If you've been living with allergies, you probably know the obvious stuff by now -- don't take in stray cats, don't hang around in dusty attics, don't inhale deeply in smoking lounges. But that might not be enough. There could be hidden allergy triggers and irritants all around you that you don't know about. "Hidden allergens and irritants are a huge problem for people with allergies," says Hugh H. Windom, MD, an associate clinical professor of immunology at the University of South Florida. "The...
You may think pre-moistened wipes are gentler than plain-old tissue, but many diaper wipes or those made for removing makeup contain fragrance, detergents, or other chemicals that may further irritate cracked, dry skin, says Neil Schachter, MD, author of The Good Doctor’s Guide to Colds & Flu.
Use soft tissue or toilet paper instead. Those with aloe may feel especially gentle.
2. Pat, Don’t Wipe
When you do blow your nose, pat your nostrils and the skin around your nose dry instead of rubbing or wiping, says New York dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD.
When you pat, you get less friction and skin irritation than if you rub. That saves you some pain later.
3. Moisturize Multiple Times a Day
Several times a day -- after every blow, even -- dab a small amount of a gentle petrolatum-based product around your nostrils and onto any irritated patches of skin around your nose.
“Ointments are more helpful than creams or lotions, because they form a waterproof seal that lets the skin underneath heal itself,” Zeichner says.
4. Watch for an Infection
If you have deep skin cracks around the nose that don’t seem to heal, or if they become covered with a yellowish or honey-colored crust, you may have a skin infection.
If you think that’s the case, dab on a small amount of antibiotic ointment to the area three times a day, Zeichner says. It will moisturize and fight germs at the same time.
5. Flush More So You Can Blow Less
Rinse your nasal passages with a gentle saline (salt water) solution twice a day, morning and night, Schachter says. This will ease your congestion and rinse mucus out of your nasal passages without you having to blow your nose.
“Anything that can lower skin friction will keep the nose in better shape,” Zeichner says. (And remember, pat dry afterward -- don’t wipe.)