Whether you’re a coke vacuum like Tony Montana or more of a casual consumer, it’s in your best interest to look after your nostrils. Think of yourself as an athlete, and snorting thicc lines of pristine blow as your sport — if your schnoz isn’t in tip-top shape, it’ll hinder your performance.
So, what can you do to maintain your spot in the Snowlympics? Let’s see what’s going on up there and come up with a game plan. (Ever heard of hot-plating?)
What Causes Coke Nose?
Snorting anything can damage your nostrils, but cocaine is especially contaminated with all sorts of random substances, most of which pose a bunch of mysterious nasal threats. Anesthetics (like benzocaine), antiparasitics (like levamisole) and even random household goods (think baking soda and drywall) are commonly found in coke, and they can all erode the inside of your beak. “Some compounds may be caustic and cause your nasal passageways to bleed profusely, while others could just stuff you up,” says Rachel Clark of DanceSafe, a public health organization that promotes safety among nightlife and electronic music communities.
Unfortunately, even unpolluted powder can ravage your nose. Cocaine itself constricts your blood vessels, which prevents blood from reaching your nasal cavities and stops your sinuses from healing. When that happens, long-term users can develop deviated septums — including literal holes from one nostril to the other — and moderate users should expect sinus infections and occasional discomfort up in there.
In other words, every line of cocaine is a nasal roulette. If you want to avoid these nasty ingredients and the damage they do to your nose, you could try to purity-test your blow, but the best way to care for your nose is to put the baggie down.
How Do You Prevent Coke Nose?
Beyond testing your powder, there are a few things you can do to reduce the damage of a line so gassy it makes your eyes water:
Rinse: Use a saline spray before and after snorting, and employ a post-sesh neti pot to rinse out any residual powder. “It’s a good idea to gently dig out your cocaine boogers before trying to do so, though, or you’ll be met with a lot of resistance,” Clark says.
Steam: If your nose is too clogged for a neti pot, a hot, steamy shower should open it right up. Alternatively, Clark suggests hovering over a bowl of steamy water and essential oils. How luxurious!
Moisturize: If the skin around your nostrils is dry or cracking, a little moisturizer goes a long way.
Clean: The surface where your coke is being cut should be spotless, as should the card you’re using to crush it. And please don’t use a nasty-ass dollar bill. “Be sure to use your own personal straw or rolled up Post-it Note,” Clark says. “Sharing snorting devices shares microscopic drops of blood, which can give you hep C.”
Cut: Really give that cocaine a good crushing, because the finer the powder, the better it is for your nose. If you’re having trouble, some cocaine connoisseurs swear by hot-plating — microwaving a plate for 30 seconds before dumping their blow onto it and lining it up. The heat helps remove excess moisture, making the blow easier to mash into a fine, snortable powder.
Quit: If you really care about your nose, it’s not the most fun, but you should probably just stop doing cocaine, because as Lawrence Weinstein, chief medical officer of the American Addiction Centers, says, “Attempting to mitigate complications or consequences can be futile.”
Now get out there and go for gold. We’ll be rooting for you.