Windburn, a classic cold injury

Windburn isn’t caused by the sun as some ex-spurts claim.
It is however a cold injury and can cause a skin rash and subsequent lesions by you scratching at it. Which, in a survival scenario, can be dangerous.

It is a result of cold temperatures and low humidity.
These conditions deplete the natural oils in your skin, causing dryness, irritation, and redness. As such it is not isolated to the face and can occur anywhere on a body when skin is exposed to the elements.

Simple methods will prevent it.

  1. Keep your skin covered, sleeves rolled down.
  2. Cover up.
    A hat pulled down over your ears and neck, scarf or even a face mask, mittens, etc.
  3. Lube up with a moisturising sun block and don’t forget your lips and EARS!
    Now that may sound like I’m admitting that sun burn is a factor.
    Well it is, sort of. 
    What’s actually going on is the skin and blood supply is already compromised by the cold and low humidity thus the UV rays from the sun can cause more damage than usual.
  4. Watch the weather reports. You need to look for the “wind chill” and “humidity”.
    Anything under 20°F (minus 7°C) or a humidity less than 20% is bad.
    At those levels, limit your exposure to the elements, COVER UP, and LUBE!
  5. Whenever possible lube your skin with a non chemical (aka cosmetic) natural moisturiser like olive oil,

Wind burned skin craves moisture, so if you do happen to get windburn, apply a moisturising lotion (ones without fragrances or acidic ingredients) about three to four times a day AND COVER UP. Here’s five natural examples.

  • Coconut oil.
  • Aloe Vera
  • Pure Olive Oil (not blended).
  • Unflavoured natural Yoghurt
  • Some say honey.
    Blend equal quantities with beeswax and keep stirring over a gentle heat.
    Let it cool and dab onto the skin.

All five should be put on and left for 10 minutes before GENTLY washing off with a VERY MILD SOAP or, if you can, MILK!
Only don’t forget. You need to pat dry your damaged skin, never rub.


  1. Classic tee-shirt damage
  2. Typical facial damage
  3. ‘Chapped Lips’ is also windburn / low humidity damage
  4. Hands. Next step the skin starts to split.
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