Avoid dry skin, winter rashes and eczema with these simple steps.


our skin needs gentle care during the winter months because cooler air is often drier so you’re more likely to experience dryness and flakiness, especially if you’re prone to eczema or other dry skin conditions.

Dr. Ian Webster, a specialist dermatologist and co-founder of Dermastore, says in winter the temperature drops and so does the humidity, especially in the interior of South Africa. The air is then dried out further due to central heating, fan heaters, fires and electric blankets and skin dryness is a major contributor to worsening skin symptoms.

He adds that winter rashes are also caused by over-washing with perfumed, alkaline soaps and not moisturizing sufficiently. He suggests the following tips to avoid and treat a winter rash:

  • Use a humidifier at home.
  • Use a mild, neutral pH, fragrance-free, glycerine soap or a cleansing oil on your body and a cream or gel-based cleanser on your face.
  • Try using a gentle exfoliator a few times a week.
  • Apply liberal amounts of a good quality moisturiser formulated for dry or eczematous skin.
  • Don’t forget your sunscreen! Even though it’s cold and dark outside you need to protect your skin.

Dealing with eczema

Eczema is a skin disorder in which areas of the body become dry, scaly, red and intensely itchy, explains Dr Karen Koch, a specialist dermatologist at Donald Gordon Hospital in Johannesburg.
“There are many different types of eczema and the condition can affect both adults and children. The cause of eczema is considered to be a combination of allergies, sensitive skin, a structural defect in the skin barrier and stressful aggravators. “During winter extra care has to be taken.

“Avoid taking long hot baths as this may strip the skin of natural oils and lead to increased dryness. Also avoid using any frothy soaps – if it lathers you shouldn’t use it.
“In winter, switch to an oilier moisturiser, coconut oil or Vaseline and make sure you check for SLS-free products when purchasing moisturizer.”
Koch adds that cold weather can cause a range of skin problems:

“There are many different types of eczema and the condition can affect both adults and children”

  • Dr Ian Webster, Specialist dermatologist and co-founder of Dermastore

Chilblains: Your fingertips, ears and the tip of your nose may become itchy, painful and very red if you develop chilblains so be sure to protect these areas from the cold.

Psoriasis: This inflammatory skin condition generally worsens in winter. Speak to your dermatologist about intensifying your treatment or consider phototherapy.
Dry, chapped lips: Avoid chewing on the flaky bits on your lips and keep an unscented lips balm with you at all times.

Dry, cracked heels: After you shower leave some water on your skin and then apply a thick, specially formulated heel balm with urea and put on socks to trap moisture in the skin.

Itchy skin: You can purchase a 1% hydrocortisone cream or ointment without a prescription from your local pharmacy.
If the cream is not offering sufficient relief from the itch, consult your local healthcare practitioner about getting a prescription for a more powerful corticosteroid cream to break the itch cycle.

As days become shorter and the temperature falls, many people find that their spirits also drop. But there are ways to boost your mood and motivation even on the darkest of chilly days.


he winter blues isn’t an old wives’ tale. Many people across the globe, suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is a type of depression that is linked to the changes in seasons. People who suffer from it tend to experience symptoms at about the same time each year and most people are affected during autumn and winter.

Executive Life Coach Penny Holburn says there are several hypotheses as to what causes SAD. “Usually symptoms are related to the reduced amount of sunlight in autumn and winter, which could lead to a drop in the level of serotonin (a brain chemical that affects mood), a change in melatonin levels (which disrupts sleep and affects moods) and a drop in vitamin D levels.”

People who already suffer from mood disorders such as depression or bipolar, and people who live a long way from the equator, are more likely to show symptoms of SAD.


What are the most common symptoms of SAD?

  • Low energy levels
  • Sleeping too much
  • Overeating
  • Craving carbohydrates
  • Heaviness in arms and legs
  • Social withdrawal (a bit like hibernating)
  • Feeling sluggish or agitated
  • Experiencing changes in sleep patterns

Effective ways to boost your mood and beat the winter blues

Holburn says there are scientifically proven ways to lift your spirits and ease the mid-winter doldrums.

Stick to your regular schedule: Avoid the temptation to veg indoors, even when the weather is bleak. Try to continue with the same activities and hobbies you would do in the summer months.

Spend time outdoors: Fresh air and sunshine can boost your mood and lower stress levels so opt to enjoy a meal or snack outdoors, take a midday walk or play an outdoor sport.

Brighten your environment: Make your work and home environment sunnier and brighter. Open the curtains or blinds fully to ensure that there is natural light during the day. Bright light for a few hours first thing in the morning is the most effective.

Make wise food choices: Avoid binging on high-fat, carb-heavy foods as it can heighten feelings of lethargy and depression. Also steer clear of consuming too much alcohol.

Get moving: While it may be tempting to ditch the workout in favour of days wrapped up in a blanket, research shows that exercising for about 35 minutes a day five times a week or 60 minutes a day three times a week improves symptoms of mild to moderate depression, particularly when done in bright light.

Give yourself something to look forward to: Plan fun activities with family and friends or plan a holiday as this will impact your overall state of mind. Also, keep up your social life and make time for your loved ones.

If your SAD symptoms continue to worsen over winter, it is advisable to consult a mental health professional. Generally, therapy includes a combination of light therapy (phototherapy), medication, psychotherapy and vitamin D supplements, for those who suffer from a deficiency.

Holburn suggests seeking the help of a professional because mood disorders could be related to physical problems such as an underactive thyroid or a chemical imbalance.

Light therapy: SAD Light Therapy boxes create a simulation of sunlight so that the melanopsin receptors in the eyes can trigger the required serotonin release within the brain for natural sleep cycles and general feelings of well being.

Herbal Supplements: Herbal Supplements are generally plant based health products which aid in providing support for the body whereby regular vitamins may be lacking due to general work -life stress. Often we find that it’s impossible to get every vitamin needed for good health through diet and these herbal supplements can assist in providing this where lacking. During the winter months vitamin C, for example helps in fighting the flu and cold and there many fruits and vegetables which provide this source of vitamin but it’s almost impossible to consume enough of these to get a sufficient supply of vitamins. Using herbal supplements can help in boosting the supply received from such fruits and vegetables. Check out your nearest Dis-Chem store where our consultants will assist in determining which herbal supplement is best for you.

“There are scientifically proven ways to lift your spirits and ease the mid-winter doldrums.”

  • Penny Holburn, Executive Life Coach

SSRI antidepressants: It’s crucial to consult a medical professional to prescribe the right medication and dosage. Medications can take a few weeks before they work which can be frustrating but it’s important to hang in there.

Vitamin D supplement: If you suffer from a deficiency, supplements may help but stick to the recommended dose or that instructed by your doctor.

Psychotherapy: This kind of therapy usually focuses on identifying and overcoming negative thoughts and replacing them with positive thoughts, as well as behavioural activation to get you out and doing things.

Keep your baby happy and healthy this winter by following these seven steps.


hen it’s cold outside, it’s important to bundle your little ones up and protect them from the elements. By implementing good hygiene habits, feeding them the correct foods and caring for their skin, you can protect them from seasonal illnesses and keep them in good health.

Bath time

It’s important to regulate the temperature between the bathroom and bedroom so prepare everything you will need before you bath your baby. Baths should be between five to 10 minutes and lukewarm water should be used. Be sure to moisturise your baby’s skin immediately after a bath.

Skin care

Dr Karen Koch, a specialist dermatologist at Donald Gordon Hospital, says skin tends to be more susceptible to dryness, cracking and becoming chapped in winter, so it’s advisable to use soap replacement products and moisturise thoroughly using a mild infant skin cream or lotion. Don’t forget to apply lip care jelly to keep your baby’s lips soft and smooth and use a nappy cream to avoid irritation.


Babies’ bodies can’t regulate heat the way adults do so they need an extra layer of warmth. The general rule of thumb is to dress babies in one more layer than you are wearing yourself, but be careful not to overbundle. Koch suggests dressing your baby in lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. Natural fibres are best as they breathe better and avoid direct contact with wools, especially for children with sensitive skin as it tends to make them itch.

Use a humidifier

The air in winter is dry, which can be worsened by the use of heaters. Humidifiers help to maintain the humidity levels in the room and prevent your newborn’s skin from losing moisture. It can also help prevent the spread of airborne viruses.

Meal times

Colds and flu are easier to contract during this season and healthy foods help to improve immunity and fight off the diseases. Warm foods, such as vegetable soups, can be comforting and high in vitamins. Include fruits and vegetables, such as butternut squash, sweet potato, carrots, bananas and oranges in your baby’s diet.

“Don’t forget to apply lip care jelly to keep your baby’s lips soft and smooth and use a nappy cream to avoid irritation.”

  • Dr Karen Koch
    Specialist dermatologist at Donald Gordon Hospital

Keep germs at bay

Most common viruses during winter are airborne so keep your child away from people with a cold, flu or fever. Also take care to wash your hands before you touch your child or prepare their food.

Stay up to date with vaccines

Ensure that you vaccinate your baby on time to prevent your baby from dangerous illnesses. Check with your paediatrician if any new vaccines have been included in your immunisation schedule.

According to Unicef, one in ten African girls misses classes or drops out completely due to a shortage of sanitary wear. The Dis-Chem Foundation is committed to keeping our girls in school.


ransitioning from a child to an adult can be a scary and confusing time for young people. As the body undergoes various changes, teenagers must grapple with school, home responsibilities and peer pressure.

For young ladies this is an even greater challenge. The onset of puberty brings on a regular menstrual cycle and the need for feminine hygiene products. The issue is even more confounded for girls in disadvantaged areas. The daily fight for survival and financial constraints means access to food often takes precedent over making feminine hygiene products available.

An estimated 10% of girls in Africa miss 60 days of school each year because they cannot afford sanitary pads. Furthermore, a lack of information and sanitary wear leads some girls to substitute regular pads or tampons for unhygienic and uncomfortable products that can negatively impact their health.

The physical and psychological effects this has on a young girl child are tremendous. Many end up resenting this component of womanhood and are being left behind by their male counterparts because of something they have no control over.

Distributing safe sanitary wear

Over the last few years the Dis-Chem Foundation has played a significant role in helping to address access to sanitary products for underprivileged girls. Through our Million Comforts campaign we have collected and distributed millions of sanitary towels to thousands of girls around the country to help keep them in school.

Using our extensive Dis-Chem Pharmacy network of over 100 stores we encourage consumers to contribute to the cause by purchasing sanitary towels and dropping them off in our Million Comforts drop-off bins in-store.

“An estimated 10% of girls in Africa miss 60 days of school each year because they cannot afford sanitary pads.”

  • Unicef Report

These towels then get redistributed to those who need it most. Our feminine hygiene products suppliers normally commit to matching the purchases made by our customers, thus making a sizable contribution to this worthy cause.

To date we have collected millions of sanitary products thanks to the generous contributions of our customers and suppliers. We believe that through our collective efforts, we are assisting young girls in feeling more empowered when they go through their menstrual cycle, and helping to ensure that their schooling is not interrupted.

You can play a part in making a difference in these young girls’ lives by making a contribution to the Million Comforts campaign this winter. The small act of purchasing sanitary towels and dropping them in one of our in-store drop bins is all it takes to have a great impact on a young girl’s life.

Help keep winter-related illness at bay with Dis-Chem’s wide range of health-enhancing products.


ith chillier weather, there is greater temptation to spend more time bundled up indoors.
But spending time in confined spaces with little or no fresh air increases your chance of becoming infected by bacteria and viruses that live in stagnant air.
There are, however, steps you can can take to maintain your health and fight winter-related ailments.

Keep your hands clean

The most common way that germs are spread is through touch. Whether you are touching a door, money, people’s hands or food, your hands are constantly coming into contact with bacteria without you even realising it. Touching objects or people and then touching your face or mouth heightens the chances of infection so it’s important to wash your hands regularly, especially before meals. If you don’t have access to washing facilities then opt for products such as Safeguard Hand Sanitiser or Dettol Hand Wash, which are easy to use on the go.

Boost your immune system

Cold weather and lack of exercise can weaken your immune system, but there are easy ways to stay on top of your health.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C supplements increase the production and activity of your immune cells.

Herbal Remedies: Drops made with ingredients such as Echinacea can help fight viruses for faster recovery from flu.

Immune support: Taking products which boost your immune system can help with recovery and lower your chances of contracting cold and flu infections.


Most people suffer from dry skin, cracked lips, sinus-related problems, dry coughs and similar conditions due to the moisture change in the air in winter. A humidifier can offer some relief from these symptoms. Dis-Chem stocks a range of humidifiers for you to find the perfect fit. Also ensure that your body is adequately moisturised by using a quality moisturiser on your skin and a moisturising shampoo and conditioner on your hair.

Fighting colds and flu

If you do contract a cold or flu there is plenty you can do to make the process of recovery easier. While a common cold and flu are not the same, the steps you can take to recover are very similar. Make sure you eat plenty of nutrient-rich food and stay hydrated. Get plenty of rest and enough sleep. Complimentary medication like Vitaforce Colds and Flu drops or Med Lemon may assist with relief. Use nasal sprays like Sinutab Saline Nasal Spray for a blocked or congested nose.

A persistent cough

A common occurrence in winter is getting a cough from flu, a cold, smoking or allergies. Whether it’s a wet or a dry cough, suitable cough syrup like Linctagon, Prospan or Dilinct Junior may assist to ease a tight chest. Also make sure that you stay hydrated and use lozenges like Halls or have a hot drink like tea to lower the irritation. The change in season can wreak havoc on your health if you are not adequately prepared. By taking steps to naturally strengthen your immune system you can easily lower your risk of getting sick or make the recovery process easier by having the right products readily available.

Note early signs of sickness

A sure-fire sign of pending illness is a sore throat. It’s an early sign that you are about to get sick – most likely with a cold or flu. If you find your throat feeling dry and scratchy or painful when you swallow, then you should implement the following precautions to heal your throat and hopefully prevent a full-blown cold or flu. Increase your fluid intake to help keep mucus thin and easy to clear. Take an aspirin or paracetamol like Panado to ease the pain. Gargle with warm salt water. Suck on throat lozenges like Strepsils or use an antiseptic spray like Viral Guard throat spray to help ease the pain. Avoid smoke and other air pollutants.

These unregistered medicines have not been evaluated by the SAHPRA for their quality, safety or intended use.

Trying to lose weight and get in shape? No sweat! We’ve got the perfect workout for you.


WEAT 1 000 in a ground-breaking one-hour workout that integrates components of interval training, functional training, core stability work, athletic training, and agility training – with the aim of burning 1 000 calories in just one class!
The workout was founded in Cape Town by fitness fanatic brothers Paul and Andrew Rothschild.

“Andrew and I have been involved in the fitness industry for 24 years,” explains Paul Rothschild. “We felt that there was a gap for a boutique fitness workout that was structured around treadmills so we decided to create SWEAT 1 000 around the Freemotion Incline Trainer.”

This treadmill differs to other treadmills on the market in that it inclines to 30 degrees as opposed to the conventional 15 degrees. Studies show that walking on an incline above 18 degrees burns three times more calories from fat than running on a zero degree incline.

SWEAT stands for Specialised Weight Endurance Athletic Training with the 1 000 representing calories burned. It aims to offer individuals the ability to have a fun, non-intimidating treadmill based workout that caters for all fitness levels. Participants can choose between beginner, intermediate or advanced levels on the incline trainer, and are referred to as walkers, joggers and runners, respectively.

“Each class is one hour long with half the time spent on the incline trainers and the rest is spent on floor work using resistance bands and other high-intensity exercises. It’s taking the highest level of physical training and putting it into a one-hour dynamic, action-packed class that is different every time,” says Paul.

“The response has been phenomenal and we are extremely excited that SWEAT 1 000 has become a global brand.”

  • Paul and Andrew Rothschild – Founders SWEAT 1 000

Building momentum
Since the launch of the flagship studio in Sea Point, Cape Town, in April 2010, the workout has gained a massive celebrity following with TV personalities such as Boity Thulo and Jeannie D, Springbok Rugby players and Miss Universe Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters all participating regularly.

SWEAT 1 000 is not just a workout, it is an experience that incorporates specialised lighting, live DJs, live drummers and a My Zone Heart Rate monitor, which all work together to stimulate the senses and get the heart pumping.

“The concept has evolved incredibly since its inception and continues to develop on a daily basis – and that is what differentiates us. You leave the class feeling challenged, invigorated and wanting more, even though you are tired,” says Paul.

The co-founders have launched another Cape Town studio in Claremont and one in Birnam, Johannesburg.
They also launched their first international Studio in Houston, Texas in the US earlier this year.
“The response has been phenomenal and we are extremely excited that SWEAT
1 000 has become a global brand. Our short-term goals are to open additional studios both locally and in the US. In the long-term we are planning to launch studios in the UK, Europe and Australia,” concludes Paul.

A single class costs R195, while a 10-class package is R1850 and a 20-class package is R3500. For more information, visit www.sweat1000.com

Feeding your body nourishing foods, practising good hygiene and following healthy-living strategies can keep your immune system functioning optimally.


inter can be particularly hard on your immune system so it’s important to take care to drink plenty of fluids and eat foods that are rich in vitamins to stay healthy.

“Every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when you follow a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables,” says Lila Bruk, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Association for Dietetics in South Africa. “Many people feel the need to ‘comfort’ themselves during the colder months, but our winters are not as extreme as in other parts of the world, so it is not necessary to change your diet much.”

Seasonal swaps

People generally enjoy warmer food in winter because it can be soothing and comforting when the weather is cold outside. Warmer food options, however, don’t have to be more calorific or unhealthy.

Bruk warns that the foods that you should avoid during winter are the same as those you should avoid all year round. These include high sugar foods and drinks, carb-heavy meals and very rich or creamy foods.

She adds that the changes to your diet from summer to winter shouldn’t be too drastic, but you should try and consume more immune-boosting foods. Some changes you could implement include eating soups instead of salads, oats instead of bran and drinking herbal teas.

Naturally nutritious

Most of the vitamins, nutrients and other essentials you need should come from the food you eat. By making slight changes to your diet in winter you can help with the fight against colds and flu and offer relief for coughs and sore throats.

    • Vitamin C-rich foods such as citrus fruit, tomatoes, guavas, berries and peppers help stave off infection.
    • Zinc, which is found in nuts, seeds, seafood and beans are beneficial too or take a supplement.
    • Probiotics found in fermented dairy products can help to prevent infection by disease-causing bacteria.
  • Green veggies like broccoli, spinach, barley, wheatgrass or kale are also rich in disease-fighting properties.
    If you find yourself infected by cold or flu, it’s advisable to add any of the following to your diet to aid recovery.
  • Superfoods are loaded with fibre, nutrients and vitamins to help boost the immune system during winter. Foods such as quinoa, goji berries, and nuts all form of a group of foods which aids in fighting colds and flues known as the superfood group. Nuts, for example are a great source of healthy fat, vitamin E and zinc. Goji berries are another super food which contain high levels of anti-oxidants and quinoa is a great source of protein. So if you want to beat the winter flu this year, stocking up on super foods is an excellent way to do so, plus it’s good for maintaining a healthy diet too.
  • Ginger can help you feel less congested.
  • Chicken soup is rich in immune-boosting vitamins, it helps to hydrate the body and it has high antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Fresh garlic has a host of good health effects that can help in treating your cold or flu.
  • Milk and curcumin (the active ingredient in tumeric), when mixed together can increase the effectiveness of certain antibiotics and expose the body to antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to aid healing.
  • Chillies contain the compound capsaicin, which acts as a natural
    painkiller. They also have alleged antiviral benefits and high vitamin C and antioxidant levels. Orange and red chilli peppers have large amounts of beta-carotene, which is the precursor to vitamin A. All of which are of great benefit to help relieve sore throat, fight bacteria and boost immunity.
  • Dark chocolate in moderation can help when you have a cough. It can help regulate the immune system and contains theobromine, which has a cough-suppressant effect. Only a few blocks will do the trick.
    Your diet isn’t the only factor involved in strenghtening your immune system. It’s important to ensure that you practice healthy habits such as getting enough sleep (between 6-8 hours), exercise regularly, avoid smoking and the excessive consumption of alcohol and wash your hands regularly, particularly before meals.

Try this healthy recipe

Adding these foods to your diet does not have to require a lot of work. Consider making healthy smoothies combining fruit, vegetables and water or milk. You can also add leafy green vegetables, beans or seeds to your salads.

Ensure that both you and your family stay on top of winter wellness all season long by visiting one of Dis-Chem’s wellness clinics.


s the season changes, your body becomes more susceptible to a host of illnesses and stress. It’s important to have regular health checks in the colder months to ensure that your body is functioning at its optimum. By monitoring your wellness you can ward off illnesses, improve the overall quality of your family’s life and effectively avoid any health-related surprises.

Visit our Dis-Chem Wellness Clinics

It’s often difficult to find the time to visit a clinic for a health check but Dis-Chem has you covered with our in-store Wellness Clinics.

With 132 wellness clinics around the country, access to quality medical services has never been easier. Our medical professionals can assist you with a routine checkup for medical aid purposes, screenings, adult vaccinations, as well as advice or medical referrals. Simply visit your nearest clinic at your convenience or book an appointment for a consultation.

Some of the services you can access include:

    • Diabetic care and dietary advice: Test your blood sugar and learn how to control your blood levels with low GI foods.
  • Blood pressure monitoring: Manage arterial blood pressure levels and understand your readings.
  • Glucose screening: Take this standard blood sugar test during the third trimester of pregnancy.
  • Cholesterol screening: Measure your level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • HIV screening, testing and counselling: Learn your HIV status and get psychological help if necessary.
  • Weight loss advice: Shed unwanted kilos with the help of expert fitness and nutritional advice.
  • Vitamin injections: Feed all the essential nutrients your body needs directly into your bloodstream.
  • Medical Aid health assessments: Get a comprehensive physical assessment for insurance policy purposes.
  • Nebulisation and inhalation: Control asthma by getting rescue medication directly into the lungs.
  • Wound care: Correctly dress simple wounds and burns for speedy healing.


“With 132 wellness clinics around the country, access to quality medical services has never been easier.”

  • Dr Donald Fick,General Practitioner -Meldene Medicross


It’s never too late to vaccinate
Dis-Chem in-store wellness clinics offer the latest flu vaccine, to reduce the risk of contracting this season’s specific viruses. Everyone in your family should be vaccinated, from the youngest to the oldest.

Hands-on hygiene
Germs and seasonal bacteria are everywhere: on food, money, hand-rails, doors, desks, toilets, even other people! The more you touch, the more germs and possible infection you spread.To reduce this risk, wash your hands as often as you can (not just before meals and after you have used the toilet). Keep sanitiser wipes or waterless cleaners on hand for when there are no washing facilities.NB: Moisturise after washing, as dry, chapped skin is even more vulnerable to infection.

Hydrate for health
Drink at least 8 glasses of water daily, to help your body and immune system function at their best. These can include healthy ’clear’ drinks like tea too.

Exercise regularly
We mentioned a daily goal of 30 minutes on page 2 – and walking, cycling, gymming, things you can do at home, (even housework!), all count. Moderate exercise is the key: start slowly if you have not broken a sweat in a while.

Healthy diet =strong immune system
Keep your diet varied and include wholegrains, protein and fresh fruit and vegetables, and supplement to get your RDA of essential vitamins, minerals, fibre and anti-oxidants.

NB: less salt = less risk of heart disease!

Get enough sleep
See why this is so beneficial for you on page 3

Editor: Farrah Francis Writer: Nazley Omar SWEAT 1000 Photographer: Paul Rothschild Other photographs: iStock Photography, Gallo Images