The Rewards of Pampering Your Nose


Love it or not, your nose can’t be ignored. It is a small but mighty part of our being. And a little pampering — when a cold or allergies strike — can go far.

The upside to having a nose is its faithful ability to detect wondrous aromas. Our nose serves as a sensor, helping us determine if a potential food source is toxic or edible, friend or foe. The nose knows whether it’s coffee we’re sniffing, spoiled leftovers — or worse.

“In evolution, odors told us what was good for us, what was bad,” says Pamela Dalton, PhD, MPH, a member of The Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. “It was part of our survival system. If something smelled bad, it was toxic. If it didn’t smell good or bad, it was worth investigating. If it was the smell of cooked fat, it meant survival.”

In fact, scientific evidence suggests — though far from conclusively — that a pleasing fragrance actually affects our physiology, helping us relax.

“When animals are exposed to certain scents, there are changes in their runny nose, the small sunscreen.

  • Carry a small tube of moisturizer with you during the day to reapply. “This will help keep your nose comfortable all day long,” McDonald adds.
  • Petroleum-based moisturizers like Vaseline are not advised for another reason, says Cazabon. “People who apply a lot to the nose, and wear it overnight, can aspirate it into their , which can lead to problems like an abscess,” he tells WebMD. “I don’t want to be an alarmist, but you don’t want a foreign substance in your lungs. Using a little within reason is fine, but many doctors prefer patients use water-based creams.”

    Pampering Your Senses

    To pamper your olfactory sense (which registers odors), try scented oils like bath oils, Dalton suggests. “They have a nurturing effect. When I’m trying to fall asleep in a strange hotel, having an odor that makes me think of home is very relaxing, very comforting.”

    To wake yourself up, try menthol, , eucalyptus, and chili peppers, she says. These produce the sensory irritation of pungency and burning, which is tied to the trigeminal nerve, a nerve in the face that is part of the body’s pain response. “>cause pain — but they do arouse us,” she explains.

    But do certain smells act as aphrodisiacs? “There’s nothing that’s universal to everyone,” Dalton tells WebMD. “It has to do with whatever in your environment relaxes you. People who are tense are not likely to feel amorous. If the scent of your boyfriend’s cologne relaxes you, it’s an aphrodisiac for you. If the smell of pumpkin pie relaxes you, then yes, it’s an aphrodisiac for you. With scent, if it’s a positive thing, then it works for you.”