Dry, chafed skin on the nose is very common after a bout with a cold, flu, allergy symptoms or sinus infection. After a week or so of frequent nose blowing and wiping, the skin on and around the nose frequently becomes very dry, red, flaky and tender. While this sort of irritation and dryness is generally short-lived and no danger to health, it can be very uncomfortable and unsightly. However, with a bit of extra care and attention, you can help that dry, damaged skin heal a bit more quickly than it would on its own.
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Constant friction to the skin, such as the frequent wiping and rubbing of the nose that occurs with nasal congestion, causes damage and irritation to the top layer of skin, removing protective skin oils and allowing skin's moisture to escape. An illness, such as the common cold or flu, tends to dehydrate the body, compounding the problem. Additionally, cold and flu season typically descends during the winter months, when according to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, the skin looses moisture more readily due to the affects of central heating and winter weather.
Dry, chafed skin on the nose can appear red and raw and be painful to the touch. Flaking or peeling of the skin on and around the nose may occur and in cases of severe irritation, skin can crack and bleed.
Skin that has been irritated to the point of chafing often becomes very sensitive, reacting to products that contain fragrances or other potentially irritating substances. The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology recommends washing dry, irritated with a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser that contains no harsh ingredients, and using lukewarm water, rather than hot to prevent further drying and irritation. Pat gently to dry, then immediately apply a thick fragrance-free moisturizer to seal moisture into the skin. AOCD also recommends drinking plenty of water to help hydrate skin from within and using a humidifier in the home to add moisture to dry air.
Applying a little preventative care to the sensitive skin on and around the nose at the onset of cold symptoms can prevent uncomfortable and unsightly chafing. Using unscented facial tissues or a handkerchief for nose wiping may lessen irritation. Moisturize the area frequently to ward off dryness and irritation and avoid harsh cosmetics or skin care products. Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration that can affect the health as well as the skin.
Consult your doctor if dry, chafed skin on the nose does not respond to home treatment or signs of infection appear. These can include swelling, increased pain or tenderness, oozing of pus or liquid and skin that feels hot to the touch. According to MayoClinic.com, bacteria can enter through openings in cracked, dry skin, causing bacterial skin infections that can become serious if left untreated.