We are in the dead of winter. That means dryness, cold, snow, short days, and a lot of other potential downsides. But it’s not all doom and gloom. In northern climates the winter brings with it ample opportunities for outdoor activities, from sledding and skiing, to snow shoeing, snowmobiling, and snowball fights. Not to mention the chance to be super cozy next to the fire on cold nights.
The only downside to all those outdoor winter activities, though, is the windburn that often accompanies them. If you haven’t heard the term before, you’ve definitely felt the effects. Just imagine a bad sunburn on your face in the middle of January. Your face turns red, and it becomes dry and flaky after some time, just like a sunburn.
Let’s dive into what windburn is, how you can prevent it, and how CBD may help you treat it.
What Is Windburn, Anyway?
Unless you’re a skier or you spend lots of time outdoors in the winter cold, you may not have even heard of the word before. In fact, not even all skin experts are in agreement as to what exactly a “windburn” is.
Some will argue that it’s simply a sunburn in the winter, while others will treat it as a completely separate condition. The confusion is not helped by the fact that sunburns and windburns can often occur simultaneously. As someone who skis avidly out west in the sun, I can tell you that the combination of the two is not fun.
Here is what one doctor had to say about the difference between the two conditions:
“Windburn tends to be more of an irritant reaction, where the wind strips the skin of its protective barrier and reduces its ability to strengthen and moisturize the skin, leading to dryness, inflammation, and redness,” says Dr. Kassardjian. “Sunburn is caused by UV rays directly affecting skin cells, damaging them, and leading to discoloration, premature aging, as well as increasing risks of skin cancer.”
For the sake of this article, let’s just agree to treat windburn as its own condition, and if you’re interested, you can look into the ongoing debate between skin care experts at another time.
Common Symptoms of Windburns
The best way to describe what a windburn is, is to go over its symptoms, which are very similar in how they feel to a sunburn, but have a different cause. Here are the common symptoms of a bad windburn:
- Skin sensitivity
Causes of Windburns
We’ve touched on them a little bit already, but the primary cause of windburns is, well, the wind. The cold, dry gusts strip your outer skin layer of its natural oils and defensive capabilities leading to damage that impairs your skin’s ability to protect your face. The blood vessels in the outer layer of the skin may start to dilate, which is the culprit behind the redness and swelling. This damage to your outer skin layer also leaves you more susceptible to the sun’s UV rays, which is why windburns and sunburns often coexist at the same time.
All of these issues are made worse when you’re at higher altitudes or when there is snow on the ground. Higher altitudes are dryer, which saps more moisture from your skin, and snow will reflect up to 80% of the sun’s UV rays, so your dry, defenseless skin gets exposed to the sun from every direction.
Before we jump into how CBD might give an existing windburn some relief, first let’s go over how to you can try preventing it in the first place. The best methods go hand in hand with keeping your skin moisturized and healthy generally in the winter. Here are some tips:
- Avoid exposing skin to cold, dry air environments for extended periods of time (read: cover up as much skin as possible when outside in the winter!).
- Shower and wash your face with cooler water if you will be outside in the cold a lot. Prolonged contact with hot water tends to dry out your skin.
- Avoid chemicals and skin care products that you know dry out your skin.
- Use humidifiers in your home to ensure the level of moisture indoors is at a comfortable, healthy level.
- Moisturize your skin before and after exposing it to dry, cold air for extended periods of time.
- Always use sunscreen on any exposed skin while outdoors in the winter. Doing so will help prevent the painful duo of windburns and sunburns.
Okay, so do those things, but if you do get a windburn, what can you do then?
Treating a Windburn with CBD
Once you have the signature red, puffy, painful face that characterizes a windburn, the most important thing to do is to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Drink plenty of water to hydrate your skin and use face lotions and creams to soothe and help heal your skin. You can also try using CBD topical products.
When it comes to dry, red, painful skin, you want to return your oils to their appropriate levels and reduce the inflammation. CBD has been found to have a positive impact on the regulation and production of oil in our epidermis. This study found that CBD acts as an effective sebostatic agent. That’s important because the sebaceous glands are responsible for oil production in the skin. That oil can help moisturize your skin and help heal your windburn.
CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties may help as well. Several types of our body’s cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, have been found throughout the skin. This has led to the thinking that our body’s endocannabinoid system plays an important role in the immune response processes of our skin.
Because improper immune response can result in inflammation and other skin conditions, and because CBD interacts with our body’s endocannabinoid system, there has been a great deal of interest in researching CBD topicals and CBD-infused creams as anti-inflammatories for inflammation-related skin conditions.
How to Use CBD Topicals
Using CBD topicals for windburns is pretty simple. All you have to do is apply it to the affected area daily or multiple times a time to experience its soothing, healing effects. The kicker is that CBD takes some time to build up in our bodies to the point where it can potentially make a difference. For that reason, we recommend beginning to use CBD topicals before you actually experience windburn.
If you’re an avid winter sport enthusiast or plan on spending a lot of time outdoors in the winter, then add CBD to your daily regimen. Apply it to your face, hands, and other exposed skin daily, and you’ll have the added protection of the proper levels of oil and moisture in your skin. That may arm your skin to better resist windburn, and give your body the ammunition it needs to heal if you do get a windburn.
We Have High Quality CBD Topicals at Urban Roots Hemp Co.
Our CBD topicals are tested by independent labs for quality and CBD levels, so you can be sure that you’re purchasing a reputable product. Try our Arbor & Shore CBD Body Butter, CBD Roll-On, and CBD Face Moisturizer products. They don’t have any artificial scents or additives, which means they won’t burn when you apply to very dry or cracked skin! We also have our Urban Roots Hemp Co. lip balm infused with CBD that will leave your lips feeling soothed and refreshed. Let us know if you have any questions about using CBD to improve your skin this winter.