Dealing with windburn

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Windburn is the reddening of the skin due to contact to strong and chilly winds for long extended periods. It is characterized by soreness, inflammation and itchiness of the affected area.

The wind eliminates the ultraviolet-filtering thin layers of lipids within the skin and result to irritation. The reduction of oil layer can be caused by both the sun and wind. Windburn can cause the skin to become severely dry and result to soreness and redness of the area. Skiers are more susceptible to windburn and sunburn.

Causes of windburn

  • Low humidity, cold temperature and very chilly wind
  • Living in colder climates
  • Spending plenty of time in cold, dry and windy weather


  • Redness
  • Irritation
  • Watery eyes
  • Acne-like bumps or blisters develops on the face
  • Peeling of the affected area
  • Burning sensation on the face


Acne-like bumps or blisters develops on the face.
  • Take plenty of rest. Avoid overexertion to prevent sweating that result to dehydration and causes mild headaches.
  • Take a cool water bath. Tepid water is also good if not comfortable with cool water. Another alternative is adding 1 cup of vinegar to the water. Avoid taking hot showers.
  • Avoid exposure to stoves, heaters and fires to prevent further damage that can worsen the condition.
  • Apply a hydrating lotion on the affected area to replenish lost moisture in the area. Use specially-foumulated facial oils and water-based lotions and moisturizers. Use a hydrating lip balm every time when going out in the cold or dry environment.
  • Place a cool compress on the affected area to lessen the burning sensation.
  • Drink plenty of water, soups and healthy juices regularly to hydrate the skin. Drink at least 2-3 liters of water every day to replenish moisture of the body which is needed for prevention and for fast healing of the condition.
  • Avoid facial treatments such as facial peels or microdermabrasion done before spending long periods of time outside in the cold and windy weather to prevent further damage.
  • Take the prescribed pain medication such as ibuprofen and naproxen to lessen the inflammation, pain and the itching of the skin.
  • Soak a clean washcloth in cool milk, drain excess liquid and place on the affected skin.
  • Apply the prescribed eye drops or artificial tears to moisten the eyes and lessen the itchiness of the area.


  • Wear a mask while skiing and snowboarding.
  • Regularly use of petroleum jelly at least 3-4 times every day as well as sunscreen lotion that contains an SPF of at least 15 and always wear hand gloves, scarves, mufflers and lip balm to prevent windburn.
  • Wear googles to prevent burning sensation in the eyes.
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