Redness, Dryness, and Flakiness around nose area

My nasal area often looks quite irritated: red, dry, and flaky, mostly around the tip and under the nose (area between nose and lips and directly above my lips). Recently, the skin flakiness has become more prominent and it is making me extremely self-conscious. Never a skin picker before, I now find myself doing it somewhat often.

I have tried numerous topical oils and moisturizers with various healing herbs et al. in them and nothing seems to really help. Thought maybe people on this list might have some fresh insights. I'm really frustrated ~ I have tons of wrinkles and lots of other features that aren't in line with conventional notions of female beauty, and I couldn't care less, but this issue really bothers me and doesn't feel all that great either! Thank you.

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Maybe you’ve already tried this, but lanolin? I’m nursing, and have found it to be helpful for other areas as well. 

I had success with taking Curcumin.

It would help if we knew what you already tried; it's hard to tell if you have an allergic reaction, need more moisturizers, or have an underlying condition.

If you just need a thicker moisturizer, you could use petroleum jelly or coconut oil, or a simple salve made with beeswax and olive oil (check etsy).

If you have some sort of inflammatory condition, I suggest using either evening primrose oil or borage oil, both internally (capsules) and externally.  I know there's a borage oil moisturizer you can get at Whole Foods, and Aubrey used to make an Evening Primrose oil. 

Also, avoid moisturizers with DMA and the parabens--I find they tend to cause irritation.

Good luck!

This may seem like an odd question, but do you have allergies?  If so and there is constant underlying slight congestion and/or runny nose, this could be a contributing factor.  In which case, I would suggest a daily sinus rinse with a neti pot or sinus rinse method of your preference.  At night, consider applying a layer of Aquaphor.

I have extremely sensitive skin and spent years with red, irritated skin with regular bouts of eczema.  I have been using MyChelle products for a few years now and my face is in the best condition it's ever been in - it feels good, no itching, flaking, etc.  I wash my face only once a day with a MyChelle cleaner, followed by an eye and face serum and hydrating mist, sunblock as needed.  I add moisturizer only when needed in the winter or after excess sun exposure.  I do not wear make up other than on eyes and lips.  It's not a beauty thing for me, it's a heath and comfort thing.

Good luck finding your solution!

I sympathize and empathize with what you are dealing with. :(  I have dealt with severe eczema and psoriasis-like dry flaky skin in several places off and on for years. It is hard to not "pick and peel" at dry flaky skin, no matter what the cause, when it is so bothersome! My first thought is that it would be helpful for you to get a diagnosis if it is possible for you to go see a dermatologist. It could be eczema, it could be psoriasis, it could also be fungal-related. The caveat is that dermatologists will probably just want to push a steroid cream on you and that it can be difficult even for experts to differentiate between skin conditions. Depending on how you feel about that, it may be worthwhile trying the prescriptions. I never had luck with most "natural" remedies either, like you... they just didn't do much for me most of the time. And, the "slather on petroleum jelly" treatment never worked for me either. BUT, honestly, I have to admit that the steroid cream/ointment treatments were never very effective for me either-- One would seem to work for awhile, then it would stop working and my skin would get worse, and I would have to try something different. What finally worked for me? As crazy as it may sound, a combination of 3 products finally seemed to make things better for me, along with using a less drying soap at all times (I use California Baby brand's "Super Sensitive" whenever I wash the affected skin, always): 1), a chinese medicinal treatment called "Yiganerjing" (you can find it on 2), "RashBlock" by Honey Colony / 3rd Rock (, and, 3) Forces of Nature brand "Eczema Control" homeopathic oil blend. I used the RashBlock and Yiganerjing together several times daily when my skin would get really bad and if I had any open sores that were bleeding, minorly infected or not healing well (I can't use Neosporin or other antibiotic ointments - I am allergic to them). This combination seriously worked miracles for me when my skin was really dry, flaky and irritated, in a way that nothing else and no prescription ever had. As soon as I had healed up my sores or cracked skin, I would use the Yiganerjing only once daily or once every other to every few days, and use the Eczema Control oil blend about once daily to keep my skin moisturized. It only takes a drop or two of the oil blend each time, so even though it is a little expensive it lasts for a long time. This is still the routine I follow. At this point, I mostly just use the Eczema control oil, and use a little Yiganerjing sometimes mixed with the RashBlock if I start getting an outbreak of worse dryness or itchiness.

I'm not a doctor of course, but I hope that sharing my own experience and routine might help. I do still think that seeing a dermatologist first is a good idea if for no other reason than to try to get a diagnosis. Good luck, I hope it gets better soon! Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or want to chat. Dealing with dry skin sucks, I totally understand the frustration.

Sounds as though you have Rosacea. Many skin issues are due to gut issues. Try an elimination diet, for at least 30 days if not more, and see if it resolves, or improves. and reintroduce things 1 by 1. That way you can see what the root cause is rather than treating the symptom alone. 

Former Rosacea sufferer

After much suffering, I discovered that my seborrheic dermatis (around and on my nose) was caused by a food allergy. Specifically, in my case, to histamine. And by taking an antihistamine once a day it was cured.

I don't think it's an external skin condition, which is why creams and lotions (although hydrocortisone and/or tea tree oil help a bit) don't do much. I think it's an imbalance from inside your body, acting out on your skin.

I'd get a full allergy workup. Sometimes food allergies, in particular, don't present by your feeling ill or getting a runny nose -- they can present on your skin - i.e., hives, a rash, dermatitis. I'm convinced that rosacea is also an allergy of some sort. I started to get that, too, when I was taking prescription pain meds for my back. Stopping them brought back the pain, but the rosacea vanished.

And further, I'd recommend going to a traditional Chinese doctor and getting some kick-ass Chinese herbs. If you aren't man enough to boil up the foul smelling tea (much less drink it), they have pill forms you can take. I am far from an alternative medicine-touting hippie, but in my despair I have found that tradition Chinese medicine is a treasure trove, particularly for hard-to-diagnose auto-immune, or allergy related ailments.

When you hear the words, "Well, nobody really knows what causes that" from a western doctor, it might be time to consider a 4,000 year old medical science that uses many of the same herbs we put in our meds. Only from a more balanced perspective. Their m.o. is, balance the overall wellness of the body's systems -- not just attack the problem symptomatically.

Hope this helps.

It sounds like perioral dermatitis, which you can treat easily with antibiotics.  Good luck!

I have also suffered from this and just finished treating the area. In my case it’s a precancerous skin condition and unfortunately the treatment is not very fun. I applied a prescribed cream to the area which essentially eats away the old skin in order to force new skin to develop in the area. It became raw and formed scabs for a while but is now healing surprisingly fast. I highly recommend my dermatologist, Dr. McCalmont in El Cerrito, if you don’t already have one. Good luck! 

I believe I know what this is - I had this exact issue, and interestingly so did a friend on the East Coast. I was diagnosed when I was in my early 30s and it can still crop up occasionally (in my early 50s now). I went to 7 (!) highly regarded SF dermatologists before I found the solution. It is not actual rosacea and also not a food allergy or other allergy, or eczema. It's a kind of mold that grows on skin typically next to sides of nose and around mouth. If untreated it can cover the whole lower part of your face - it did mine after the 6th unsuccessful doc. The 7th doc explained the situ, said that skin is a barely understood organ to this day, and prescribed doxycyline antibiotic until it was gone. This was 20+ years ago and this is a very tough drug to take for a long time - but 2 months later I was completely cured for years. Every so often it would crop up and I would immediately take doxy for a few weeks. After MANY years of no outbreaks, it came again maybe 2 years ago and the drug they give you now is ORACEA - a very low dose of doxy that you can take for months or years with less side effects. This cured me completely and much more painlessly in about a month. The dermatologist I now use is - California Dermatology Care - Dr. William Ting in Walnut Creek. I found him very competent. I will also add that I use the Obagi Skincare System somewhat inconsistently, but I have also found that using this seems to eliminate the issue as well. Plus makes your skin look amazing!