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Why do I have dry skin and oily nose?

3 mins

Andela Patrnogic

Wondering 'why is my nose the only part of the face that's oily?' Everyone with combination skin has asked this question. Find out the hows and whys!

Still getting used to your skin type and the products you should be using to take care of it? Confused by the fact that your cheeks are completely dry, and yet your nose is a continuous wellspring of oils? Thankfully, you’re not the first to go through this confusing transition as part of your skincare journey. We’re here to provide you with some much-needed scientific reassurance.  

While an oily nose can be one of the most confusing skin conditions to deal with, especially as it often requires extra care and attention, figuring out just how to handle it isn’t as complicated as you might think. Here’s everything you need to know about why your nose is just so oily, and what you can do to ensure that the health and natural glow of your skin remain unaffected by it. 

Table of Contents:

  • The Sebaceous Glands – What Are They?
  • What Causes an Oily Nose?
  • Skin Type
  • Genetics and Age
  • Mismatched Skincare Products 
  • Dehydration
  • How to Treat an Oily Nose
  • Wash your Face Regularly and Gently
  • Don’t Skip Moisturizer 
  • Exfoliate
  • Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle  
  • Salicylic Acid 

The Sebaceous Glands – What Are They?

Before we dive into the direct causes of an oily nose, let’s take a look at the little parts of our skin responsible for all those natural oils – the sebaceous glands. 

The sebaceous glands are present in all mammals’ skin – given our ancestry within the animal kingdom, that includes us too. They are attached to our hair follicles and produce a fatty liquid called sebum. 

Although a common misconception is that there aren’t any oil-producing glands on other parts of our bodies beyond the face and the scalp, since those are the most sebaceous-active places, in reality the only places on the body without these glands are the palms of our hands and the soles of our feet.

what causes oily nose

These glands are smaller during childhood, but once puberty hits, they enlarge themselves, making teenagers prone to acne. This occurs when the sebum mixed with dust clogs the pores, forms bacteria, and triggers inflammation – completing the process that creates the common pimple. 

The sebum itself is a mixture of wax, sugars, fatty acids, and other bodily chemicals and it has the role of forming a protective layer on the skin, making it elastic and preventing dehydration. 

When any part of your face is too oily (including your nose), it means that your sebaceous glands are producing too much sebum. And this can happen for many reasons.

What Causes an Oily Nose?

There are many factors that you can ‘thank’ when it comes to having an oily nose. It’s an incredibly common issue and can be aggravated by many things, like the weather or mood. Let’s get into a few reasons that make your sebaceous glands overproduce sebum:

Skin Type

Generally, skin types are categorized into normal, dry, sensitive, mixed, oily. Those in the last two categories will naturally deal with an oily nose more often than people with normal or dry skin. 

Genetics and Age

If your parents have oily skin, then chances are that you have probably inherited it as well, as skin types are quite often hereditary. 

aging skin

Alternatively, it could just as well be a matter of age. Older people tend to have dryer skin because their skin doesn’t produce as much sebum to lubricate itself, so having oily skin also means not showing aging signs too soon. 

Most teens and pre-teens will also deal with an oily nose sooner or later. This is because of the chaotic hormonal activity occurring within the body at the age of puberty, which causes the sebaceous glands to start producing too much oil. 

Mismatched Skincare Products 

If you use the wrong products for your skin type, you may trigger an over-secretion of sebum. For example, those with oily skin should try to use hydrating, water-based products for skin cleansing and make-up removal, instead of using products that contain oils and are heavy on the skin. 

Sebaceous Glands, why is my skin dry


Some people with oily skin tend to skip using moisturizer because they think it makes their face secrete more oil, but in reality, it can actually worsen your skin’s overall condition. 

The glands can overproduce oils to make up for the lack of hydration, so skipping a nourishing moisturizer won’t be any good for you in the long run. 

More than that, if you don’t regularly follow the rule of drinking at least 2 liters of liquids per day, you’re constantly dehydrated. And that’s when we go back to your skin over-producing sebum to make it all up. 

How to Treat an Oily Nose

Wash your Face Regularly and Gently

To properly take care of your face and make sure that you don’t get your pores clogged with sebum, dirt, and other polluting factors, make sure to wash your face twice a day – once in the morning, after a good night’s sleep, and once before going to bed, after a full day of being exposed to sun and pollution.

Whether you went for a green tea-based formula or you would rather go the apple-cider-vinegar route, we highly recommend a brush-assisted face wash so that you can get a well-rounded cleanse through gentle exfoliation. Your newly revitalized face will surely thank you for the extra effort!

Don’t Skip Moisturizer 

As we’ve said before, try not to skip moisturizer if you want to prevent getting your face too oily. Include it as the last step of your skincare routine at least once a day, and you should be set. 


Exfoliation is what helps your skin breathe by removing dead skin cells and letting products you use truly penetrate the skin as they should. 

You may notice that, sometimes, you will need immediate exfoliation because of dryness and flakes, which makes the glands produce too much oil. 

Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle  

Drinking plenty of water and maintaining an appropriate diet are very important for keeping sebum production controlled. For example, spicy foods are known to dilate blood vessels and enlarge pores, making your nose appear shinier than usual. 

healthy lifestyle

Drinking water is, of course, incredibly important, as we’ve mentioned before, because it keeps your body hydrated and oil secretion balanced. 

Salicylic Acid 

This ingredient is a crucially important ingredient for acne and oily skin. It removes excess sebum, exfoliates, and can unclog the pores because it gets deep into the skin. 

Salicylic acid is also great for controlling acne, so make sure to look at the fine print of your products so that you’re always benefiting from its properties!

Explore the WOW website for more natural skin care products

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