Why Is the Inside of My Nose So Dry?

Medically Reviewed on 11/10/2021
dry nose
A dry nose can be the result of many factors and medical conditions, including allergies, decreased humidity, Sjogren’s syndrome, and tobacco use.

Nasal dryness is caused by inadequate production of the mucus, leading to a feeling of discomfort in your nostrils and sinuses. Lack of humidity in the air can aggravate the condition and turn the mucus into a thick, crusty mass that obstructs air passage in the nose.

You may experience a dry nose due to other reasons, which may include:

  • Cold and allergies
  • Decreased humidity in the environment
  • Desert climate
  • Excessive use of air conditioning or indoor heating
  • Taking a sauna without steam
  • Medications such as antihistamines, anticholinergics, and decongestants
  • Overuse of decongestant nasal sprays
  • Use of tobacco, recreational drugs, cigarettes, or vapes
  • Sjogren’s syndrome (an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system of the body attacks the mucus-secreting cells of the nose, eyes, and mouth, resulting in dryness)
  • Atrophic rhinitis (a chronic condition characterized by the formation of thick, dry crusts in the nasal cavity)
  • Dryness in the lungs
  • Heated room or hot environment
  • Long-distance flights
  • Dusty conditions
  • Wegner’s granulomatosis (a condition that causes inflammation of various tissues including the blood vessels)
  • Tuberculosis
  • Leprosy
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Old age
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Wound-healing phase after a nasal surgery

Some of the medications that may result in a dry nose as a side effect include:

Table. Medications that may result in dry nose
Drugs or drug classes Generic name Uses
Retinoids (1 to 10 percent) Isotretinoin Severe forms of acne
Tretinoin Blood cancer
Doxepin (tricyclic antidepressant)
  • Depressive conditions
  • Anxiety syndrome
  • Mild withdrawal symptoms in alcoholics
  • Drug-dependent people
  • Agitation
  • Sleep disorders
Methyldopa Pre-eclampsia (hypertension during pregnancy)
Sympathomimetics (local) Dipivefrine (eye) Glaucoma (a group of eye conditions that causes blindness)
Naphazoline Types of rhinitis
Antihistamines, first generation Clemastine Urticaria and allergic rhinitis
Dimenhydrinate Vertigo, nausea, and vomiting
Dimethindene Itching, itching with skin lesions and allergies
Diphenhydramine Difficulty sleeping and issues with staying asleep
  • Agitation with underlying psychiatric illnesses
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Sleep disorders
Terfenadine Allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (allergy in the nose and eye) and allergic skin disorders

How can you treat dryness inside your nose?

Nasal dryness, if left untreated, can lead to the following:

You can treat a dry nose with some of the following home remedies:

  • Use a humidifier if the air in your home is extremely dry. Humidifiers can replace the moisture lost due to air conditioning and central heating in homes and offices. Adding moisture to the air may prevent nasal dryness. Be sure to clean the humidifier regularly, and make sure it is free of mold.
  • You can try steam inhalation by inhaling steam from the following (always be sure about the temperature of water to avoid scalding):
    • Bowl of hot water
    • Hot shower or bath
    • Sauna
  • Drink adequate water to keep yourself hydrated since it is essential for the hydration of all body tissues.
  • Avoid cigarette tobacco and vaping because it can irritate and inflame your nasal passages, leading to a dry nose.
  • Avoid medications that may cause nasal dryness. If your doctor has prescribed these medications, it is always better to consult a physician before stopping these medicines.
  • Use a saline spray to clean nasal passages and provide additional moisture, as well as clear your sinuses. However, avoid overusing decongestant saline spray to prevent exacerbation of nasal dryness.
  • Use topical moisturizing agents to moisturize the nasal passages and avoid dryness.

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Medically Reviewed on 11/10/2021
Image Source: iStock Images