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Health Professionals Disagree About Putting Vaseline in the Nose

Some doctors say you should put Vaseline in the nose to counteract dryness. Others say this is a terrible idea. A reader wants to know what to use instead of a petroleum-based lubricant.

Have you ever experienced a really dry nose. It can happen in hot, dry areas like Arizona or New Mexico. It can happen in the winter when the heat is on and the humidity is low. Some drugs can cause a dry mouth and a dry nose. Whatever triggers a really dry nose, it can be truly unpleasant. But what can you do about it. People disagree about the safety of putting petroleum jelly or Vaseline in the nose. What else can you use to relieve a dry nose? That’s the question from this reader:

A Thoracic Surgeon says Vaseline in the Nose is Just Fine:

Q. I know you have warned against using Vaseline to moisturize the inside of the nostrils. My question is: what CAN be used to relieve a dry nose?

When I asked my thoracic surgeon about using Vaseline, he told me that in his long career, he has never seen a case of lung disease attributed to this.

A Pharmacist Says Vaseline in the Nose is a No-No!

A. A pharmacist wrote to us to recommend an OTC product, AYR Nasal Gel, for moisturizing dry nasal passages. This water-based product should be found next to the AYR Saline Spray in the nose drop section of the pharmacy. If you don’t find it, the pharmacy should be able to order it.

He continued:

“You are perfectly correct that usage of Vicks, Vaseline or similar petroleum-based products [in the nose] may very well result in lipoid pneumonia, an extremely dangerous condition.”

Readers Offer Alternatives to Vaseline in the Nose:

Marian in Texas says:

Several years ago I read that using KY Jelly as a lubricant for dry nose is safe and works. It is water based so no need to worry about petroleum.”

KY Jelly is a water-based personal lubricant. It has been used by physicians to conduct vaginal and rectal exams. It is also used as a sexual lubricant.

Lisa is a nurse. She says:

“KY Jelly is what we use on my patients when they have to rely on oxygen with a nasal cannula. I also use it at home during the winter months when we have the wood stove blazing to heat our home. I have also used Ayr Nasal Gel, which is available over the counter in many pharmacies.”

Elaine is ready to try something for her dry nose:

“Thanks for these solutions. I just had my first nose bleed ever in my life (49). I just moved to Arizona. I blew my nose and then the blood just started pouring out. My nasal passages are so dry here compared to Connecticut.”

R.M.H. is grateful for the warning about Vaseline in the nose:

“I have used Vicks VapoRub in my nose since being taught to during childhood in the 1930s. It says on the bottle now not to use in nostrils. The warning about petroleum products in nose is most welcome; I have enough breathing problems  without adding to them. I will switch to non-petroleum lubricant immediately.”

Learn more about this controversy at this link:

Doctors Disagree About Putting Petroleum Jelly in Nose

Share your own story about dry nose solutions in the comment section below.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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