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What to Do if a Breathe Right Strip Sticks to Your Face

Updated on February 10, 2016

How to Remove a Stuck On Nasal Strip

Breathe Right strips are a very simple but extremely useful invention. They open nasal passages mechanically and often allow you to breathe through your nose right away even if you have a nasty cold.

However, if you fail to follow the instructions provided in the packaging or if an unusual situation occurs, you may find that powerful adhesive stuck in a death-grip on your one and only nose.

First off, don't try to just rip it off. Read the instructions below before you do anything else so you don't pull the skin off your nose along with your Breathe Right strip or cause excessive irritation. These instructions also work for nasal strip Breathe Right knockoffs and imitations which I have found to be much, much more likely to get stuck on my nose than the real ones.

photo by Kylyssa Shay, product by Breathe Right

Breathe Right Nasal Strips Original Tan Small/Medium 30 ea (Pack of 2)
Breathe Right Nasal Strips Original Tan Small/Medium 30 ea (Pack of 2)

The small/medium size strip is what I use. My nose is a pretty average sized adult female nose as far as I can tell. The large ones are really quite large and I found them unusable when I accidentally bought some instead of the small/medium sized strips.


Breathe Right Nasal Strip Removal Instructions

First try what the instructions in your Breathe Right package tell you; wash your face with warm water and try to gently lift up an edge of the strip or try to gently and slowly take it off in the shower.

If you feel any uncomfortable pulling or tugging sensations or even the tiniest amount of pain when you try to pull up an edge of the strip, stop immediately. It’s easier to damage the skin of your nose than you might think.

Next, wet a washcloth with very warm water and hold it on your nose over the strip for several minutes, allowing the warm water to soak into the strip. Then try to gently peel off the strip. If you still feel too much pulling on your nose skin, stop pulling.

If the Breathe Right strip is really stuck on there, take a bit of food-grade oil such as olive oil or cooking oil and saturate the strip with it. Allow the oil to soak into the strip for several minutes and then apply the warm wet washcloth again. This should allow you to remove most of the strip from your face. There will be adhesive left on your nose but a bit more oil or some face soap and a warm washcloth can take that off. It will be all soft and gooey at that point so you can go ahead and pull gobs of adhesive off, too.

Breathe Right strips are perfectly safe to use, even if they do get firmly stuck on your nose sometimes. It’s almost always caused by user error.

Breathe Right Advanced for Sensitive Skin, Clear, 26 Strips (1 Box)
Breathe Right Advanced for Sensitive Skin, Clear, 26 Strips (1 Box)

The sensitive skin variety is good for continued use. It irritates skin less, in my opinion and I alternate with these and the regular variety. However, the clear sensitive skin variety is more apt to come off accidentally.


How Do Breathe Right Strips Get So Stuck on Someone's Face?

The packaging warns against using a Breathe Right strip for longer than twelve hours. That's because the strips must stick strongly enough to your skin to work and stay on and, over time, the powerful adhesive will bond more intensely to your skin just as other glues get stronger as they dry. It's easy to leave them on too long because they are so comfortable you may forget you're wearing one. I've done that many times.

Another thing that can go wrong is getting moisture on your face while wearing a Breathe Right strip. I'm not sure why this is but it seems to me that it softens the glue a bit, allowing it to more closely conform to the pores and skin of your nose. Exposure to abnormal heat such as while in the sauna, while cooking over a hot stove, or while using a hot tub can have the same effect. Take the strip off immediately after it gets wet or hot and you should have no problems taking it off but if you let it dry out or cool down too much it will probably really stick.

In My Opinion, Breathe Right Nasal Strips are the Original and Best

I've found that the knock-offs and imitations of Breathe Right strips are far, far more prone to cause irritation or to get stuck fast on my nose. The imitations I have tried have had either too strong an adhesive, too weak an adhesive, or are just plain not the right shape or construction to fit comfortably on my nose. I even had a dollar store knockoff wake me up in the middle of the night because it made my nose horribly itchy. Even though I'm on a tight budget, I spend the few extra pennies for the real ones. There's no point in using a strip that ends up on my pillow or pinches my skin so it's too uncomfortable to sleep with it on.

If Your Nose Is Small, You May Need To Get Children's Sized Strips

Breathe Right Nasal Strips for Kids-30 Ct. (Pack of 3)
Breathe Right Nasal Strips for Kids-30 Ct. (Pack of 3)

You really need to get the kid's size for children. The small/medium is much more medium than small in my opinion. So, if you actually have a small nose or if you are getting strips for a child, these are the ones you'll probably want.


What is a Breathe Right Nasal Strip?

Breathe Right nasal strips work by lifting the sides of the nose up a bit using springy strips of plastic covered with a bandage strip and held on with a strong adhesive. They are incredibly simple in construction but it seems many other brilliant inventions are, too.

You can learn more about Breathe Right Nasal Strips and get a free sample or high value coupon on their website.

I Love Breathe Right Nasal Strips!

I have sinus problems and Breathe Right strips let me sleep without waking up in the middle of the night feeling as if I’m suffocating. I discovered them after being diagnosed with thyroid disease and finding well over half of the cold medicine shelf at the pharmacy off-limits. Of course the cold medicines I couldn’t use anymore were the ones that worked best for me. But it was actually a good thing because I decided to give Breathe Right strips a try and the results were better than cold medicine, at least for me. Breathe Right strips are a drug-free way to open nasal passages and breathe easier when you have a stuffy nose.

The best thing about them, as far as I’m concerned, is that they work to open nasal passages even when they are swollen shut without the drying effect that antihistamines have. I used to get random bloody noses from that drying effect when I used cold medicine and I used to think they were caused by the colds themselves, but I haven't had one since I switched to using strips instead.

My favorite Breathe Right strips are the menthol ones. The scent is pleasant, a bit like a mentholated cough drop, and they seem to promote freer breathing just a little bit better than the plain strips.

Do You Use Nasal Strips? Have You Ever Had One Stick Tight?

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    • profile image

      Amber 2 years ago

      Thank you for an informative article. I ended up holding a damp hot washcloth over the strip for 30 seconds, then applied some thick face cream around the edges, then the washcloth with hot water again. This is the easiest they ever came off. Your article gave me direction.

    • Hairdresser007 profile image

      James Jordan 3 years ago from Burbank, CA

      I conquered them in 30 minutes the first time I snored it off. When I did getbit to stick it took forever to get it off and my nose looked like I had a burn! Not gonna use them again!

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 4 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      @deliusgirl: In the daytime, when I'm not wearing the strips, I dab a bit of triple antibiotic ointment on my nose where the strips go. I also take a night off every week and I use an antihistamine (chlorpheniramine) and Vick's Vap-o-rub on the nights I skip the strips. While it doesn't do as good a job as the strips, I think the sleepiness caused by the antihistamine allows me to fall asleep anyway. I admit it isn't as good at keeping my nose open but it helps. I also sometimes steam myself with a really hot shower at bedtime on those nights.If your nose is really irritated you may need to skip more than one night a week for a bit.I can really relate to your problem and I hope you find relief.

    • profile image

      deliusgirl 4 years ago

      After years of nightly use of the clear strips, my nose is getting red and irritated. I NEED these things to breathe! What can I do?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Someone in my house has horrible sinus problems and I think one day I'll get a few in my amazon cart. I think he'd tried the knock-offs before and is now "against" them. When they're sitting on his night table he just might relent and try. I appreciate the instructions for if one gets stuck.