are rosacea, perioral dermatitis, and allergies. "Both perioral dermatitis and rosacea can have tiny little pustules on a red patch," describes Shamban. "Rosacea may also have cysts and telangiectasia. Dermatitis may have a small number of white scales." Unless you're qualified to self-diagnose, it is best to see a dermatologist immediately if you suspect the redness around your nose includes any of these additional ailments.
What are Pustulates and Telangiectasia?
Pustulates are small blisters or pimples. Telangiectasia is a collection of spider veins. While neither sounds particularly appealing, they're naturally forming—plus, being able to identify them is the first step in correcting them.
Even when not a true rosacea, Shamban says the "root" of redness can still be a series of small capillaries that are broken in that area around the nose. "We have a large number of these small network systems around the side of the nose, and they can be temperamental in that capillaries are possibly affected by a whole host of factors, including temperature changes, hormones or pregnancy, sun exposure, alcohol consumption, or injury to the area," she explains. "I cannot stress enough the importance of sun protection around the nose, especially with minerals like zinc and titanium."
Once a dermatologist has examined the redness around your nose, they will be able to prescribe treatments. "Often we treat them with a laser IPL [intense pulsed light] or sclerotherapy injections to dissipate the redness. Either can be quite effective," Shamban says. "Intense pulsed light or pulse dye lasers are highly effective for capillaries in general and for the more serious rosacea condition with flushing, tiny little pustules, and/or cysts."
Invest in a Humidifier
"Use a humidifier at night while sleeping to ensure that skin does not get dried out," says Rudu. For additional relief, Rudu suggests adding essential oils or calming agents like lavender, chamomile, or cucumber into your humidifier for extra hydration and calming effects.
Avoid These Foods
Shamban explains that if the cause is rosacea, you want to avoid alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods, which aggravate and make the redness more prominent. "If the cause is oral dermatitis, this can be flared up by hormonal changes, so make sure to visit your gynecologist to treat those changes," says Shamban.
Apply a Cold Compress
Rudu and Shamban both agree cold compresses are a good way to keep redness and inflammation around the nose (and all over the face) at bay. "Avoid using hot water when washing the face or showering—use more tepid temperate water for the face," says Shamban. "And better yet, add a cold compress to your face routine."
Rudu also notes that chamomile tea presses are even better than water compresses. Learn how to make a chamomile tea compress by following these simple steps:
- Brew tea and place it in the fridge to cool.
- Soak a cloth in the cool tea.
- Squeeze out excess tea.
- Place the cool material over the irritated area.
Opt for an At-Home LED Light Treatment
LED light treatments with blue light, which are used on acne patients, also serve to mitigate redness from capillaries, rosacea, and dermatitis. "In office, the light-emitting diode protocols are more effective, but there are also some home devices or masks that are effective tools in your fight against flush," Shamban says.
Try a CBD Serum
Kát Rudu Pure Biotic carries a CBD serum called Sanctuary Glow Hemp Serum ($79) that is "a calming agent, and it is amazing to fight redness and inflammation in the dermis," says Rudu. "In office, a cooling oxygen (or oxygen CBD Serum blast) keeps skin cool and combats redness."
Add a Topical Solution
Rudu suggests hydrocortisone, which can reduce the swelling, itching, and redness that can occur with various conditions. "Dab around the nose at night and before your morning skincare routine," she says.
Shamban also suggests looking for calming topicals, such as niacinamide. "NIA24 is a range we carry in our clinics that is backed by 40-plus years of research and is clinically tested to strengthen the skin barrier and target damage and premature aging, and it is ideal for reducing redness both from conditions, such as rosacea and capillaries or inflammation and irritation," says Shamban. "It is based on a pro-niacin molecule, and there are cleansers, serums, creme moisturizers, hydrators, and sunscreens in the range, all of which work well."
Redness Due to Allergies or a Cold? Use Moisturizing Tissues
Redness around the nose can also be related to dry skin, allergies, or a summer or winter cold that has you incessantly wiping and irritating the area. Use tissues with moisturizer built in, like aloe vera and/or vitamin E, which can be soothing and help to eliminate the redness. Shamban explains that for underlying allergies like hay fever, an antihistamine (like Sudafed or Claritin, for example) is a preferred treatment.
Incorporate Yoga into Your Daily Routine
Because stress is a major trigger for redness, Shamban suggests practicing relaxation techniques to keep stress away. Incorporating yoga, breathing, and meditation into your day-to-day can never hurt and may reduce redness. So if you're feeling stressed and looking a little red, going Zen just might be the answer.
Mask Redness with This Ancient Healing Remedy
Gotu kola, also known as tiger grass, is an ancient healing remedy that is masterful at masking redness. "It is [known] to calm irritation and stimulate the skin’s wound-healing response. A super multitasker, it is an herb that repairs and soothes helping to eliminate any inflammation and flushing or residual redness," Rudu says.
Take a Probiotic Supplement
Probiotics that are both ingested and applied topically can help with redness, Rudu explains. They have great anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties and prevent triggers to inflammation acting as a calming agent. "Topically, probiotics sit on the skin surface preventing skin cells from touching any bacteria that would cause an immune system response of inflammation, which can cause redness and a flushing effect," she says.
Use Hypoallergenic Cleansers and Moisturizers
For lifestyle changes that can help reduce your chance of redness around the nose, Shamban recommends using gentle hypoallergenic cleansers and moisturizers. If you're looking for added relief, "cucumbers soaked in a small amount of water mixed into a bland moisturizer can be helpful," suggests Shamban. "Alternatively, having a facial mask made with yogurt honey and oatmeal can also be soothing."
Rudu says "adding a moisturizer or serum with a reflective property like pearl powder is a great deflector, balancing redness in the key area around the nose and reflecting light."
Ed. note: If you're experiencing redness around the nose and it's not a one-time flare-up from staying out in the cold too long or irritation from a runny nose, it is always best to consult a medical professional first before trying any other remedy.