The best nasal strip
Nasal congestion is never pleasant, and it seems to be a side effect of everything -- allergies, colds, and even sleep deprivation. Many cases of chronic snoring can be traced back to nasal congestion, and allergy sufferers routinely turn to nasal sprays or antihistamines for relief. Fortunately, there is an inexpensive form of nasal congestion relief that does not rely on medication or a pressurized mask to work.
Nasal strips use a strong plastic or metal band and medical-grade adhesive to gently hold the wearer's nostrils open during the overnight hours, when snoring or sleep apnea can be an issue. They can also be worn during daytime hours to alleviate clogged nasal passages caused by allergic reactions or exercise. We've compiled a short list of nasal strips and dilators we believe bring the kind of noninvasive relief many people seek from nasal congestion issues. At the top of that list is Breathe Right's Nasal Strips, a reliable, comfortable choice from a pioneering company in the nasal strip industry.
Considerations when choosing nasal strips
Ease of use
Most nasal strips are designed to be positioned on the bridge of the nose or just above the nostrils. Nasal dilators, on the other hand, are designed to fit securely inside the nostrils without adhesive. Some users may prefer the ease of applying an external "bandage" that is visible to others, while some may prefer the benefits of an invisible spacer inside the nostrils. In either case, the nasal-opening device should be easy to place, easy to wear for hours, and easy to remove.
Adhesion and comfort
The amount of adhesive used in a nasal strip can vary widely from brand to brand, but it needs to be strong enough to hold the user's nostrils open for hours at a time. This means the strip can be irritating to the skin during application and removal. If one brand does not provide enough adhesion, many users experiment with others until they find the perfect match. The amount of padding can also vary, which means the user may feel the underlying support.
Benefits of nasal strip use
One of the most common benefits associated with nasal strips is snoring reduction. Because the air passages remain open during sleep, the user is far less likely to experience the level of nasal blockage that triggers snoring or sleep apnea. Another benefit is increased airflow during physical activity. Many athletes wear nasal strips during competition because they improve breathing efficiency. Allergy sufferers may also benefit from nasal strips because the strips keep their irritated or swollen nasal passages from closing up completely.
Sizes and styles
Nasal strips are sold in a variety of sizes and styles. The most common size fits like a bandage across the bridge of the nose and contains a standard amount of adhesive. There are also extra-strength nasal strips that feature a higher level of adhesive for those who find regular strips are not secure enough. For users with more sensitive skin, there are brands with less adhesive and a thinner bridge. There are even nasal strips infused with fragrance for aromatherapy.
Shopping for nasal strips is a combination of quality and quantity, with lesser-known brands selling in bulk between $7 and $28. More recognizable brands can cost $11 to $16 for similar package sizes. Nasal dilators can cost as much as $20 for four devices, but they are considered reusable.
Q. Are nasal strips reusable?
A. Most nasal strips are designed for single use, because the adhesive loses its effectiveness over time. However, some internal nasal dilators can be sanitized and reused.
Q. Can I wear a nasal strip during the day, like when I'm jogging or playing tennis?
A. Yes, nasal strips can be worn any time the user wants to improve airflow. The only drawback with using nasal strips during physical activity is that sweat and skin oil can affect the adhesive quality of the strip. Carrying a few spares isn't a bad idea.
Nasal strips we recommend
Best of the best: Breathe Right's Nasal Strips
Our take: Breathe Right nasal strips are considered the industry standard, and they use the right amount of adhesive for a comfortable but secure fit.
What we like: Very effective against snoring. Reduce the need for other sleep aids or medications. Keep nasal passages open for hours.
What we dislike: Adhesive may not be strong enough for overnight use. Some quality control issues reported by long-time users.
Our take: These bargain-priced nasal strips are thinner than most name brands, but the adhesive quality is great and they resist sweat and skin oils during use.
What we like: Sold in economical bulk packaging of 150 strips. Improves airflow up to 30%, comparable to name brands. Can be worn during sporting events.
What we dislike: Adhesive is very strong and challenging to remove. Some reports of chafing from plastic elements.
Our take: For those who want the relief of a nasal strip but without the adhesive or the visibility, these internal nasal dilators work well.
What we like: Does not use adhesives. Fits inside nasal passages, invisible to others. Very comfortable to wear. Can be cleaned and reused.
What we dislike: Dilators do not fit nasal passages like traditional strips. Expensive retail price. May not be as effective against snoring as other products.
Michael Pollick is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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