Windburn Overview

Treating Windburn

Although windburn is often accompanied by sunburn, the good news is that its lasting effects on your skin aren't nearly as serious as those associated with sunburn. In fact, windburn should fade on its own in a few days. Here are some tips to help you ease the irritation.

Treat the surface of your skin by applying aloe vera or another moisturizer several times each day. Since the wind and sun have stripped the lipids necessary to keep your skin moisturized, you'll need to get that moisture from an outside source. The skin affected by windburn may peel as it does when irritated by sunburn, but keeping it moisturized can make you feel more comfortable [source:].

You can also take medication to reduce pain or soreness associated with severe windburn. Aspirin and anti-inflammatory medicines can help speed up the healing process.

Other parts of your body, such as your eyes and lips, may have been affected by the wind as well. Treat lips with a moisturizing lip balm and use eye drops to help soothe eye irritation. Keep the affected areas away from fires or heaters, and avoid taking hot showers for a few days -- all these actions dry out your skin. If your skin is still irritated after a few days, you should see your doctor. You may have a similar condition called rosacea.

Although windburn can be painful, the condition itself is preventable. The next time you plan outdoor winter activities, take the necessary steps to protect yourself from the wind and the sun. You'll be happy you did.

To learn more about skin conditions, visit the links below.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


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  • Geok Seng, Raymond Lee. "Top 7 Ways to Treat and Prevent Windburn." (Accessed 08/04/09).
  • Gibson, Lawrence E. "Chapped lips: What is the best remedy?" October 4, 2008. (Accessed 08/04/09).
  • "Cold Temperature Exposure." Healthwise. (Accessed 8/10/2009),,colde_aa54252,00.html
  • "Rosacea." (Accessed 08/04/09).
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  • US Air Force. "Time for Sunscreen and Sweaters." January 10, 2008. (Accessed 8/10/2009)