Causes of Dry Nose
There are numerous common causes of a dry nose, from being in a hot, dry climate to being exposed to a drying agent such as air conditioning. High climates tend to be colder and dryer and can contribute to worsening nasal conditions. People who smoke cigarettes or marijuana may also suffer from dry nose after chronic use.
While normal remedies for dry nose involve more holistic measures, another common cause of dry nose includes medications. Overuse of antihistamines (Benadryl, Claritin), nasal corticosteroids (Flonase, Xhance, Fluticasone), or nasal and oral decongestants (Oxymetazoline, Sudafed, Afrin). A number of prescription medications may also cause dry nose, including anticholinergics, diuretics, and medications for high blood pressure and acne.
Dr. Pasha often sees patients who suffer from a dry nose after having a turbinectomy, which is removal or over-reduction of the turbinates. The turbinates are shelves in the inside of the nose that are primarily responsible for warming, filtering, and moisturizing inhaled air. If your turbinates are removed completely or over-resected, you may suffer from “empty nose syndrome” or atrophic rhinitis. Although removing the turbinates creates more room in the nose, the air tumbles as you inhale, causing you to have the sensation of a blocked, dry nose.
This condition is quite debilitating, as the cure can be challenging. Aside from a dry nose, atrophic rhinitis causes a paradoxical nasal obstruction.
Systemic causes of a dry nose are less common but may include nutritional deficiencies (especially vitamin C) as well as various autoimmune diseases. Sjogren’s disease is a more common autoimmune disease that is also associated with dry eyes, dry mouth, and parotid gland swelling (salivary glands in the cheeks). Other systemic diseases include Wegener’s disease and Sarcoidosis.
In addition to being irritating, dry nose can lead to other issues, such as recurrent nosebleeds, throat and upper airway infections, or changes in smell and foul odors.