What are the symptoms of Windburn?

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Windburn is a skin condition caused by exposure to strong, cold winds for long periods of time. The wind removes the UV-filtering thin layer of lipids from the skin and cause irritation. The depletion of the oil layer is caused by both sun and wind. Windburn makes the skin excessively dry which leads to soreness and redness. Skiers are more prone to windburn and sunburn. At higher altitudes the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays are more concentrated. Besides, cold wind blows faster. This enhances windburn effect. 



What Causes Windburn?

Windburn is often mistaken for sunburn since the symptoms are almost same. The skin appears red and bumpy. Low humidity, very chilly wind, and cold temperature cause Windburn. Hence, people living in warmer or temperate regions do not experience windburn, whereas, those residing in colder climates, are more prone to it. People spending much time outdoors in cold, dry, windy weather are vulnerable to windburn. Apart from face, any exposed part of your body is vulnerable to windburn. With proper moisturisation, it often goes off on its own. Windburned skin is prone to peeling.



What Are the Symptoms of Windburn?

Common symptoms include redness, irritation, and watery eyes. In many cases, acne-like bumps or blisters appear on the face. The affected skin may peel. Burning sensation may often occur on the face.



How to Prevent Windburn?

One can easily prevent windburn. Exposed skin must be covered with sunscreen and moisturizer. Windburn is more frequent amongst skiers. They should protect their face with masks while skiing or snow-boarding. Regular use of petroleum jelly or moisturiser (three to four times a day), sunscreen lotion (with a SPF of atleast 15), hand gloves, scarves, mufflers, and chap stick helps to prevent windburn. Goggles prevent burning sensation in the eyes. One must use a mild cleanser to clean the affected areas. It is important to keep as much of the natural oils on the skin as possible. If the skin begins to blister or looks really swollen, one must immediately consult with a doctor. Some people use aloe vera, or chamomile tinctures as home-remedies. One must avoid hot shower and keep windburned areas away from the heat of heaters or fires. Doctors often prescribe mild pain reliever for severe windburn. Most OTC (over the counter) pain relieving drugs such as ibuprofen reduces discomfort. If the eyes feel irritated, one may consider “red eye” eye drops or “artificial tears” to combat itchiness.



What Is the Difference between Windburn and Sunburn?

  • Sunburn is caused by ultraviolet rays, whereas, windburn occurs due to exposure to the chilly wind.
  • Sunburn can occur in both warmer and colder climate, whereas, windburn occur only in colder climate.
  • Windburn does not damage the skin harshly as sunburn.
  • Sunscreen can completely protect from sunburn, whereas, windburn cannot be prevented by the use of sunscreen. The oil layer can get removed by chilly winds even in the absence of sunlight. 
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