Vaseline on my nose? Good idea? Really?
November 26, 2004 6:01 PM   Subscribe

I've caught my first cold of the season and the frequent nose blowing is irritating the skin near my nose. I seem to remember a suggestion to use vaseline on the irritated skin - does that sound like reasonable solution?
posted by jperkins to Health & Fitness (25 answers total)
Don't do it. Apparently there is a small risk of inhaling petroleum jelly and it turns out that is really really bad for the lungs. Having said that, I've done it and so have lots of people, so I guess what I am really saying is be very very careful.
posted by konolia at 6:06 PM on November 26, 2004

Doesn't that just gross out an already gross area? I don't know, in the past I've just used the tissues with the lotion in them, and found that they helped a lot.
posted by mrgavins at 6:10 PM on November 26, 2004

Instead of using straight-up Vaseline, try chapstick/lip balm on the affected area. It's less messy, less greasy, and is designed to soothe irritation. Every once in a while, the skin between my earlobe and jawbone will get dry and cracked, and a single application of chapstick sorts 'er out good.
posted by Danelope at 6:21 PM on November 26, 2004

Yeah, if you don't mind the tissues with lotion, I recommend them highly. I've never had a problem after I started using them.
posted by Krrrlson at 6:22 PM on November 26, 2004

In addition to whatever you're doing for your nose, might I recommend those triple-ply puffy tissues with lotion? They actually do help, much to my surprise.

(on preview: damn!)
posted by calistasm at 6:26 PM on November 26, 2004

Full disclosure- I work PT for Bath and Body Works while in school.
I use a newer product they carry called Aromatherapy Remedies Cold & Sinus Therapy Lip and Face Balm. It is in a lemon and chamomile scent, so it does not smell obnoxious, (it really smells like lemon creme cookies-yum!) and it is not greasy at all. At $6 for a little pot of it, it is a splurge, but it is also the best ever lip balm during non cold times as well. I use a little spatula or q-tip when applying when I have a cold.
posted by oflinkey at 6:27 PM on November 26, 2004


I've just overreacted to this - disputations in Meta.
posted by dash_slot- at 6:31 PM on November 26, 2004

schmear a huge dollop of bacitracin or carmex inside and out on the nostril surface at bedtime, as well as across the filtrum (the little depression in the midline of the upper lip). Believe me, if there was a risk to petroleum jelly, you'd know.
posted by docpops at 7:09 PM on November 26, 2004

Petroleum and human flesh don't mix. Disregard what our mothers did back in the dark ages; avoid all contact with petroleum. Also, stay clear of the Carmex treadmill--it's worse than heroin! I say this as a recovering Carmex fiend. There is no cure, only management.
posted by squirrel at 7:19 PM on November 26, 2004

I use a tiny dab of cortisone cream at bedtime, when I'm less likely to disturb the area for a while.
Some people are allergic to lanolin, which is in both many lip balms and many lotion tissues. If you try something and it seems to make it worse, you should probably read the label and see what's in it.
Triple-ply puffy tissues, even plain, are softer than anything else and cause less stress on the skin.
I don't put anything near my nose or mouth that's not water-soluble. The lungs can clean up some amazing messes given enough time, but you have to give them a fighting chance. IANAD, YMMV.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 7:35 PM on November 26, 2004

I rarely get colds, but I do get a little hayfever, and have found if I use cotton bandana hankies instead of kleenex, my nose doesn't get raw at all.
posted by zadcat at 8:17 PM on November 26, 2004

BOROLEUM!! Trust me, this is the shit. I had a constant runny nose when i was a child, and had tried everything for a chapped nose. I've been using boroleum for ages after going through the spectrum of 'nose lube'. It's no frills, all natural, and uses the same ingredients since 1906-ish. At the first sign of a cold, i keep this slathered on my nose during bed rest.
posted by naxosaxur at 8:21 PM on November 26, 2004

Response by poster: I'd never heard of BOROLEUM, but will try to find some tomorrow. Thanks for all the replies.
posted by jperkins at 8:58 PM on November 26, 2004

Puncture a Vitamin E capsule and squeeze the liquid therein onto the red and painful tissue. Always works for me....
posted by Lynsey at 9:44 PM on November 26, 2004

jperkins, on the east coast/nj area, we have a discount beauty/drug store chain called Harmons. That's where i've found it. Any specialty drug store should carry it, but i'm not sure if places like CVS carry it. Btw, boroleum is like the all-natural version of Viks Vapor, so it has a very slight minty kick to it. But it moisturizes sooo well, and it's not as greasy as vaseline. Please don't waste time experimenting with any lip balms, because none are as effective as boroleum. Also, not to disagree with Lynsey, but while vitamin E is good for the skin, it is not a moisturizer, sits above the skin, and is really really oily/dribbly.
posted by naxosaxur at 10:05 PM on November 26, 2004

You can wipe a whole sniffly cold's worth of nose with the Kleenex with Lotion and not get red. Switch to them and you'll be fine.
posted by nicwolff at 1:06 AM on November 27, 2004

If your nose is already red and sore, hydrocortisone cream is very soothing.
posted by sophie at 6:27 AM on November 27, 2004

I used to get this every single time I got sick. Straight up vaseline helped a lot, but then I discovered Burt's Bees. Now when I get sick, I do two things:
  • do not use a roll of TP for noserag!
  • keep a rich coating of Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm on my nose.

  • posted by majick at 8:21 AM on November 27, 2004

    Danelope, that advice about lip balm is great - I have the same thing as you with dry/cracked skin at the bottom of my ear and I'm going to try that next time.

    And I love the tissues with aloe vera or vitamin whicheveritis in them. I always used to get a sore nose, now I don't. Hydrocortisone cream seems a little over the top to me, but that's because I've been using steroid-based creams on my son's ecsema and the doctor is very cautious about overuse.
    posted by tracicle at 10:46 AM on November 27, 2004

    "there is a small risk of inhaling petroleum jelly and it turns out that is really really bad for the lungs."

    True... but the same thing can be said of boogers.

    Medicated stuff like Vicks VapoRub and Carmex will sting. Lard works fine, if you've got nothing else.

    Dab, don't wipe.

    Never use Hydrocortisone cream casually for anything.

    This from your friendly "Ask a Nurse" line volunteer.
    posted by reflecked at 11:37 AM on November 27, 2004

    steal some of your GFs/Roommates/Mums eight hour cream, apply liberally, and the rah begone.

    Another good one is diaper-rash cure all Idominsalva.
    posted by dabitch at 11:38 AM on November 27, 2004

    It took me a few years to acclimate my nose to Colorado winters, and during that time, I swore by a product called Nose Better. Just making sure you have a medicine cabinet full of nostrums to show for your question.
    posted by bibliowench at 11:55 AM on November 27, 2004

    Lansinoh or Aquaphor.

    Or if you're hardcore, get some A & D Ointment.

    Why yes, I do have babies.
    posted by padraigin at 11:47 PM on November 27, 2004

    I hereby second the vote for Aquaphor. A bit expensive, but it does the job magically.
    posted by paulrockNJ at 12:41 PM on November 29, 2004

    And I'll third the vote for Aquaphor. Works like a charm.

    Note to dash_slot, even though he probably won't read this: My mom doesn't know about Aquaphor, and I'd be interested seeing the google query that would tell you that Aquaphor works better for irritated skin on the nose than Vaseline (unless you include "Aquaphor" in the query, which you probably wouldn't know to do unless you already knew the answer).
    posted by klausness at 3:51 PM on November 29, 2004

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