How to Protect Your Skin Against Windburn
At first glance, the word “windburn” may seem like an oxymoron. How can the wind burn the skin? That’s what the sun does, which is why we take measures to help protect against sunburn like applying broad-spectrum sunscreen and wearing protective clothing. As it turns out, wind can impact the skin and cause a burning sensation, which is commonly known as windburn. To provide a bit more clarity, we describe what exactly windburn is, how it could affect your skin, and how to prevent it from happening. Read on for more, below!
WHAT IS WINDBURN?
According to Dictionary.com, windburn is “an inflammation of the skin, especially of the face and hands, caused by overexposure to the wind.” The term’s first recorded use was in 1925 and since then has served as the designation for the burning sensation and accompanying redness that can occur with exposure to windy conditions. The Cleveland Clinic compares the sensation to one you may feel post-microdermabrasion.
WHAT CAUSES WINDBURN?
Overexposure to any element could reap negative consequences upon your skin. In certain climates, particularly the colder ones, skin becomes more susceptible to external aggressors because its natural moisture barrier is weakened from the heightened dryness. The cold wind adds to this heightened dryness, which in turn can cause the skin to become irritated and red. Other experts believe that the wind could actually lower your skin’s natural sun protection, giving way to harmful UVA and UVB rays and thus being another instigator of windburn.
But super windy days or amplified exposure to the wind (think: fast-paced bike rides or an extended amount of time spent on a boat) aren’t the only things that may catalyze windburn. The use of certain skin care ingredients, such as tretinoin (a relative of retinol), can heighten skin’s sensitivity and leave it more susceptible to the effects of windburn.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF WINDBURN?
Windburn is typically the culprit behind burning, irritated skin after being outside for a long time in cold harsh climates. If you’ve diligently applied and re-applied sunscreen yet still feel a burning sensation on your skin, windburn could be the cause
HOW TO PREVENT WINDBURN
One of the main ways you could help prevent windburn is by wearing the proper protective clothing. Donning gloves, scarves, and hats could help prevent the wind (and sun, at that) from having a negative impact on your skin. Should you be an avid partaker in winter activities, add sunglasses and goggles to the list. Also try to limit your exposure to the wind by finding enclosed areas or remaining inside, especially if you know the temperatures are due to drop that day.
Of course, if you aren’t already incorporating broad-spectrum sunscreen into your skin care routine, make sure to do so for optimal protection no matter what time of year it is. Investing in other protective skin care products can help shield your skin from effects of the wind is also crucial. The CeraVe Moisturizing Cream is a go-to favorite to get the job done. Formulated with the brand's signature ceramides as well as hyaluronic acid, this moisturizer helps to both reinforce and repair your skin's natural barrier for all-around protection
HOW TO ADDRESS WINDBURN
If you suspect you may be suffering from windburn, there are a couple of things you can do about it. Keep out of the elements so your skin has enough time to repair on its own. Then, look into products that are known to soothe the skin. This should include calming ingredients—such as aloe—to calm and soothe skin irritation you may experience.