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When seasonal allergies strike, your nose can really take a beating. A runny nose, congestion, and sneezing are among the most common allergy symptoms, and they can leave you with a red, sore, itchy nose.

Here are some ways to help protect, pamper, and soothe your nose.

Soothing Your Nose: Hydrate the Skin

A red, rough nose is the hallmark of an allergy sufferer. But it doesn’t have to be. Pampering the skin on and around your nose can help keep it feeling and looking healthy. “When your skin gets rough and dry, what it really needs is water,” says Nia Terezakis, MD, a dermatologist in New Orleans.

She recommends applying a little corn oil to the area. To help add moisture, she suggests applying the oil to wet skin with wet hands.

“The key is to make sure both your hands and face are wet first,” Terezakis says. Afterward, blot it very gently with a soft towel. “When you pat dry, you’re actually helping to push moisture into your skin,” she explains. Terezakis recommends using corn oil because it has less odor than other oils, though she says any type of vegetable oil will work.

Nasal Allergies and Your Nose: More on Moisturizing

You can also apply a moisturizer to your nose any time your skin is feeling rough or dry.

Ointments or oils seal in moisture best. Creams are generally a bit lighter, while lotions moisturize the least. A hypoallergenic moisturizer will be less likely to cause irritation.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to give your nose top treatment. Petroleum jelly works very well as a moisturizer.

Beware of using an antibacterial or pain relief ointment on your nose. “Some people use these products thinking that they’ll help, but they can actually make the irritation worse,” Terezakis says. “It’s important to remember that you’re treating a skin irritation, not an infection, which is what these products are for.”

Tips for Gentle Nose Blowing

If you’re spending a lot of time sneezing or wiping your nose, the type of tissue you use can also make a difference. “Choosing a soft tissue can really help,” Terezakis tells WebMD. You can experiment with different kinds to see what feels best to you. Try to avoid using rough paper towels or other scratchy types of paper on your skin, since these can be irritating.

While blowing your nose is a good way to get rid of extra mucus, take care not to blow too hard. Instead, blow gently, first through one nostril and then the other.

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