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Combining the usual seasonal challenges of winter with the effects of the Covid pandemic has created the perfect storm for acne to wreak havoc with your complexion. Understanding some of the causative factors and taking simple steps to address them can control your breakouts and calm your skin. 

Dr Sam Robson, medical director at Temple Clinic, a specialist skin care and acne clinic in Aberdeen

Guest blog contributed by Dr Sam Robson, medical director at Temple Clinic, a specialistskin care and acne clinic in Aberdeen.

The festive season itself can give rise to stress with worries about getting everything done in time, buying gifts, having enough of the right food, and seeing (or not seeing) the right people among your friends and family.
This Christmas, the pandemic has stood things on their head and made the festive season even more stressful for many of us.  

Stress affects our brain, stimulating the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. This leads to an increased production of cortisol, the stress hormone, which in turns causes increased excretion of oil onto the skin and makes us more prone to acne.  

Winter Acne, young woman warming her hands in the cold


Activities such as yoga can relax us or increasing exercise by doing home workouts can lower the cortisol and reduce the feelings of stress. 

However, home workouts have recently been cited as one of the contributory causes to the rise in ‘body acne’, affecting the chest, buttocks and back. This is because after these home workouts, we are less likely to immediately shower and change- sitting around in sweaty clothes can exacerbate acne. Sitting around can also cause more friction between your skin, your clothes and your sofa - thus making spots more likely – and most of us do more sitting around during the dark days of winter. 

On the topic of darkness, 68 people with acne were recently found to have lower vitamin D levels than healthy control subjects. (Read the study here). It can’t be said from this that low vitamin levels contribute to causing acne, although it might; it could be that the psychological and social stresses of acne predispose affected people to spend less time outdoors. Whatever the nature of the association might be, a high proportion of people in the UK winters have low vitamin D, so taking a supplement may be sensible for most of us. We should also get outside when we can during this Covid affected winter – just to get the benefit of both light and exercise. 

Bread being offered during Christmas dinner

Partly from the effects of the festive season, and partly through seasonal variations in diet, many of us eat more refined carbohydrates in winter. Chocolate, potatoes and bread are the typical culprits  - and these foodstuffs are likely to worsen any predisposition to acne. So, keeping an eye on how much of these things you are consuming would be sensible as well as aiming to incorporate more fresh fruit and vegetables. 

Finally, for various reasons, people are not taking as much care of their skin – whether this is due to the physical and emotional exhaustion caused by the pandemic – some people are showering less resulting in oil building up and clogging pores whilst others are showering more meaning the skin becomes more irritated. A simple skincare routine using effective products on both your face and body can help fight back against acne and problem skin. The LUSTRE ClearSkin Blue Light SOLO and TRIO devices can also be used on the face and body to effectively kill the acne causing bacteria. 

So – simple messages for improving post-Christmas winter acne would be:

  • Combat your stress perhaps with yoga and exercise 
  • Beware of the after-effects of home workouts and shower/change immediately you have finished 
  • Avoid long periods of sitting around 
  • Get outside when you can 
  • Consider vitamin D supplements 
  • Limit your intake of refined carbohydrates 
  • Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables 
  • Establish an effective skincare routine 
  • Daily use of LUSTRE ClearSkin Blue Light Therapy on problematic areas.


Woman wearing a LUSTRE ClearSkin SOLO to treat acne on her back

Why did you decide to work with LUSTRE?

“When Ambicare invited me to collaborate with them I was very pleased. I have had considerable personal experience of using their Lustre Solo and Trio devices within my clinic with significant success. I very much believe that  Light therapy can revolutionise problem skin treatments and an holistic approach should be the cornerstone of any management plan.”
- Dr Sam Robson, medical director at Temple Clinic, a specialistskin care and acne clinic in Aberdeen.

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