Health spring clean

Improving our health as we go from winter into spring

Health and wellness as we go from winter into spring

Sorting out our diet, exercise and skin

We all tend to hibernate during winter time but now it’s time to shake off the cobwebs. Hopefully you survived the January cold and flu season unscathed. Or if you did end up suffering a dose then I hope you are feeling better. Now that we are in February it is time to start building up our immune system in preparation for spring and summer. It is also a great time of year to look at getting some exercise into our weekly routines and looking after our skin after it has been battered by winter weather extremes.


I’ll start with our immune system which is key to good health. Over winter time we may have switched to bad eating habits and we may be lacking in essential vitamins and minerals. It is great time of year to get the diet back on track. There are so many resources available to us with healthy recipes. A really great resource is Operation Transformations recipe section on their website ( or in Supervalu stores. Just because you didn’t get on the eating healthy buzz in January it isn’t too late to start now. If you were sick over the winter there is a good chance your immune system is still fighting back. There are loads of excellent supplements available today for your specific needs. Some of our best sellers are as follows;

Oxylent– This supplement comes in a powder form that you can make into a delicious drink. As well as the fact it is jam packed with multivitamins it also contains electrolytes.

Multivitamin, health

Seven Seas Perfect 7– This supplement has individually tailored supplements for men and for women. There also is an over 50 version of each supplement available.

Perfect7, health

Centrum Men and Women– This is another great multivitamin that contains a different version for men and for women. It also has an over 50 option available.

Centrum, health

Pharmaton Active Life– This multivitamin contains Ginseng which gives an extra energy boost to those who feel they need it.

pharmaton active life. health

All of these multivitamins have different quantities of the essential vitamins and minerals that we need for a healthy life. However nothing beats up your fruit and vegetable intake. Call into the pharmacy for advice on which one is best for your needs. It is also important to get a sufficient intake of vitamin D as we make Vitamin D from sunlight, which we here in Ireland don’t get enough of, especially during winter.


Secondly let’s look at the whole subject of exercise. Exercise is fundamental to our health. We all find exercising difficult during the dark winter months so this is a great time to start putting exercise to the top of our priority list. There are small measures that can make a huge difference such as taking the stairs at work or waking to the shop for a pint of milk instead of driving. However the WHO recommends that we do at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, which works out at 30minutes five days per week. So phone a friend and have a catch up over a brisk walk. It’s more fun if you have company and makes it easier to include in your weekly routine.


The third aspect of our health that may need attention after winter is our skin. The magic ingredient that does more for our skin than any other is…..water. During the cold months we tend to not be as vigilant in keeping ourselves hydrated so if you make one change in February then it should be aim to drink more water. We should aim for at least 2 litres of water a day. You will see the difference in your skin immediately. The other thing we can do in winter is to use good moisturisers. High street brands have got some excellent choices for dry damaged skin. You can make a massive difference to you skin by ensuring you apply a moisturiser every morning and evening. You can also treat yourself to a facemask every week such as the Garnier Moisture Bomb sheet mask or other similar sheet mask. These are extremely handy because they take the hassle out of applying a facemask.

garnier moisture bomb mask

Vichy has an incredible range of serums and moisturisers that contain hyaluronic acid which can really improve the texture of dehydrated skin. La Roche Posay has great solutions for extremely dry or intolerant skin such as their Toleriane and Hydraphase range. Call into the pharmacy for a great range of skincare, or send your other half in for a Valentines present.


So leave winter behind, make three resolutions for February to get ready for spring;

  1. Eat well and make sure you are getting your immune system back on track.
  2. Get out and get moving, include exercise in your daily routine.
  3. Look after your skin and drink more water.

If you need healthcare advice, to get your health back on track, call into your pharmacy today. Read more


Eczema and dry skin


We get a lot of queries in the pharmacy about eczema. Eczema is a very common skin condition. It affects 1 in 5 children and 1 in 12 adults.  The term eczema is often used to describe various skin conditions such as irritant dermatitis and contact dermatitis. For this blog post I am going to discuss atopic eczema which is the one that most people are familiar with.  Eczema is where the skin is extremely itchy and severely dry. The skin can appear red and irritated. It is often seen on the inside of the wrists and knees or other warm areas of the body. In babies eczema can often appear on the cheeks, forehead and scalp.



No one knows the root cause of eczema but it is known that it runs in families. Also people who suffer from other atopic conditions such as hay fever or asthma are more likely to have eczema. Your skin acts as a barrier stop allergens or irritants entering the body. It also prevents excess water loss from the body. However in people with eczema the barrier that covers the skin is weakened and as a result there is excess water loss and the skin dries out. This can be made worse by the use of soaps and harsh chemicals.

Daily maintenance:

It is so important in eczema to ensure that the skin is well moisturised with hypo allergenic emollients. You should avoid scented or coloured soaps and shampoos. Everyone will have their own individual triggers that will exacerbate their eczema so it is vital to know what your triggers are and to avoid them. The most common triggers are extreme changes in temperature, scratchy fabrics, chemical detergents, pet hair and dust mites. Some people can be affected by certain foods, if this applies to you it is important to keep a food diary and avoid foods that cause you issues. You may also find that certain detergents and washing powders can trigger a flare up. Then general rule of thumb is that non-biological washing powders are best. It also helps if you avoid colour catchers, drying sheets and stain removal products.


Managing flare ups

While it is crucial to always ensure you are using your emollients, it is critical during a flare up. You may need to get topical corticosteroids from you GP, these reduce inflammation. These creams should be used as well as your usual emollients. I would recommend you leave 15 minutes between applying your steroid and your emollient or vice versa.  Steroids creams range from mild to very potent. It is important to use steroids as directed by your GP or pharmacist and then to stop using them when the flare up has subsided. However DO NOT stop using you moisturiser as this will prevent a flare up reoccurring.


Which emollient?

The choice of emollient varies from person to person. You can get emollients in lotion, cream or ointment form. You should apply your emollient in the direction of hair growth. I particularly like La Roche Posay Lipikar as it reduces the itch as well as acting as an excellent moisturiser.  The La Roche Posay range also has a moisturising body wash called Syndet which can relieve very dry skin. You can purchase the entire La Roche Posay range in store or we have a limited selection in our online shop which can be accessed using the following link;

I am also getting very good feedback about the Childs Farm range which can be used in children as well as adults. This range has fabulous shampoos and showers gels.

When you find which skincare range works for you stick with it and apply an emollient often. If you need more advice call into the pharmacy where one of our trained skincare specialists or one of our pharmacists can help.

Looking after your skin and hair in winter time

Winter wellness for skin and hair

Skin and hair care in winter


Winter months can be tough on our bodies so it’s important to look after yourself to ensure your skin and hair are in tip top condition. There are easy tips you can follow at home such as washing your skin in lukewarm water and always ensuring that you moisturise immediately after a shower.  It is vital that you keep yourself well hydrated during winter time. You will feel less inclined to drink water when it’s cold outside but keeping yourself hydrated will help to avoid your skin drying out. There are some products that you can buy that are well worth investing in to give your skin that extra helping hand. Call into your pharmacy for some winter wellness advice.

  1. Udos oil– Contains Omega 3,6 & 9. These Omega oils help soften skin from the inside. It is not always possible to get sufficient omega oils through your diet so taking a supplement can be useful.
  2. La Roche-Posay Lipikar Baume AP+– It is important to have a really good moisturiser for after the shower. This Moisturiser contains an anti-itch ingredient Niacin amide (anti-histamine). It also has shea butter to nourish, and canola oil which acts as an anti-inflammatory. It will add oil to your skin to moisturise and it will act as a barrier, helping to protect your skin from the cold.
  3. Neutrogena Hand Cream– This glycerin-rich hand cream is a fantastic solution to winter chapped hands. Our hands often suffer the most during the winter months as they are often exposed to the elements.
  4. Blistex lip balm– This will ensure that your lips do not dry out and will avoid lips chapping and getting infected.
  5. Garnier Moisture Bomb mask– Every so often we need to give our skin a little extra boost. These handy sheet masks are the perfect way to introduce extra moisture into the skin. They are a great boost before a night out or after a day out in the cold air.
  6. Aqualia Night Spa Vichy moisturiser- Is enriched with Vichy thermal water, Hyaluronic acid and Aquabioryl. It is rich in minerals leaving skin feeling moisturised and renewed over night. Ideally moisturisers should be applied directly after cleansing your face.
  7. Garnier Ultimate Blends Sleek Restorer shampoo- This shampoo is enriched with coconut oil and cocoa butter. Hair is more likely to get damaged during winter months due to dryness. This can result in split ends and breakage. It is vital to choose a shampoo and conditioner that put moisture back into the hair at this time of year.