If you spend any time outdoors in the summer or winter, at some point you have experienced an uncomfortable burn on your face from the elements. Was it sunburn or windburn? Maybe it was both. But what’s the difference?
What is Windburn?
Windburn occurs usually in winter during cold windy days. For example, if you go skiing, snowboarding or hiking you can end up with a case of windburn. The cold wind damages your skin by pulling out all the moisture and oils. There is no real lasting damage, only temporary inflammation.
You can get windburn on your face, ears, and hands. That’s why it’s best to cover as much of your face and head as possible when outdoors. Gloves will protect your hands, and use plenty of moisturizer before going out in the winter.
If you use wrinkle creams or acne medication, stop using them a few days before a ski trip. These products already dry out your skin.
If you do end up with a windburn, soothe it by using a moisturizer and/or aloe vera, avoid hot showers, and an over-the-counter painkiller if necessary.
What is a Sunburn?
Although “burn” is in both names, a sunburn is much more dangerous. You can develop a sunburn in both warm and cold climates, unlike windburn. A sunburn occurs when UV rays burn unprotected skin causing long-term damage.
Sunburn penetrates the skin, unlike windburn which only affects the skin’s outer layer. Sunburn can leave you with discolouration and brown spots as you age, not to mention premature wrinkles. It also puts you at risk for skin cancer. Although doctors have long cautioned the public to use sunscreen, some still think they can beat the odds. Don’t take the chance.
Don’t be fooled by cloudy weather. UV rays can still penetrate through the clouds.
Although both windburn and sunburn have similar symptoms like inflamed skin, they are NOT the same.
Protecting your skin no matter the weather or climate must always be on your mind.