If you like to venture out in the cold weather, you want to protect your skin from windburn. No it's not a Winter sunburn because it's not caused by the sun's harmful rays. Even though it may feel like a bad sunburn, it's actually caused by a combination of cold temperatures and low humidity. These conditions deplete the natural oils in your skin causing it to dry up, turn red, and feel irritated. It most commonly appears on your face, but windburn can happen any place on your body where skin is exposed to the elements.
How can you prevent windburn?
- Keep your skin covered. Wear mittens to protect your hands, a scarf or neck warmer to protect your neck and chin, a hat or headband to protect your ears, and a face mask for your nose, cheeks, and forehead.
- When you're going to be out for a long time, lather on some moisturizing sunblock. This will protect your skin from both sun- and windburn. Don't forget to lube up your lips, too, with an SPF lip moisturizer. Apply sunscreen to your skin and lips every two hours.
- Check the weather report and know the wind-chill factor before heading out. If the weather is extremely cold (under 20°F) plan to stay out for a short period of time. Also stick to activities that are slower moving. Racing down the mountain on skis when it's absurdly cold out, won't feel very good on your cheeks.
What if you have windburn? To find out how to treat it read more
- Windburned skin craves moisture. Apply lotion (ones without fragrances will be less irritating) about three to four times a day. You can also apply aloe gel from the plant or a bottle to cool and heal windburned skin. If your skin begins to peel, it's just part of the healing process. Resist the urge to pick at your skin and continue to moisturize.
- Use a mild cleanser to clean the affected areas. You want to keep as much of the natural oils on your skin as possible.
- If your face or skin is sore, take an OTC anti-inflammatory such as aspirin or ibuprofen. It will ease the pain and promote healing.
- If your skin begins to blister or looks really swollen, get checked by a doctor.