Can CBD oil help calm your mind?

By Stephanie Simons,
Head Pharmacist,
Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire

 

Of all the pharmaceutical developments over the past years, few have been more controversial – or misunderstood – than CBD. Though originating in the same marijuana plant as Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the psychoactive drug more commonly known as ‘weed’ – CBD is a different chemical compound, without the intoxicating, potentially dangerous effects of THC.

Used in a wide range of products like drinks, gummies and even skincare, Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is found in both hemp plants and the cannabis plant Cannabis sativa. While it doesn’t give the ‘high’ associated with THC, it can provoke a relaxing response that soothes anxiety, stress and even pain.

The research is still in early stages, but many scientists believe that CBD oil can impact receptors in the brain. Receptors are proteins attached to your cells that receive chemical messages to help you respond to stimuli. CBD is thought to impact the brain’s receptors for serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for your mood, easing symptoms of stress, worry and social anxiety. Some people find it helps with related conditions like depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), while many find its relaxing effects improve their sleep.

CBD is also thought to improve the skin. When ingested, CBD impacts receptors in the body’s immune system, potentially reducing inflammation in the body which, in turn, can help prevent acne on both the body and face. CBD is found in a variety of topical skincare products too. Some studies say it can reduce sebum, the skin’s natural oil which, in high quantities, can cause acne. CBD is also packed with antioxidants which counteract free-radical damage and reduce both inflammation and signs of ageing – making it a fast-rising ingredient in the skin care industry.

So – where to start? CBD is available in a wide range of products so you’re sure to find one that’s right for you. If you’re keen to ease your stress or get a better night’s sleep (aren’t we all?), try a drop or two of CBD oil like Reliva Tincture – Mint or Upstate Elevator Company’s CBD extracts in lemon or peppermint under your tongue for about 30 seconds to a minute. Start with a low dose of 250mg and build your way up as required.

If you prefer something sweet, Upstate Elevator Company’s 10mg Mixed Fruit CBD Gummies are a delicious way to incorporate CBD into your day. Or many enjoy one of their fizzy drinks, available in a wide range of flavours from Raspberry Hibiscus Lime Seltzer to African Ginger and Mexican Lime Soda, as a healthier alternative to that evening glass of wine. 

For those with sore muscles, try applying Reliva Cream, a CBD-infused body cream that soothes and cools muscle ache. Those keen to boost their antioxidant defence can try USA Hemp’s Antioxidant Crème; jam-packed with CBD, organic avocado, jojoba, rosehip, carrot, and organic neem oil to keep those free radicals at bay and preserve your skin’s radiance.

You may see reports that CBD can be used to treat more complex physical issues including epilepsy, arthritis, and neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. However, it’s important to note that if you’re managing a serious condition or symptoms, always consult your GP or pharmacist before trying CBD.

If you do take CBD and experience unpleasant side effects like diarrhoea, fatigue or a change in appetite, consult your doctor as soon as possible.

Stephanie Simons is the head pharmacist at Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and has been practicing for over 20 years. She is a registered pharmacist with the Bermuda Pharmacy Council and is a member of the Bermuda Pharmaceutical Association.

 

Eat your greens!

By Stephanie Simons,
Head Pharmacist,
Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire

 

As children, we were all told to finish up our greens if we wanted dessert. Though annoying at the time – our mothers were right! Decades of scientific research has shown that eating leafy green vegetables is one of the simplest ways to maintain a healthy body and mind. Not only can it help you feel better in the short term, but these powerhouse foods can reduce your risk of numerous health problems down the road too.

Green veg get their vibrant colour from a pigment called chlorophyll. A potent antioxidant, ingesting chlorophyll helps your cells fight the damage caused by harmful free radicals found in your environment (e.g. sunlight or polluted air). It has also been shown to reduce inflammation and slow bacteria production, thus helping wounds to heal more quickly – and improving problematic skin.

You can increase your chlorophyll intake through supplements like Now Chlorophyll capsules or liquid or powders like wheatgrass (Pine’s Wheatgrass) or spirulina (Now Spirulina Powder). While these provide a great boost, it’s still worth adding more green veg to your diet, to get both your chlorophyll and a wide range of other benefits.

Many green veg like kale, spinach, and broccoli contain high levels of Vitamin K, which plays a key role in blood clotting, enabling the body to heal itself. New research also suggests that by helping the body to absorb calcium, Vitamin K is also important for bone health and can reduce the risk of fractures and osteoporosis. Supplements like Now Vitamin K are available if you’re concerned about your intake. Check with your GP or pharmacist first if you are taking any blood-thinning medication.

Green veg also contain folate (folic acid). Present in a variety of dark green veg, folate is a type of B vitamin which supports the production of red blood cells, helping you to stay energised, alert, and emotionally balanced. Folate is particularly critical for pregnant women as it reduces risk of neural tube defects like anencephaly and spina bifida. Pregnant women are often recommended adding a supplement like B-Complex + Folic Acid and Materna to their daily diet – do check with you’re GP if you’re not sure.  

While oranges are known for their Vitamin C, green veg like peppers and broccoli can be even better! Another powerful antioxidant, Vitamin C supports your immune system, helps to keep your teeth, gums and skin healthy – and reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease and eye conditions like cataracts and glaucoma. Most people can benefit from both food and supplementary sources – Redoxon and Haliborange are great if your kids are picky eaters – to get the most out of this mighty nutrient.

However, it’s not all about vitamins. Many green vegetables like bok choi, peas and Brussel sprouts are also a great source of protein. Fundamental for the structure of our cells and tissues, protein plays a critical role in fuelling your body and carrying oxygen around your body in your blood. Many contemporary diets are deficient in protein, especially those that avoid meat or dairy – but green veg is an easy way to increase the protein on your plate.

But what if you don’t like it? It’s no secret that we’d all prefer a pizza over a bowl of greens, but there are ways to include vegetables in tasty ways. Spinach and kale are easy to pop into your morning smoothie – when blended with sweet fruits like bananas or berries, you won’t taste them at all! Add broccoli and zucchini to your curry or stir-fry or bake some kale chips for a quick snack. You don’t have to overhaul your eating habits – a small tweak here and there can make all the difference. Our busy lives can make it difficult to stay healthy but eating a bit more green veg is a simple way to boost your health every single day. If you’re concerned about your health or would like further advice, please contact your GP or local pharmacist.

Stephanie Simons is the head pharmacist at Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and has been practicing for over 20 years. She is a registered pharmacist with the Bermuda Pharmacy Council and is a member of the Bermuda Pharmaceutical Association.

Time to get moving

By Stephanie Simons,
Head Pharmacist,
Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire

 

Feeling a little heavier lately? With the disruption to exercise and eating routines brought on by the pandemic, even the leanest among us have seen the pounds pile on. This is nothing to be ashamed of – after all, your body has survived a world health crisis! But while a little weight gain is nothing to worry about, obesity can put you at risk of serious health complications.

More than a third of adults and a sixth of children in the US are classified as obese, increasing their risk of at least 60 chronic diseases including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer, as well as poor mental health. It is also thought that the overweight or obese are at much greater risk of death when infected with Covid-19.

The pandemic changed everything, including our daily habits to manage our health. However, research suggests just a 5-10% reduction in your body weight can improve blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood sugars, thus reducing your risk of numerous serious conditions. There are several simple lifestyle changes that can make a big difference.

Nutrition

During lockdown, many of us were eating more food and using less energy, causing our weight to increase. Adjusting your diet, however, can reap significant rewards. Instead of turning to unsustainable fasts or celebrity diets, look to incorporate nutritious, home-cooked meals into your everyday menu.

Proteins like chickpeas or fish, wholegrains like oats or brown rice, and a wide range of fruit and vegetables, will improve your health right from day one. You can even add a multivitamin like Centrum, Alive or Nature’s Truth ABC formulas or a protein powder like Pure Protein, Sun Warrior, Lean Body or Vital Protein to make your meals work harder for you.

Too busy to cook? Plan your meals ahead and cook big batches once or twice a week to have handy when you need. There’s no need to give up snacks either – try nuts, dates or crudités.

Exercise

Whether you prefer Pilates, the gym, or a quick dip in the pool, lockdown knocked our established routines out of whack. Many of us have struggled since then to regain our motivation. The key is not to strain yourself to resurrect your old habits, but instead create new ones that fit with your current lifestyle.

Online videos and classes are a great way to get back in the swing. Diverse, flexible and lower priced (or, indeed, free) this is exercise you can tailor to your preferences and your schedule. For those keen to get back to the gym, mark out small sessions of time, increasing only when you feel ready. Start with once or twice a week and build from there – you’re much more likely to keep it up – Vitamin B supplements like Nature’s Bounty or Nature’s Truth B-Complex will help you feel energised.

And enjoy the sunshine! A family hike or a trip to the beach is enough to get the juices flowing and help you feel more active again. Just don’t forget the sunscreen (try Blue Lizard or Neutrogena sunscreens!)

Support

Diet, exercise and mental health are intrinsically linked. Many of us are still recovering from the mental strain of the past year and this can make it difficult to address physical health concerns.

It can therefore be helpful to talk to others dealing with similar experiences who can support you to improve your mood and wellbeing. This might be your partner, your family and friends, or even a local group. A cooking class could inspire you to more adventurous cooking, or a sports team could give you the boost you need to get moving. You can always talk to your GP or pharmacist too if you need to discuss any health concern.

As your mood improves, you’ll find yourself much more motivated to prepare that nutritious meal or head out to your first post-lockdown yoga class – which, in turn, will help your mental health too. The important thing is not to face things alone – you’d be surprised how many people are feeling the exact same way.

Times have changed and our bodies have changed with them. As we move through this transition, it’s important to take things slowly. If you’re concerned about your mental or physical health, do speak to your pharmacist or GP.

Stephanie Simons is the head pharmacist at Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and has been practicing for over 20 years. She is a registered pharmacist with the Bermuda Pharmacy Council and is a member of the Bermuda Pharmaceutical Association.

A helping hand

By Stephanie Simons,
Head Pharmacist,
Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire

 

I don’t know about you, but I am very much enjoying being out and about again. However, the world looks very different these days, and the past year has taught us some important lessons about safety. So what exactly do we need on hand as we venture out in the world again?

First of all – hand sanitiser. Once a rare purchase, it’s now an essential for everyday life to kill viruses and bacteria that live on surfaces and skin. Your sanitiser needs to be at least 70% alcohol to be effective – try Germ-X or Nesti Dante Hand Sanitizer.  Make sure to apply it before and after time in public spaces like shops, bars or schools.

Of course, repeated sanitiser use can also cause problems for your hands, as the high alcohol content breaks down the skin barrier and leads to irritation. This is especially difficult for those with skin conditions like eczema. Opt for sanitisers that contain ingredients like aloe to soothe problematic skin – such as Eco Sanitizer – and be sure to carry a hand cream too. A moisturising cream or lotion will soothe the dryness caused by your sanitiser, particularly with frequent use. E45 Cream is a great general option or try Cerave, Eucerin or Simple if your skin is very sensitive, dry or damaged.    

As those with kids – or a fondness for high heels – will know, bandages should be with you wherever you go. Carry a selection of sizes to cover everything from blisters to nasty cuts, including ones large enough to cover a knee. Most packs include a variety of sizes such as Curad, Bandaid, Nexcare or try a more petite option like Bandaid Travel pack if you’re short of room! Antiseptic wipes also help to clean the injury until you get home. A small First Aid Kit or a Ziploc bag with a few supplies is brilliant for on the go or to keep in the car.

The outdoors also poses a risk of allergic reactions. Up to 30% of adults and 40% of children suffer from hay fever, so it’s always helpful to have a remedy on hand. Adults can try tablets like Clarityn, Benadryl or Piriton or sprays like Benadryl or Bactine while remedies for kids include Benadryl, Piriton or Clarityn syrup. Skin irritation is equally rife in the summer months, whether it’s from plants or those pesky mosquitoes. Apply an insect repellent like Off or Cutter throughout the day and use creams like Benadryl or hydrocortisone to help soothe itchy or irritated areas.

An oldie-but-goodie when it comes to first aid is aspirin. Not only great for headaches and pain, it can also help emergency heart issues until you can reach help. Bayer Adult 325mg or any equivalent generic is a simple, effective option.  Other basics include bottled water – for anything from dehydration to cleaning a cut – and high protein snacks like granola bars keep blood sugar up and treat dizziness and/or nausea.

After the past year, it can take time to adjust to the world again. However, with a few useful remedies on hand, you’ll be ready to take on anything that comes your way. We’ve all learned how important it is to take care of ourselves – let’s put this into practice. If you have any questions or concerns, speak to your pharmacist or GP.

Stephanie Simons is the head pharmacist at Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and has been practicing for over 20 years. She is a registered pharmacist with the Bermuda Pharmacy Council and is a member of the Bermuda Pharmaceutical Association.

 

Itchy and scratchy

By Stephanie Simons,
Head Pharmacist,
Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire

 

As Bermuda heats up, many of us will be digging out our favourite summer clothes! But for those with difficult skin conditions, the idea of sundresses and shorts fills them with more dread than excitement. Many conditions tend to flare up in the sunshine and heat, causing painful texture and rashes across the body.

Eczema

Eczema (atopic dermatitis) affects more than 18million people in the US, over half of which are children. Eczema causes the skin to become itchy, dry and cracked, and is usually a lifelong condition, although many cases lessen in severity come adulthood. As with other allergic reactions, the symptoms of atopic eczema often have certain triggers like soaps, detergents, stress and the weather.

Summer can be particularly difficult when managing eczema. The best solution is to keep your body temperature low to reduce sweating. Stay in the shade, crank up the air conditioning and drink plenty of water. When you do sweat, remove damp clothes and shower off the sweat, bacteria and dust as soon as possible. A gentle shower gel like Oilatum or Dermol will get you nice and clean without further aggravation.

Mineral sunscreens like Cerave SPF 50, Blue Lizard and some of the Alba and Neutrogena products are also less likely cause problems than their chemical counterparts – make sure you opt for SPF 30 or above. A good ceramide-rich body moisturiser like Cerave Moisturizer and Diprobase will help to soothe dryness and rebuild your skin barrier, while topical corticosteroids like Hydrocortisone can help reduce swelling and irritation during a flare up. Talk to your GP if you’re struggling, as medical support and prescription treatments are also available.

There’s a wide variety of products that are dermatologist-approved for eczema, psoriasis, body acne, and other problem skin conditions.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis, the build-up of excess red, itchy skin cells, affects at least 8million Americans. A highly visible condition due to its red, scaly texture, psoriasis also proves tricky in the summer months, as hot weather, the sea, chlorinated water and sun exposure can all irritate affected areas.

As with eczema, keeping your body temperature down will always help. Make sure you wear high factor sunscreen and limit skin’s exposure to the sun where you can. Rich moisturisers and after-sun lotions like E45, Cerave and Epaderm will calm skin after time outside, while gentle exfoliators like St. Ives Oatmeal Scrub can help improve skin’s rough texture. Topical Vitamin D products by Nature’s Bounty or Nature’s Truth and steroids creams like Hydrocortisone are also effective at treating the feel and appearance of psoriasis.

Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes red, itchy scaly patches, most commonly on the knees, elbows, trunk and scalp

Body acne

Even those blessed with the most blemish free skin can fall victim to body acne during the summer. The body naturally produces more oil in the heat which, combined with sweat and sunscreen, can clog hair follicles and cause everything from blackheads to painful acne.

The good news is, there are plenty of ways to keep those body blemishes at bay. Sunscreen is essential, so choose light, non-comedogenic gels and sprays like Neutrogena and Banana Boat branded products which best suit acne-prone skin. When out and about, tie up long hair up to avoid trapping and spreading oils across your neck and shoulders (making sure to use sunscreen on exposed areas), and opt for looser clothing which helps prevent sweat getting trapped between fabric and skin.   

Try to shower every day – ideally as soon as you get home – to remove the debris before it wriggles into your pores. An exfoliating body wash with ingredients like salicylic or glycolic acid, such as Cerave Eczema Wash and Neutrogena Acne Body Wash will slough away dead skin cells, while facial spot treatments like Neutrogena Spot Treatment or Bye Bye Blemish products can be used on the body too – don’t be tempted to pick or squeeze! We all experience skin issues at one point or another – no one’s perfect! Do what you can to soothe irritation, but don’t let your skin stop you enjoying the lovely weather. If you’re struggling with symptoms or unsure how to treat them, have a chat with your pharmacist or book an appointment with your GP. With a little help, and perhaps a cream or two, you’ll be shining bright this summer.

Stephanie Simons is the head pharmacist at Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and has been practicing for over 20 years. She is a registered pharmacist with the Bermuda Pharmacy Council and is a member of the Bermuda Pharmaceutical Association.

 

Sunshine on a cloudy day

By Stephanie Simons,
Head Pharmacist,
Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire

 

Summer is approaching and as we prepare the barbeque and dig out the swimwear, chances are we’re looking for some good sun protection too. But when it comes to protecting your skin – and your health – sunscreen isn’t just for the beach. It’s for every single day.

All year round, the sun gives out two types of harmful ultraviolet rays which penetrate the skin – even on cloudy days. UVB rays can cause sunburn, while UVA rays have a longer wavelength that damages deep into skin cells. Both types cause DNA damage which, over time, can trigger premature ageing and mutations that lead to skin cancer.

Anyone can get skin cancer, regardless of age, gender or race, and approximately one in five people in the US will develop the condition. However, wearing a sunscreen of SPF 30+ every day can significantly reduce your risk, whilst also preventing sunburn and stopping those fine lines cropping up before they should!

Sunscreen isn’t just for the beach. It’s for every single day.

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and comes in two types: chemical and physical. Physical sunscreens like Blue Lizard and Alba sit on the surface of your skin and contain active ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide which act as a shield, deflecting the sun’s rays. Chemical sunscreens like Coppertone and Banana Boat, on the other hand, penetrate the surface of the skin to form a sponge that absorbs UVA and UVB rays, significantly reducing their harmful impact.

Which one is right for you? The best sunscreen is the one you like most – because this is the one you’re most likely to use. It’s therefore a good idea to try a few brands and see what suits you best.

Chemical sunscreens are often lighter formulas that sit nicely with makeup and suit all skin tones. However, common ingredients like oxybenzone or avobenzone can sometimes cause irritation. Great chemical sunscreens include Neutrogena, Aveeno and Cerave for the face, or Aveeno Body Lotion with SPF for the body.

Physical sunscreens are thicker creams that can leave a white cast on darker skin tones, yet their gentler ingredients are less likely to provoke sensitive skin. It’s also worth noting that chemical sunscreens take 20-30 mins to absorb, so if you’re often in a morning rush, an instantly effective physical sunscreen might be the one for you! Try Blue Lizard Face for the face, or Blue Lizard or Alba Mineral Sunscreen for below the neck.

It’s equally important that you apply the right amount – ideally a thick layer on all skin that will be exposed to the sun (including those areas where clothing may slip, such as shoulder straps). If you’re out and about, remember to reapply during the day, as most sunscreens will protect you for no more than two hours – even less when you sweat or swim. Spray sunscreens like Australian Gold, Coppertone or Banana Boat are always useful for topping up.  

Of course, no sunscreen can protect from 100% of UV rays, but there are additional ways you can protect your skin too. Balance your sun exposure with time in the shade, especially from 10am – 2pm when the sun is at its strongest. If you’re keen to boost your Vitamin D, try a supplement like Nature’s Bounty, Sundown or Now Vitamin D products or a multivitamin, and avoid sunbeds at all costs! Products like Neutrogena or Australian Gold Sunless tanners are here to give you that summer glow without the skin damage.

Skin cancer is highly treatable when caught early, so it’s vital that you keep an eye on your skin – and check your children’s too. If you notice any new or growing moles, itching, bleeding or more general changes, do consult your GP or pharmacist. After the past year, we all deserve some sunshine. Just remember to stay safe too.

Stephanie Simons is the head pharmacist at Lindo’s Pharmacy in Devonshire. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and has been practicing for over 20 years. She is a registered pharmacist with the Bermuda Pharmacy Council and is a member of the Bermuda Pharmaceutical Association.