Jan 31, 2019 · 4 min read
Feeling the burn, even in the coldest time of year? Windburn may look and feel like sunburn, but it’s its own beast. A combination of low temperatures, dry air, and strong winds can weaken the top layer of your skin, making it look red, dry, and scaly, and feel itchy, stingy, or overly sensitive.
To ditch the winter itch, the key is to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize — and, as always, top it off with sunscreen of at least SPF 30. However, not all moisturizers are equally effective against the winter weather. Read on for our recommendations and more pro skincare tips.
It’s possible to have windburn and sunburn at the same time — ouch! But often, what one thinks is windburn is actually a sunburn. If you spend an extended amount of time outdoors in cold weather, you’re at risk for both — this includes ice skaters, snowboarders, and skiers.
You should protect your skin with SPF year-round, especially if you do winter sports or spend any extended period of time outdoors. Check out our list of face sunscreens for every skin type, and our ultimate guide to sunscreen. A moisturizing sunscreen can help protect your skin from both sunburn and windburn.
The basic cause is dehydrated skin, so the best way to treat windburn — and prevent it from happening in the first place — is by keeping your skin moisturized.
Resist the urge to exfoliate dry, flaky skinEven if the cold air makes your skin dry and flaky, exfoliating extra will only make matters worse! Cut back on anything that tends to dry or irritate your skin, such as exfoliation (physical or chemical), over-the-counter products containing retinol, or prescription topicals containing retinoids. This would also not be the best time for treatments such as microdermabrasion or chemical peels.
Use a hydrating cleanserConsider using a hydrating cleanser — such as the Curology cleanser! We also recommend Pai Skincare Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser and Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser. Avoid anything harsh that leaves your skin feeling tight, shiny, or dried-out. Check out our Cleanser Guide for more product recommendations and tips.
3 . Choose your moisturizer wiselyBefore you go outside, apply a moisturizer that’s an emollient (such as shea butter or mineral oil) and/or humectant (such as hyaluronic acid or glycerine). Translation: emollients deliver water directly into the skin using a carrier oil, while humectants draw water into the skin to lock in moisture. (We explain this more in our Moisturizer Guide!) The Curology moisturizers contain a combination of emollient, humectant, and occlusive moisturizing properties, which makes it a great option in winter (and any time of year). Our new rich moisturizer is especially potent, making it the most ideal to treat extreme dryness from winter winds.
4 . Ceramides are your skin’s best friendSome skincare products, such as moisturizer, contain ceramides — these are naturally occurring lipids (fats) in the skin. Ceramides are a treat for sensitive skin!
- CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30- FIRST AID BEAUTY Ultra Repair Pure Mineral Sunscreen Moisturizer SPF 40- Aveeno Ultra-Calming Nourishing Night Cream- Paula’s Choice Clinical Ceramide-Enriched Moisturizer
5. Try a thicker moisturizer when the temperature dropsHeavier, petrolatum-based moisturizers can help lock in moisture and provide a defensive barrier to shield your skin against cold wind. Curology’s rich moisturizer is a thick cream containing 6 deeply hydrating ingredients including hyaluronic acid and glycerin, which help your skin draw in and retain moisture.
6. Turn down the water tempWe know that long, hot showers feel great when it’s cold out, but hot water strips your skin of its natural protective oils, leaving it dried-out and vulnerable. Wash with lukewarm or cool water to help protect your skin against the elements (and to prevent acne, irritation, and redness).
7. Layer different moisturizing products for extra protectionTry adding a hydrating serum or oil, such as rosehip oil, into your skincare routine for extra moisture. Serums or oils should go on first, before a thicker moisturizing cream or lotion. (Just be sure to avoid coconut oil, as it can clog pores!) Top it all off with sunscreen, and you’re good to go!
8. Avoid products with alcohol in themSkincare products that contain alcohol in the base will irritate compromised skin even more — yikes! Check your products’ ingredients for anything irritating. CosDNA.com makes it easy to find out if a product’s ingredients may be irritating your skin — check out our handy how-to guide here.