The Importance of Face Masks
In many sub zero conditions even with a light wind you can experience conditions that will allow the skin to freeze. Author wearing a Seirus Original Masque on 1/29/17.
Frost Bite or lighter Frost Nip can be cured by warming with the hands and like sunburn will often have residual effects. And can be a very serious threat to your ability to function in the outdoors.
Using a hood or Face Mask will allow you to often tighten it to the point where you can limit exposure to extreme wind chills, but can often restrict vision which for outdoor and military activities can often be as important as the threat of frost bite.
The military understood that the importance of solider's need for ability to withstand cold temperatures.
But the military's first attempts at developing a way to fend off the cold were to develop a fur ruff that could be gathered around the face. Snorkel or N--3B parkas were patterned after Eskimo garments like the parka above. Although used by the Air Force this design was deemed not appropriate for combat troops.
After WW1 the only face protection was a form of toque made of wool. The problem with these was that they were not windproof and would collect moisture and then freeze. The Navy and other branches of the service began to experiment with layers of fabrics that were more water and wind resistant.
Current Face masks use materials like neoprene and polarshield in layers to wick but at the same time protect your face. They will freeze up but if you manage the flow of air it greatly improves your ability to withstand extreme temps.