Skin Care

Your skin and Windburn: Tips on treatment and prevention

This weekend I was at a desert motorcycle race up in the mountains where it was windy and cold. When I got home I was burnt out and then I realized my face was literally burned, but not sunburned.  It was from being in the cold wind two full days in a row without protection. I had an idea about what caused it but I wasn’t sure what the best way to treat it was. Your face is hard to protect because you can’t fully cover it up like your neck and hands. Now the questions become what causes windburn, how do you prevent it, and what do you do when it’s too late?

Photo Source
Photo Source

What is windburn?

Windburn has nothing to do with sunscreen or UV rays, although it can feel and look similar. Cold temperatures and dry air draw the natural moisture out of skin, causing blood vessels towards the top of the skin to dilate, creating a red complexion. Your skin can also peel as a result. Windburn is generally associated with skiers but it can happen anytime of the year, especially in high altitudes.


So, what do you when your face is windburned? Your skin will be particularly sensitive to products so make sure you steer clear of products with harsh ingredients. A great product for sensitive skin in general, including windburned skin is Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser. You also want to re-moisturize your skin and trusty aloe vera will get the job done.


Obviously, the best way to avoid it is not go outside in extreme conditions and if you must, only go out for short periods of time. A good skin care regimen is important because if your skin is properly moisturized to start with the windburn will be less severe. If you are going to be out in those conditions make sure to use a moisturizer with occlusive ingredients. Occlusive ingredients create a layer over your skin to help prevent moisture loss. Beeswax and shea butter are common ingredients that do this.

Even though windburn has nothing to do with UV rays I still want to stress the importance of using sunscreen. I understand not wanting to use the same sunscreen on your face that you do on your body and there are options. A great option for you face is tinted moisturizers with SPF, this will help take care of both kinds of burn. Another option is the increasingly popular CC (color correcting) creams with SPF.

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