The Real Reason Your Nose Turns Red When You're Sick

For Rudolph pulling Santa's sleigh, a red nose is no problem. But when you're sick, the last thing you want is for your nose to be so shiny and bright. If your nose turns red when you have a cold, flu, or allergies, one likely culprit is dry skin from wiping your nose often (via Medical News Today).

Health conditions such as lupus, rosacea, and eczema aside, a person's nose typically turns red because of changes in the blood vessels or the surface of the skin. Inflamed or irritated skin can cause a person's nose to turn red temporarily. So can swollen or broken blood vessels in the nose, a change in temperature, drinking alcohol, eating spicy food, and even blushing.

When you're sick or have allergies, a red nose can flare up from a combination of factors. If you're out in chilly temperatures and wiping your nose often, that's practically a red nose guarantee. People with thin or pale skin or visible blood vessels are more likely to notice when their nose reddens, health professionals add.

How to pamper your nose when it's red

The good news is that a red nose from such temporary conditions usually calms down within minutes or hours. Of course, if you're constantly reaching for tissues, your poor nose may not have time to recover. Health experts recommend gently blotting the nose instead of wiping and using soft tissues.

Think of pampering your nose to help it look and feel better. Apply a hypoallergenic moisturizer or aloe vera gel to soothe dryness (via Healthline). Try to avoid touching, rubbing, or scratching your nose, which can be tough when it's running or stuffy. An over-the-counter nasal saline gel or spray can help with congestion if other remedies haven't worked, according to Medical News Today.

Also, steer clear of anything that might irritate your nose further while you're getting it back to normal. For instance, if you have skincare products or cosmetics that contain ingredients such as witch hazel or rubbing alcohol, take a break from those for a day or two.