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Just when you think you're on the mend from your latest cold or flu, here comes the dreaded nose moult - that horror show of flaming nostrils and peeling skin that follows too much wiping and blowing. Follow these simple steps to help your schnozzle recover from the season's many abuses.

Eschew cheap tissue

The skin's condition "is aggravated by rubbing it with something rough," says Frances Jang, a dermatologist with the private medical and cosmetic clinic Skinworks in Vancouver. Instead, stock up on soft tissues, with or without lotion, and wipe your tender nose as gently as possible.

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Protect and moisturize

To soften skin, Dr. Jang recommends old-fashioned Vaseline. "It creates a barrier and it also moisturizes, so it minimizes irritation," she explains. "We're talking about rubbed, raw skin, and a lot of other moisturizers may even sting during this period. A really thin layer of Vaseline will help sooth the chaffed skin. Everybody's got that around."

Remember to apply Vaseline at night (preferably before your nose starts to show signs of maltreatment), when you can be sure not to rub it off.

Soothe inflammation

"There's a very nice prescription cream that I like to use called Prevex HC," says Dr. Jang. "It's prescription because it's got a bit of hydrocortisone in it, which minimizes inflammation. When you get to the stage where the nose is actually red and peeling and miserable, it can be very helpful."

An over-the-counter alternative is the diaper-rash barrier Prevex (minus the HC), which will reduce the redness, inflammation and swelling of your nose as ably as it treats a baby's tush.

Give it time

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No matter the treatment, don't expect your beak to look picture perfect overnight. "If I give you Prevex HC and you use Kleenex, you'll probably get better in a couple of days," says Dr. Jang. "If you're just using Vaseline, it can take anywhere from two to five days to get back to normal."

In the meantime, don't exacerbate the situation by overexfoliating or wearing makeup before your nose has healed. Since hot water can break down the oil barriers in your skin, leading to moisture loss, Dr. Jang recommends bathing in lukewarm water instead. Apply moisturizer while skin is still slightly damp to lock in moisture.

And don't do this Resort to using toilet paper. It's too rough.

Special to The Globe and Mail

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