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Dr. Alpana Mohta Ranka, MD, DNB, IFAAD, is a triple-board-certified dermatologist with over 100 research publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

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Dry Skin Around Nose: Board-Certified Dermatologist Explains Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Updated: Jun 24

Dry skin around the nose can be a common dermatological concern affecting people of all ages. It is characterized by flaky, red, and crusty skin in the nasal area, often causing discomfort and cosmetic concerns. In this article, we will explore the causes, symptoms, and effective treatment options for dry skin around the nose.

Dry flaky skin around nose due to use of retinol
 

Table of Contents

 

Causes of Dry Skin Around Nose


1. Seborrheic Dermatitis


Seborrheic dermatitis is one of the most common causes of flakiness around the nose. These folds can be infected with a fungus called Malassezia which feeds on the sebum naturally present over our face. People with dandruff are predisposed to developing seborrheic dermatitis around the nose, eyelids, and the rest of the face.

Seborrheic melanosis is localized darkening of the skin in seborrheic areas, often associated with seborrheic dermatitis. It is a form of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation which affects individuals with darker skin tones. Treatment involves using topical anti-fungal agents like 2% ketoconazole and later adding lightening agents if needed.


2. Skin Actives like Chemical Peels or AHAs


Use of skin actives like chemical peels, serums, or other products containing retinol, alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) like glycolic acid, lactic acid, maleic acid, and beta hydroxy

acids (BHA) like salicylic acid and dicarboxylic acids like azelaic acid, may cause dryness, redness and burning sensations around the nose.

So, when you use these skin actives, avoid the nasolabial folds, like the areas near the crease of the nose, as these actives might accumulate in those regions and cause over-exfoliation.


Avoid the nasolabial fold when applying skin exfoliants to prevent dryness or flaking of the skin around the nose

Although these symptoms are temporary and often resolve within a week or so. These symptoms can be alleviated by regularly using moisturizers. For rapid relief, you can apply a thick layer of petroleum jelly over the affected area twice a day.

3. Over cleansing


Overwashing the face with harsh alkaline soaps or repeated usage of scrubs and chemical exfoliants can also strip the natural oils from the skin and lead to excessive dryness. At times these soaps or exfoliants might also stay stuck in the corners of the nose leading to cumulative contact dermatitis. That’s why it's advisable to properly cleanse your face and make sure that no residues of cleansers remain stuck in the corners of the nose.

4. Environmental Factors


Dry skin around the nose can be triggered by environmental factors such as low humidity, cold weather, and exposure to dry air. These conditions can cause the skin to lose moisture, leading to dryness and flaking.

Causes of Permanent Redness Around Nose

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that primarily affects the face, causing redness, flushing, and the development of small, visible blood vessels. While dryness is not a typical symptom of rosacea, it can occur in some cases, particularly in the areas around the nose folds. This dryness can occur due to various factors associated with rosacea, such as inflammation, disrupted skin barrier function, and altered sebum production.


Allergic reactions or contact dermatitis to substances like cosmetics, fragrances, or skin care products can cause dryness and redness around the nose. These reactions may also result in itchiness and irritation, further exacerbating the skin condition.


Cause of Dry Skin on Nose Bridge


Dryness on the nose bridge is a classical manifestation of atopic dermatitis. It is a form of eczema commonly seen in children and can cause dry skin on the nose and other areas of the body. The condition is characterized by inflammation and impaired skin barrier function. The dryness over the nose bridge seen in eczema is known as the "salute sign", which refers to the habit of rubbing or itching the nose frequently due to itchiness or discomfort, leading to further irritation and dryness of the skin.


Dry Skin Around Nose after Cold


Frequent nose blowing, excessive rubbing, or use of abrasive tissues during common colds can irritate the skin around the nose, leading to dryness and flaking. Additionally, exposure to irritants like smoke, pollution, or chemicals can also contribute to skin dryness.


Symptoms of Dry Skin Around the Nose


Flaking and Peeling


One of the common symptoms of dry skin around the nose is the presence of flakes and peeling skin. The skin may appear rough, scaly, and may even peel off in some cases.


Redness and Inflammation


Dry skin around the nose often exhibits redness and inflammation. The affected area may appear irritated, with increased sensitivity and tenderness.


Itchiness and Discomfort


Dry skin can cause itchiness, leading to a persistent urge to scratch the affected area. Continuous scratching can further damage the skin, making it more prone to infections.


Excessive Production of Oil


The excessive production of sebum, or seborrhoea, can lead to an accumulation of oil on the skin's surface. This excessive oiliness can trap dead skin cells, dirt, and other debris, leading to the formation of flakes around the nose.


How to Get Rid of Dry, Flaky Skin Around Nose With at Home Remedies


Moisturization


Regular and adequate moisturization is essential to combat dryness around the nose. Use fragrance-free, hypoallergenic moisturizers containing ingredients such as ceramides, hyaluronic acid, or glycerin. Apply the moisturizer after washing the

face and throughout the day, as needed. My top moisturizer recommendations for dry skin around the nose are Vanicream Moisturizing Cream, La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Moisturizer

Additionally, using a humidifier in your home can help add moisture to the air, benefiting your skin.


If the condition persists or worsens, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist for further evaluation and treatment.


A man applying a moisturizer on his face

Gentle Cleansing


Avoid harsh soaps, hot water, and excessive scrubbing, as these can worsen dryness. Instead, opt for mild, non-irritating cleansers specifically formulated for sensitive skin. Gently cleanse the face with a pH-balanced cleanser (pH 5-5.5), pay extra attention to the nose area, and rinse with lukewarm water. This is because the pH of the skin is between 5.4-5.9.

The CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser is my top recommendation for mild cleansing. It is a moisturizing and non-foaming cleanser infused with ceramides, glycerine, and hyaluronic acid, making it ideal for hydrating the skin around the nose.

Avoid Triggering Factors


Identify and avoid triggers that exacerbate dryness, such as cold weather, low humidity, or irritating substances. Protect the skin by using scarves or face masks in harsh weather conditions, and choose fragrance-free, hypoallergenic products.

How to Manage Seborrheic Dermatitis Around Nose

Topical Antifungals


If the dryness around the nose is caused by seborrheic dermatitis and seborrheic melanosis, the treatment involves the use of antifungal creams. Commonly used antifungal creams are ketoconazole, miconazole, clotrimazole and ciclopirox cream. They help reduce inflammation, itching, and scaling associated with these conditions.

Only a few topical antifungals, like Lotrimin AF Ringworm Cream Clotrimazole 1% and PURESKIN Seborrheic Dermatitis Cream Ketoconazole, are available over the counter. For all other topical medications, you must consult a dermatologist.


Topical Steroids and Anti-inflammatory Creams


In cases where the dryness and redness are severe, a dermatologist may prescribe topical corticosteroids or anti-inflammatory creams to alleviate inflammation and promote skin healing. However, these medications should be used under medical supervision.

How to Get Rid of Redness Around the Nose Crease


The most common cause of redness around the nose creases is rosacea. Managing the redness and dryness of the nose caused by rosacea involves a combination of lifestyle modifications and medical treatments.


  • Avoid triggers such as hot beverages, spicy foods, and extreme temperatures.

  • Regularly use sunscreen with an SPF 50 or higher and a PA++++ rating to prevent flushing. Mineral sunscreens containing zinc oxide, iron oxide, or titanium dioxide are superior to chemical sunscreens for rosacea-prone skin. My top recommendations are Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen and Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunscreen SPF 60.

  • Use a low-concentration azelaic acid solution like the Naturium Azelaic Topical Acid 10% or Paula's Choice BOOST 10% Azelaic Acid Booster Cream Gel once a day at night to relieve the redness.

  • Medical treatments include topical medications like metronidazole gel or cream, or ivermectin cream to reduce inflammation and redness.

  • In some cases, oral medications such as doxycycline or isotretinoin may be prescribed to control symptoms.


If symptoms persist despite medical management and lifestyle modifications, your dermatologist might recommend laser (like pulsed dye laser) or intense pulsed light therapy to permanently reduce the redness caused by dilatation or expansion of blood vessels in rosacea.


You may also try red light therapy, which could be beneficial in reducing the redness.


Before you go...


Dry skin around the nose can be a bothersome condition, but with proper care and treatment, it can be effectively managed.


If you are using or want to use an AHA-based cream to improve the texture and achieve an even skin tone, you may want to read my article on glycolic acid creams.


And please don't forget to use sunscreen. Here's my complete guide so you can easily figure out which sunscreen to use: Best Sunscreen for Oily Skin, Dry Skin, and More: Dermatologist Recommended Complete Guide


If you ever need an expert dermatologist to help resolve your skincare queries, you know who to reach out to.

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