This Is Why You Get Dry Skin Around Your NoseDecember 22, 2022
Dry skin doesn’t stick to just one area of your body. It can arise in patches and pop up in very specific areas — like around your nose. As random as it may seem, there are several reasons why the skin around your nose becomes comparatively drier than the other areas of your face, especially during the winter. To get to the bottom of what causes dry skin around the nose, keep reading.
What Causes Dry Skin Around Your Nose?
Cause #1: Environmental Factors
When temperatures drop, it can cause the area around your nose to dry up, even if the rest of your skin remains supple. “The outside skin of the nose can be dry and peeling even though the rest of the skin is hydrated due to exposure to the environment,” says Dr. Elizabeth Houshmand, a board-certified dermatologist and Skincare.com consultant based in Dallas, Texas. A lack of humidity in the air can also contribute to dry skin.
Cause #2: Indoor Heating and Hot Showers
When it’s freezing outside, we can’t blame you for dialing up the heat on your thermostat and inside your shower — but just know that doing so can zap your skin of moisture. “Often when it is cold outside, the increased use of indoor heating can be drying on the skin,” says Dr. Marisa Garshick, a board-certified dermatologist and Skincare.com consultant based in New York City. “Other factors such as hot showers can also disrupt the skin barrier, leaving the skin susceptible to moisture loss and worsening dryness, irritation and sensitivity.”
Cause #3: Sun Exposure
Another big factor? Sun exposure. If your nose is exposed to harmful UVA and UVB rays, it can cause skin to burn and, consequently, flake and peel. A sunburn on your nose may also lead to more concerning factors than just dry skin. “Actinic photodamage can cause damage to your skin cells over time, and can present as dry, flaking spots on the nose that won’t go away,” says Dr. Houshmand. These spots run the risk of becoming precancerous. Should you see any irregular patches on your skin, whether on your nose or on any other part of your body, consult a medical professional.
Cause #4: Allergies or Colds
Allergies and colds can strike any time of the year, and they often lead to a lot of nose blowing. If this happens frequently enough, it could irritate the skin around your nose. “Constant tissue use and nose blowing can irritate the skin on the nose and may cause peeling,” says Dr. Houshmand.
Cause #5: Drying Skincare Ingredients
The use of drying skincare ingredients can lead to or worsen dryness around the nose. Watch out for ingredients such as salicylic acid, tea tree oil, black soap and products that contain denatured alcohol (also known as alcohol denat), says Kendra Joseph, a certified physician assistant of Schweiger Dermatology Group and Skincare.com consultant in New York City. Retinoids can also have drying side effects. While you don’t need to give up these skincare ingredients entirely, if your nose is looking dry, it may be wise to either decrease your use or make sure you’re only using one drying product in your routine at a time (i.e., only use a retinoid and skip any drying acids, or alternate the days you use the ingredients).
Cause #6: Natural Aging
As we age, our skin naturally starts to produce less sebum, says Joseph. We also start to produce fewer lipids, which are the building blocks responsible for adding moisture to our skin, and fewer ceramides. “By your 30s, you’ve lost about 40% of your skin’s natural ceramides, and by your 40s, that number goes up to 60%,” Dr. Melissa Levin, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Entiere Dermatology in New York City, previously told Skincare.com.
Cause #7: Underlying Medical Conditions
The reason the skin around your nose may be drying out can be deeper than just a cold or the weather. Rosacea and seborrheic dermatitis — both forms of skin inflammation — are conditions associated with dried-out skin. Another potential reason is eczema, a condition that commonly causes patches of dry skin to form in the same area.
How to Get Rid of Dry Skin on and Around Your Nose
Those dry flakes you’re seeing on your skin are actually dead skin cells. Aside from being challenging for makeup application, the build-up of these dead cells on the skin’s surface can clog your pores and prompt a breakout. To help get rid of them and avoid the risk of blemishes forming, regular exfoliation is key. We recommend using a chemical exfoliant over a physical exfoliant, as chemical formulas tend to be more gentle. Try applying the L'Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 5% Glycolic Acid Peeling Toner one to two times a week — it gently exfoliates with glycolic acid and soothes with aloe vera.
Use a Hyaluronic Acid Serum
There are plenty of products formulated specifically to rehydrate dry skin, including hyaluronic acid. It sucks in moisture and can leave skin appearing plumper and more dewy. The IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Lines Hyaluronic Acid Serum also works to help smooth the look of fine lines. Editor’s tip: Apply hyaluronic acid to damp, rather than dry, skin to take in maximum moisture.
Apply a Rich Moisturizer
Moisturizers are key in soothing existing flakes and preventing future dryness. We love the Youth to the People Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream, a rich, restorative cream that was made especially with dry and sensitive skin types in mind. Inside the formula, you’ll find squalane, jojoba, shea butter and a calming peptide complex to keep dry skin in check.
Top Your Skin With an Ointment
In areas where your skin is particularly dry or flaky, like around your nose, consider topping your moisturizer with a heavy-duty ointment or balm. One great option is the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Advanced Barrier Cream, an intensely hydrating treatment that focuses on repairing the skin’s moisture barrier. You can use this in place of a regular moisturizer or as a targeted dryness relief treatment.
For a drugstore ointment, we’re partial to the CeraVe Healing Ointment, which has been accepted by the National Eczema Association to soothe eczema-prone skin.
How to Prevent Dry Skin on and Around Your Nose
Wear Protective Clothing
If you’re in extremely cold temperatures or exposed to the sun, be sure to wear clothing that can protect the skin around your nose. Dr. Houshmand suggests a scarf for colder outdoor temperatures. For warmer climates, treat yourself to a sun hat or visor to make sure your entire face is protected.
Plug in a Humidifier
“Using a humidifier supports your body maintaining a healthy skin barrier and, in turn, you will notice less dryness, flaking, redness and even breakouts,” Dr. Dendy Engelman, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City and Skincare.com expert, previously told Skincare.com. “If areas like the nose or mouth become dry or cracked, then it allows for bacteria and infection, but humidifiers keep these areas moist and healthy.” She recommends plugging yours in at night, but you can also use it as you’re completing your skincare routine or even while you’re working if you sit at a desk. The Hey Dewy Portable Facial Humidifier is $55 and an editor favorite.
The importance of washing your face every day is no joke, but there is such a thing as overdoing it with cleanser. In fact, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe previously told Skincare.com that over-washing is the number one mistake she sees in her skincare patients. “Any time that your skin feels really tight, dry and squeaky clean after cleansing, it probably means that you’re killing off some of your good bugs,” she said. Instead of cleansing morning and night, try spraying on a face mist or washing your face with just lukewarm water in the morning. When you use a cleanser at night, make sure to reach for a gentle formula, such as the CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser.
Again, moisturizing is essential for keeping dry skin at bay. Even if you don’t have time to apply a hydrating toner or serum after you cleanse, you should always apply a moisturizer to damp, clean skin.
Look for Fragrance-Free Skincare
“When the skin is dry and the skin barrier is disrupted, it can be more susceptible to allergy and irritation from fragrances,” Dr. Garshick previously told Skincare.com. Not all skin types experience irritation from products with fragrance, but if your skin is on the sensitive side, it’s a good tip to keep in mind. We compiled a list of a few of our favorite fragrance-free skincare picks here.
Sunscreen application is required year-round. Just because the sun may not be as present in the winter doesn’t mean its harmful rays won’t negatively affect your skin. Make sure you’re applying broad-spectrum sunscreen every day — rain or shine, cold or hot. The SkinCeuticals Daily Brightening UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 30 protects your skin and contains glycerin to help retain moisture.