What Is the Difference Between Sunburn and Windburn?

Sunburn is a burn on the skin from overexposure to ultraviolet rays while windburn is the result of high winds stripping the oils from the skin, resulting in a burned appearance. Individuals are at risk for sunburn during hot and cold weather, but windburn only occurs in cold, windy conditions.

WebMD recommends preventing sunburn by regularly applying sunscreen while outdoors, wearing hats, and staying indoors or in the shade between 10 am and 4 pm when the sun's rays are strongest. Treat sunburn by applying cold compresses and creams containing aloe or menthol. Ibuprofen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs will help reduce pain and swelling from the burn.

Prevent windburn by using a thick moisturizer with ingredients such as jojoba oil or shea butter to lock moisture into the skin, as suggested by Self Magazine. Runners World also suggests treating wind burned skin with 1 percent hydrocortisone cream.