iStock/Kmonroe2It’s bad enough that you need to carry wads of tissues with you at all times when you’re sick, but the peeling, red skin around your nose makes you feel even grosser.
Tissues causes friction that rubs your nose raw. Plus, weirdly enough, a wet sniffer can mean dry skin. “You’ve got mucus dripping down into the skin, and that makes the skin wet, and as it evaporates, it causes more dryness,” says Cameron Rokhsar, MD, FAAD, FAACS, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Using a humidifier is the best way to avoid dryness, says Ivy Lee, MD, a dermatologist based in Pasadena, California and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at UCLA. Alternatively, dial down the temperature to keep your heater from sucking moisture from the air, she says.
Taking irritating products out of your skincare regimen can keep you from looking like Rudolph. “The harsher the cleanser, the worst it is,” says Dr. Rokhsar. Avoid abrasive products, like cleansers with beads and scrubs, and hold off on the anti-aging products, says Dr. Lee. Wrinkle-fighting ingredients like retinol and vitamin A exfoliate the skin, which is the last thing the chapped area needs. Rubbing your face with a gentle cleanser should be enough to get rid of fine flaking, she says.
Be sure to choose the right moisturizers too. At night, a heavy ointment like Vaseline or Aquaphor can absorb into your skin while you sleep, suggests Dr. Lee. When you wake up, stick with a thick cream such as CeraVe Moisturizing Cream or Vanicream Moisturizing Skin Cream, she says. “Ointments are usually too greasy, and once you have them on, it’s tough to have makeup go smoothly over it,” she says. Avoid makeup mistakes that make skin look dry.
Don’t bother splurging on those tissues with lotion inside. The preservatives and fragrances might actually irritate a raw, red nose even more, says Dr. Lee. Instead, stick with plain tissues, following every Kleenex with a gentle moisturizer. “It’s easier said than done, but that can be very helpful,” she says.
Even if your nose starts chapping, you can breathe easy (or at least try to) knowing the skin should be back to normal in less than a week. “It’s something that heals really quickly,” says Dr. Lee. “You just want to create the right environment and skincare regiment for that.”