FREE SHIPPING AUSTRALIA WIDE on orders of 2 tins or more ~ gifts for your skin and our planet 🌼

April 14, 2021

Windburn or sunburn? A woman with dark hair blowing across her face stands with the ocean in the background

When it comes to windburn, there’s quite a bit of heated (or chilled?) debate and conjecture about whether it actually exists. Most dermatologists seem to recognise windburn as a real condition, but even the experts haven’t reached a consensus. For those who’ve experienced windburn, you’ll probably attest that it’s a totally legit (and uncomfortable) phenomenon.

Some of the conjecture comes from the fact that people sometimes mistake sunburn for windburn. As we know, sunburn can happen even on cool, overcast days — especially if the sun’s rays are bouncing off water or snow — so we might end up blaming the wind for damage caused by the sun.

To add to the confusion, it can also be hard to tell the difference between the symptoms. Luckily, the prevention and treatment methods for windburn and sunburn are mostly the same.

Windburn or sunburn? A small girl walks down some steps at the beach with an overcast sky overhead

What does windburn look and feel like?

Windburn appears and feels very similar to sunburn.

Your skin might be red, itchy, scaly, puffy and hot to touch. We most often see windburn on the face, as facial skin is the most delicate and sensitive, but it can appear anywhere on the body where skin has been exposed to the elements.

When and why does windburn happen?

Basically, windburn can occur anytime when you’re outside in cold winds with low humidity (windburn doesn’t tend to happen in warm weather). One theory is that the wind strips your skin of its protective oils, leaving it vulnerable to inflammation. Low humidity also dries out your skin, which means its natural defences are weakened.

People will often experience windburn while skiing or snowboarding, while boating or surfing, or while running or cycling in the cold. 

Windburn or sunburn? A close-up of a red-headed woman's closed right eye and freckly face

How can we prevent windburn?

Thankfully, there are some things we can do to minimise our risk of windburn.

Just like sun damage, your first line of defence is covering up as much skin as possible when out in the elements. It’s especially important to protect the face with sunglasses or goggles, and you might want to wrap a scarf around your mouth and neck.

Dermatologists also recommend keeping the skin moisturised, so remember to go through your normal skincare routine — and potentially use a thicker moisturiser — on days when you’re going to be out in the wind and cold. It’s a good idea to avoid harsh chemicals (like retinol) on your skin at all times, but particularly if you’re concerned about windburn, as you don’t want to be stripping your skin’s natural oils before you even meet the wind.

Using a physical sunscreen (like SunButter!) will further assist in creating a barrier. Plus, given what we know about UV rays, we should really be wearing sunscreen year-round. SunButter has the added benefit of being hydrating for the skin (thanks to coconut oil), so it’s a win-win-win! 

Don’t forget to protect and nurture your lips, either — the skin on the lips is especially sensitive, and chapped lips are fun for no one. Zinc and lip balm are your friends here. 

How to treat windburn

Thankfully, windburn doesn’t usually last as long (or cause the same lasting damage) as sunburn. However, it’s no walk in the park. If the undesirable has happened and the wind has delivered you (what feels like) a slap across the face, there are a few things you can do to nourish your skin back to health.

First, you can to make sure you’re moisturising the skin several times a day with hydrating creams. If the windburn is bad, it can be a good idea to harness the calming effects of aloe vera (fresh is best) or oatmeal (there are some body lotions on the market that are oatmeal-based, or your can make your own. For the face, check out our DIY facial recipes here). Be gentle with your skin, keep your showers cool and avoid exfoliating until the condition has cleared up.

Our Boab, Wattle and Kelp Face Oil is also great for rehydrating the skin. Boab is said to be one of the best natural humectants ( a kind of moisturiser that helps you draw moisture from the air)!

If you’re heading back out into the great outdoors, it’s important to maintain your sunscreen game, because damaged skin is more susceptible to sun damage (unfair, but true).

Windburn or sunburn? A woman wearing colourful bikinis holds an aluminium bottle of SunButter face oil with the dropper above it

How long does windburn last?

The good news is that windburn generally fades sooner than sunburn: it’s usually gone after a few days. The more after-care you give yourself, the sooner your skin can start repairing.


Shop our original SPF50 sunscreen





Also in SunButter News

How to create an autumn skincare regime
How to create an autumn skincare regime

March 05, 2021

When it comes to skin, the changing of the seasons is always a bit of a precarious time as your epidermis adjusts to different conditions. Autumn can be the time when all the carefree fun, late nights and long beach days of summer finally catch up with us. The air becomes drier and less humid; the weather windier. Combined with the increased time we might spend near heaters, this whole thing is a recipe for dehydrated and dull-looking skin.  

Tinted sunscreen FAQs
Tinted sunscreen FAQs

February 16, 2021

Is SunButter tinted SPF50 suitable to replace tinted moisturiser or BB cream? What about foundation? Does the tinted sunscreen work with all skin tones? Will it stain my clothes? Is it the same formula as your regular sunscreen? Is it resistant to sweat? All your tinted sunscreen questions, answered.
Why SunButter sunscreen is plant-based, vegan and cruelty-free
Why SunButter sunscreen is plant-based, vegan and cruelty-free

February 10, 2021

You could say we’re a little ambitious when it comes to our products. We don’t just want them to be amazing concoctions that you use and love and keep coming back for — we also want them to tick every possible box in the planet-loving column (reef-safe? Check! Plastic-free? Check! All-natural? You betcha!). Naturally, this means our sunscreen formula is plant-based and vegan.