How to Treat Dry Nose from Chemo during the Holidays

Angela Christiansen|November 25, 2015

Dry Nose_Main

Do you suffer from an itchy and dry nose?

Do you know how to treat dry skin on your body but not your nose?

Winter weather does not only dry and chap our hands, but it can also dry the skin inside your nose. Additionally, chemotherapy treatments have a tendency to cause dry nose intensifying the winter weather effects of chemotherapy on your skin. During the holidays, no one wants this type of problem. This was a particular issue Dr. Bailey battled during her chemotherapy treatments (and we are happy to report she is currently cancer free!). People are generally aware how to treat dry skin on their body but may not know how to treat their dry nose. We felt it would be a good reminder this winter to share the knowledge Dr. Bailey gained in treating her dry nose as she detailed in her original blog post: "How to Treat Dry Nose From Winter or Chemotherapy."

Why Do You Need to Know How to Treat Dry Nose?

As Dr. Bailey explains:

As a dermatologist, I know that this combination of a fragile skin barrier and frictional abrasion and trauma is the perfect setup for skin breakdown, and skin breakdown can lead to infection. That’s not good, especially in an immunosuppressed chemo patient.

Many microorganisms exist on the outer skin barriers, especially the nose which acts as a natural air filter. Most of these microorganisms do not cause any issues if the skin barrier remains intact. Common infections that occur if the skin barrier is compromised is Staphylococcus aureus (a.k.a., Staph), which requires a significant antibiotic regimen to combat. While on chemo, your immunocompromised state makes you even more susceptible to any infection, especially when the skin barrier is broken. It is better to avoid having to take antibiotics, especially if you are on chemo.

Why Do You Want to Avoid Antibiotics While on Chemo?

The body maintains a balance of "good germs" consisting of various bacteria and yeast for overall health and protection from other infections. These "good germs" are considered your microbiom, which is often boosted with probiotics.  In a post entitled, "Are Probiotics Good for Your Health?" Dr. Bailey explains the links between your microbiom to health and disease. But, antibiotics target germs indiscriminately; both the "good and bad" germs are killed. Even worse, antibiotics may accidentally select for the survival of antibiotic resistant bacteria that were originally kept in check by your microbiom. This is a potential disaster for immunocompromised person, especially chemo patients.

How Do You Treat Dry Nose for Winter and Chemo?

The best method is prevention. Most of the ways you prevent dry nose also work for treatment as well.

First, keep the interior of your nose hydrated by applying an ointment as I describe below. To target Staph infections, Dr. Bailey used the following:

I applied mupiricin ointment three times a day to my nasal mucosa (the name of the skin inside the nose) on a cotton-tipped applicator... It worked like a charm, and I never ended up with severely chapped or infected nasal skin – even though my nose ran like a faucet all throughout chemo!

The mupiricin ointment has a moisturizer base that heals chapped and dry skin. To maximize the effects of any moisturizer, it is always best to apply after rinsing the skin with water. This enables the moisturizer to hydrate the skin further by locking in the moisture from the water left on the skin. After you take a shower or use a nasal rinse system (supervision by your doctor necessary if on chemo), apply the mupricin ointment to your inner lower nares with a cotton-tipped swabs. Non-medicated ointments work as well if you are not on chemo. Vaseline or shea butter can be applied to your nasal mucosa in the same manner as the mupricin described above. Dr. Bailey prefers shea butter since it has a more neutral smell and taste. It also works great for chapped lips. If you are a chemo patient, before using medicated or non-medicated ointments, always discuss treatment options with your oncologist first!

 

For more chemo skin care, Dr. Bailey created a skin care line that she was able to personally test on herself as she underwent chemo for breast cancer. This is her Chemo Skin Care Kit. The now popular Chemo Skin Care Kit includes: All Natural Face and Body Lotion, Nutritic Lip Treatment Balm, Dry Hand Repair Kit (Dry Skin Hand Cream, Bag Balm, All Natural Foaming Liquid Hand Soap, Cotton Gloves), and Vanicream Cleansing Bar. An additional option includes the Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy Cream.

As Dr. Bailey explains,

Your chemo skin care is important during chemotherapy because healthy skin is essential for your physical well-being during this difficult time. My kits gives you one less thing to worry about when you undergo chemotherapy.

At Advanced Skin Care and Dermatology Physicians, we believe there is no need to suffer from dry nose during the winter or chemotherapy! 

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