Windburn

Written by Dr. Mary

What is Windburn?

Windburn is commonly known to us as sunburn that is triggered or aggravated by the wind’s effect in removing the UV-filtering layer lipids of our skin. This can cause for irritation thus causing for less protection from the sun or the UV rays. As most cases, this should not be confused with sunburn. Take note that the burnt skin is a result from the wind exposure. The strong gust of cold wind which comes to extend in a long period of time causes the removal of the protective oil layers of the skin. As a result, the more a person becomes susceptible to sun burn.


This condition is more common in cold areas or in low temperature countries. Those commonly affected are the frequent runners or those who engage in activities that may involve low temperature wind blowing on the face.

Windburn Symptoms

Windburn is typically described as erythema on the face or redness. This has been compared with sunburn often because of its appearance. The red rash on the face would show up after running or jogging. This is usually described as unpleasant by the client. Almost alike for one experiences or senses with sunburn:

  • Redness with pain or discomfort
  • May peel off in due time
  • Others may have itching sensation or develop rashes

Windburn facePicture : Windburn face

Image source: totalbeauty.com

Windburn Causes

According to studies, this condition is triggered by the increased or sudden gush of wind on the face while running or from any form of action that aggravates wind on the face. As the skin is exposed to it, the barrier, may be it oil of the skin, will eventually diminish causing susceptibility to UV light.

In the end, sun burnt is the result of phenomenon. In a situation where there is low temperature outside, a person becomes susceptible to wind burn as he continues his or her daily run routine. This is because of the easy drying of the skin after running, making the skin unprotected from the UV light which is penetrable even without the visibility of the sun.

Windburn Treatment

The aim or goal of treatment for windburn is to relieve the discomfort that one is currently experiencing. By this, we can avoid the aggravation of the skin problem. Here are the following interventions for windburn:

  • Pain relievers. These can help in the reduction of the soreness and discomfort from windburn. Anti-inflammatory drugs are much recommended so that swelling can also be reduced.
  • Apply moisture. This can be done by applying a moisturizer that can relieve the dryness and the skin’s sensitivity from touch because of the sun burnt. A low-dose hydrocortisone cream is usually recommended. One should also include the lips for it is also a sensitive area and most likely also affected by windburn.
  • Do not scratch. One should avoid scratching the affected area for this can only worsen the state of the skin and decrease the process of healing.
  • Take good care of your skin. When we treat our skin carefully, we can avoid easy drying and susceptibility to windburn.

Windburn Prevention

There are a lot of ways to prevent such condition. Here are the following steps to be followed in order to prevent windburn:

  • Face masks. This can help protect one’s skin from windburn. Those who are into running and cycling should use this in order to avoid windburn. There’s a product that is recommended for running as this is a lightweight face mask. This is only recommended when a person is running in a cold weather, tendency is when you run in warm weather with the face mask; overheating and dehydration may be the end result.
  • UV protection. Overexposure to UV rays from sunlight can increase one chance of acquiring skin cancer and also premature aging. As this is expected, we need to protect one’s skin by applying a broad-spectrum sun block that can protect the skin from the damage which the ultraviolet ray can provide. It is important to take note that we choose a proper sunscreen such as those which can also moisturize it so dryness can be avoided when running in cold temperatures. Also we need to protect the eyes by using UV-blocking sunglasses. If the weather places you at risk for windburn, we need to avoid that possibility by instead running in an indoor track which there is less wind and low temperature.
  • Rosewater and moisturizer. This can help in avoiding the aggravation of windburn. This should be sprayed on the face when the skin feels irritated after being exposed to sudden wind. Also this has claimed a good effect by reducing the redness on the face.
  • Apply moisturizer at all times when one anticipates cold wind gushing your way. Better yet, bring along with you a moisturizer to be sure and be ready at all times.
  • If the condition seemed to be out of control such as the skin is beginning to have blisters, one should consult the doctor to provide immediate care.
  • Take precautions. When a cold weather is suspected and you plan to have your daily run one should stay out of the cold or use the tools that shall avoid the occurrence of windburn.

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