Archive for February, 2011


Honor & Integrity Week: “Substance Abuse”

I remember studying for finals last semester and freaking out over my Biology exam. Turning to the help of a few of my smartest buddies, I went to their studying location and was shocked to find that my mastermind friends were high on various substances, including weed, caffeine pills, unprescribed ADD/ADHD medication and cigarettes. Some other kids came in, looking to buy, and another student talked about his future intention to make charts and graphs to determine the cost effectiveness of selling drugs (ADD/ADHD medicine and marijuana) versus getting a legal job. Most of these students are seriously considering becoming professionals in the healthcare industry. Needless to say, my confidence dropped in these future doctors’ ability to propagate physical and emotional well-being to others if they aren’t exemplifying healthful behavior on their own. These particular students posses near genius intelligence on paper (top GPAs in high school, A.P. credits, award winners), yet they deliberately choose to harm their bodies and brains, especially since coming to college.

I remember sitting at the desk, wondering is substance abuse the secret to success in college: using ADHD medicine to concentrate, inhaling pot to dull my anxieties, taking caffeine pills to stay alert and awake, smoking cigarettes to take the edge off. I struggle in the sciences, and just a few weeks before, I experienced a sudden attack of panic because I had spent 13 hours working on a biology lab report and still received a devastating and unacceptable D. Seeing the smartest of my friends on a myriad of drugs made me feel even more inadequate. Sober, I struggle to make an A, so I can’t imagine how appalling the effect would be on my scholastic performance if I started taking drugs, not to mention how drastically drugs would negatively alter the status of my health! Carolina isn’t known as a “party school” and students at Carolina aren’t known to be the biggest party animals; on the contrary, we uphold an image of sophistication and brilliance. Under the pressure to live up to the expectation of collegiate success, some students turn to legal/illegal substances to make it through. They turn to drugs to relax, to concentrate, to remain awake, or to turn off their churning brains.

Let’s explore some healthier and legal options, such as working out (provides a natural high, providing both energy and relaxation) or meditating (provides relaxation and relieves stress). Eating a piece of chocolate or drinking ONE glass of red wine are both good for the heart and provides relaxation. Hanging out with friends, listening to music, practicing a hobby like a sport or crafting… these all provide outlets to release stress. As far as staying awake, vitamin B is a natural supplement that some find energizing. Make healthful choices when eating, and stay hydrated with water for natural alertness. Caffeine is addictive, and yellow stains on teeth are unattractive, so try to nix soda and coffee in favor of vitamin B supplements and fruits and veggies. Also, if you are really stressed out there’s NO shame in talking to a health and wellness counselor. Having someone listen to all of my problems without judgment or interruption and help me make and follow life goals is a productive and healthy alternative to self-medication through substance abuse. Throughout the week, we study relentlessly for exams, listen to our professors lecture us for hours on end, and write long, eloquent papers, so by Friday we are ready to let loose.

Though Carolina isn’t a “party school,” we still like to have fun and party with a “work hard, play hard” attitude. Most first-years aren’t 21, and most sophomores aren’t 21. Yet, the most popular activity to do on the weekends is socialize with alcoholic beverages. I’m not here to preach to you about the legal age. All I want to convey is being safe and smart about drinking. Obviously, don’t leave your cup unattended because date rape drugs may be slipped into them. Don’t drink to the point of blacking out because you may be more likely to engage in unwanted sexual relations, or get used by some jerk and feel horrible in the morning that you can’t remember what happened. Try to make sure to check up on your buddy and leave with the SAME buddy you came with. If you meet someone and want to hook up, know that drinking can influence your decision to hook up with someone you may not ordinarily hook up with while sober, and make sure your buddy is okay with you leaving without her. Make sure she has a safe way home. Use condoms to avoid unwanted pregnancies and STDs. Have the number to Safe Ride plugged into your phone. Also, AT&T has a program that allows its GPS to find you if you are in an unsafe situation. Just remember that excessive drinking can lead to alcohol poisoning, and no one feels like spending the night in the hospital having his or her stomach pumped and dealing with the academic penalization of underage drinking when caught. Be smart about your alcohol consumption.

A variety of safe and healthful options exist that provide the same high that can be obtained by substances. If you want to compete in cuteness and energy with the energizer bunny, grab your iPod and take a jog or don a one-piece swimsuit and swim laps in a pool. While your new hot bod will ensure head turns and stares from everyone on campus, you’ll be striding around with boundless energy. If you want to feel as relaxed as if in the sand with an umbrella drink (virgin strawberry daiquiri!) in hand, or concentrate with the fervor of a monk sitting in meditation, take a yoga class on Franklin. Holding the body in long poses and concentrating on one spot on the wall will stop your mind from spinning, and teach you to concentrate on one subject at a time (i.e. spot on wall). You will not only be relaxed after a session, but you’ll also have a natural way to learn how to concentrate, instead of pills. I hope these tips help for you because I too struggle with needing energy and also feel stressed all the time, but I’ve been able to cope with my stressors by following some of my own suggestions! Try it!

-Kristen Cubero

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My future still remains unwritten. However, as I take a step back and reflect upon the life that I have written so far for myself, I have realized that, like writing, discovering my truest self is a continuous process of editing and revising as each story unfolds with its own unique cast of characters and plot lines. This collection of stories that I have compiled over the course of my Carolina journey contains a plot for each that usually involves some challenge. These challenges provide an opportunity for me to confront deeply-held perceptions about myself as well as empower myself to take ownership over my thoughts and feelings to overcome adversity. Moreover, it was in my stories of challenge that provided moments for immense personal growth. These moments of personal growth served as a catalyst for an opportunity to reinvent myself towards evolving to a better, more true version of myself.  More than anything, I have learned that my relentless drive to seek the fullest expression of who I am as a human being can only occur through challenging myself towards achieving nothing less than my full potential.

For example, I love the challenge behind articulating the right words to express myself which serves as a way to find my voice-the essence of the many selves that make up my identity as a way of grounding me against the crushing and sometimes overwhelming waves of everyday life; this trail of words becomes a map for how I discovered my truest self. On a more personal level, writing empowers me to accept no one’s definition of my life and to define myself until my words ring true. Furthermore, I am constantly seeking the fullest expression of myself as a human being capable of sharing myself as a whole and authentic being with the world. While much of my future remains unwritten, word by word, I slowly become a little bit closer towards discovering and shaping the person that I desire to become. As I continue to embark on the many adventures that Carolina has to offer, I believe that these words I write will illuminate the path and guide me towards dreams and goals that I have yet to explore. As I continue to change and reshape the words of my story-past, present, and future, I hang on to my blossoming sense of self as a beacon of light leading me toward my truest self.

More than anything, I have discovered that every moment in life is an occasion to rise to the challenge. Rising to the occasion of your own life story requires you to raise the standards of what you expect from yourself. Upon critical reflection of the times that I truly effected change in my life, it was the moments that I strove for standards higher than I expected for myself in times of adversity and challenge. By believing in something greater than yourself-raising your goals and expectations, you empower yourself to become a better and truer you. Our lives are an occasion, let’s make them extraordinary. After all, the rest is still unwritten.

-Michael Lau

Favorite Music-Centric Movies

Today, I offer a run-down of some of my favorite music-centered movies. My humble list doesn’t include popular films and documentaries like the Beatles’ “Hard Day’s Night” or the Martin Scorsese flick about Bob Dylan, “No Direction Home.” However, I think these movies show the interesting blend of music in films, whether through fictional bands or semi-biographical retellings.

“Almost Famous” (2000)

Cameron Crowe’s flick about a teenage journalist who follows a rock band called Stillwater on the road during the ‘70s has resonated in the hearts and minds of many. With the unforgettable scene in which the bus full of musicians, managers and friends burst into Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer,” the movie has cemented itself into pop culture history (did anyone catch that Super Bowl ad?). Apparently based on Crowe’s own adventures hanging with the Allman Brothers Band, the film has the perfect mix of an amazing soundtrack, lovable characters and skilled acting. Patrick Fugit’s portrayal of William, the teen who is eager to become pals with his rocker friends, and Kate Hudson’s role as Penny Lane, who leads a group of self-professed “band-aids” (not groupies, she claims), are both memorable.

“That Thing You Do” (1996)

I remember at a young age seeing the film that tells the story of the quick rise and fall of a rock band in the ‘60s. The poppy tracks that the fictional group – “The Wonders” – played caught my ear, and I remember loving the vintage nostalgia of the costumes and sets. As the small-town musicians rocket from obscurity to billboard-hit fame, tensions among members inevitably rise and success is short lived. Catch winning performances from Tom Hanks as the savvy manager, Tom Everett Scott as the sunglasses-sporting drummer and Liv Tyler as the spurned girlfriend of the egocentric lead singer.

“Blues Brothers” (1980)

Building on the success of a SNL skit by cast members Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, the comedians took their act to the big screen to make the hilarious “Blues Brothers” film. After Jake (Belushi) springs from a stint in jail, the brothers go on a mission to reassemble their old band, win a competition and save the Catholic home where the siblings were raised. My favorite scene has to be when the band, which dabbles in – you guessed it – blues and rock ‘n’ roll, book a gig at a country-western bar. After initially playing their usual material and being booed, the band switches to a rendition of the “Rawhide” theme and a Tammy Wynette hit called “Stand by Your Man”.

“I’m Not There” (2007)

Surprisingly, this is the only film on my list that profiles a real-life musician. This ambitious semi-biographical film takes a look at various stages of Bob Dylan’s life, along with different facets of his personality and music. A share of actors portrays Dylan during various scenes, settings and interpretations; the list includes Heath Ledger, Richard Gere, and Cate Blanchett among others. The soundtrack is almost a character of its own, with a range of musicians covering some of Dylan’s best tracks. Some of my favorites are Roger McGuinn (of The Byrds) and Calexico’s “One More Cup of Coffee,” Cat Power’s “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again” and Stephen Malkmus (of Pavement) and The Million Dollar Bashers’ “Ballad of a Thin Man.”

“Flight of the Conchords” (2007-2009)

Ok, so I know this isn’t a movie, but I can’t leave out the unforgettable HBO show about a duo hailing from New Zealand. The show follows Bret and Jemaine as they go about their daily lives, trying to book gigs and penning hilarious songs along the way. The comedians/band members blurred the lines between fiction and reality, releasing two albums and going on tour. It’s often hard to listen to their songs with a straight face, and they often parody different musical styles. Some of the best include the rap battle of “Hiphopopatamus vs. Rhymenoceros,” the song praising a girl for her mediocre looks in “Most Beautiful Girl in the Room,” and the tribute to fashion and hipsters, “Fashion is Danger.”

-Margot Pien

Non-Fiction Is Boring, Right?

FALSE.  Non-fiction and memoirs can produce the most honest writing; I don’t mean honest in terms of “oh it’s honest because it’s true because it’s not fiction.”  I mean that it produces a genuine connection with the subject that is obvious through the writing.

How come the negative defines this type of writing?  It’s not fiction.  I think this is what turns writers off to the genre—we are so intrigued by and used to fiction that we are repelled by the thought of writing non-fiction because it is not imaginative or provoking.  Who says that non-fiction cannot incorporate aspects of fiction?  I was in an immersive non-fiction class with Daniel Wallace and the most valuable advice he gave my class is that you can immerse yourself in a non-fiction story in a way that you sometimes cannot do with fiction.  You have real subjects to draw off of and real experiences to be a part of.  For example, I went to a couple of music festivals this past summer and I wrote about my experiences.  I was immersed in the culture of music festivals for three days, so I was able to draw several observations, small and large, from my weekend there.  Another example: I hung out at a tattoo shop and wrote a non-fiction piece about the dialogue that went on, which tattoos people were getting and other observations.  It also allowed me to clear up some stereotypes that are associated with the tattoo world.

Non-fiction does not have to be straight fact— it can take facts and real experiences and then turn them into a story that can be just as intriguing and compelling as fiction.  Susan Orlean is a great non-fiction writer and is widely known for her contributions to The New Yorker.  In fact, one of her non-fiction pieces, titled Orchid Fever, was adapted into a film starring Meryl Streep!  Susan Orlean has a way of turning her non-fiction stories into a journey, one that she invites her readers to experience with her.  She invites us to share her experiences, and because she spends so much time with her subject, we get the feeling that we too have met these people and have been given some insight into their world.

Life is about experiencing other people, other cultures and ways that people thrive in life.  Non-fiction shows us these different aspects of the world in a way that makes us think about them as fiction.

In addition, most of us young writers think that we can’t write great memoirs because we’re young and haven’t had many experiences, so therefore, our lives are boring.  Again, false.  We all have at least one experience that has shaped us in a way that can be turned into a great memoir. So, here is my challenge to young writers: think of a moment in your life— it could be a pivotal moment or it could be a small action—and write a scene from it.  Stay true to your story while invoking aspects of fiction.  Draw out the scene by describing it in as much detail as possible.  Add some dialogue or some pauses for effect.  Relive this moment through all the senses.  You may find a truth within this moment that you didn’t even realize when you were actually experiencing it.

-Sarah Diedrick

Honor & Integrity Week: “Technology”

“File sharing” may sound like an innocuous term, but on UNC’s campus, it is a violation of the Honor Code.  Students who are caught illegally downloading material from the Internet face serious repercussions. And violations are not always as evident as one might think.

Information Technology Services (ITS) was in the Pit last Wednesday for the “Technology” part of Honor and Integrity Week, which was celebrated last Monday through Friday.  The goal of Honor and Integrity Week was to bring awareness to the Honor Code, which involves both cheating and conduct cases, says Outreach Coordinator Allison Hoover. According to a handout distributed at the event, the goal of “Technology” day was to “find out safe, legal ways to listen to the music you love while also discovering how technology applies to the Honor Code.”

However, during a discussion with Ben Bressman, an information security analyst with ITS, it became evident that violating the University’s technology policy – and the law – may not be so clear-cut. For years, campaigns have been waged against illegally downloading music or pirated movies.  However, file sharing is not always as obvious as illegally downloading a song. It has a much broader definition than many students realize.

Copyright and acceptable use policies create strict guidelines for file sharing.  In other words, “if you don’t have the right to redistribute content, you can’t,” Bressman says. When UNC students download copyright-protected content, it is shared on the Internet – a violation of the law. Copyright-protected content can include an incredibly wide range of media.  Music, movies, pictures and TV shows are often protected by copyright laws, which make it illegal to download them.  Even academic journals can be copyright protected.

Bressman says that students usually get caught downloading something they could have gotten for free. For example, students often download popular TV shows illegally that they could have viewed legally – and for free – on sites such as Hulu.

Illegal file sharing has concrete consequences.  If a copyright holder complains about a file-sharing incident, ITS shuts off the offending student’s network access.  In order to have their network access reinstated, offenders must first finish a quiz and then meet with ITS to discuss the matter.

First offenses occur fairly frequently.  According to Bressman, recently there were 45 first offenses in one week alone.  Although this number is unusually high, it does happen. After a second offense, students must take a quiz, meet with ITS and pay a visit to the Dean of Students Office.  Second offenses are less common, but they happen occasionally. However, the third offense means a painful consequence:  permanently losing network privileges. Bressman says he has yet to see that happen.

It is easy to protect yourself from facing violations of both the Honor Code and the law.  Pay for music or listen to it on YouTube.  Watch TV shows on Hulu or network websites.  Do not distribute academic journals without being granted permission.  And if you are ever unsure of rules regarding downloading or distributing content, read a website’s acceptable use policy or visit http://www.unc.edu/filesharing.

If you take the right steps now, you can avoid a trip to ITS – and possibly having your Internet access shut off for good.

-Georgia Cavanaugh

Eating Disorders Awareness Week

This is for all the people who have ever looked in a mirror and listed off numerous flaws with their bodies.  This is for every person who strongly believes he or she is not good enough.  This is for anyone who feels that the world would be better off without his or her body “taking up space.” This is for me and for you and for everyone else who does not believe they are perfect enough.

We live in a society that pushes perfectionism, and an extreme perfectionism at that.  For women, the ideal beauty is a thin but curvy frame.  For men, their ideal figure is strong, masculine and tan.

The South Carolina Department of Mental Health estimates 8 million Americans (7 million women and 1 million men) suffer from some form of an eating disorder.  From anorexia nervosa to bulimia to binge eating disorders, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder. Despite popular belief, eating disorders are about more than just the desire to be thin.   They are an all-encompassing illness that stems from low self-esteem and the desire to be perfect.

It is a heartbreaking disorder, one that some people don’t understand unless they have been personally affected.  As someone who suffers from an eating disorder, I have experienced the consuming cycle of eating and not eating as I try to achieve perfectionism. I have lost friends during my battle, and I have lost time. I have skipped parties because I was concerned with either not eating anything or eating everything in sight.  So much energy and time have been wasted over the past five years.

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week starts today, February 20, and goes on through February 26.  It is a time for light to be shed on an mental disorder that many people do not fully understand.

A few events are being held this week at UNC.  The movie Thin, a documentary about eating disorders, will be shown in Room 3411 at the Student Union tonight at 5:30 P.M.  Viewers will also be able to ask Dr Anna-Bardone Cone, a UNC psychology professor specializing in eating disorder research, questions.

On Monday, February 21, McAllister’s Deli on Franklin Street will donate 10% of its revenue from 5 P.M. to 9 P.M. to Carolina House, an eating disorder treatment center located in Durham.  Make sure to print off the flyer. Interactive Theatre Carolina will also be performing skits on eating disorders in the Union Cabaret on Tuesday, February 22, from 6 P.M. to 8 P.M.

Even after Tuesday, bringing awareness to eating disorders should not end.  If you have friends who are suffering, let them know that you are there for them. And if they don’t have treatment, help them find it.

If you are currently suffering, please seek help.  There are people out there that care for your well-being.  Even I am here to help support you, so don’t be afraid to contact me.  I have been in your shoes, and I still am.

There is one last thing I want to leave.  You are beautiful or you are handsome just the way you are.  You have been shaped into the way you were meant to be. You were given a unique body and your own mind.  Perfectionism is just an idea. It is never tangible.  Accept yourself and others for who they are, and remember that imperfections are what is truly perfect.

-Hillary Rose Owens

Sources:

National Eating Disorders

Mirasol

Something Fishy

Facebook Event for Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Fitness Lines

Honor & Integrity Week: “Plagiarism”

UNC Chapel Hill is among America’s greatest universities dedicated to knowledge, change for the better, and excellence (but we all knew that). From Monday, February 14 to Friday, February 18, events as part of the annual Honor & Integrity Week are taking place in the Pit, hosted by the university’s Honor System. Different themes will be addressed everyday, including the dangers of plagiarism, safe use of technology on campus, and the truths about substance abuse. The event is committed to raising awareness about the importance of following the Honor Code and university rules as well as recruiting first-year and sophomore students to join the Honor Court. The Honor Court is a selective group of UNC community members who hear cases dealing with Honor Code violations.

On Monday, Chancellor Thorp hosted the Opening Ceremony and spoke briefly about Carolina’s Honor Code. The Honor Pledge also became available to students who wished to sign it and uphold their unwavering promise of practicing honor and integrity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday’s Honor & Integrity theme dealt with “Plagiarism”. Coordinator Allison Hoover organized a trivia competition between members of the Interfraternity Council and Panhellenic Council. The Loreleis even made a brief guest appearance at Tuesday’s H&I in order to celebrate and promote the special event. The performance was led by seniorMarianne Cheng. The all-female acapella group rocked their “Pit Sing” and ended with final shouts of “Celebrate Honor & Integrity week!”

Sample Trivia Questions (see answers at bottom):

1) What does AG stand for?

2) What is the difference between normal probation and alcohol probation?

3) What is the usual sanction for a DUI?


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Left to Right: Trivia Competition; Loreleis’ performance

Answers to Sample Trivia:

1) Attorney General

2) Normal probation has to do with different offenses dealing with alcohol, while alcohol probation specifically acts to penalize as well as help relieve those who engage in alcohol-related misconduct.

3) One-semester suspension

-Wendy Lu

I readily admit that I have always been one of the more dubious, skeptical types when it came to Valentine’s Day. I never quite understood the thought process behind such trivial and often, frivolous gestures for expressing love. However, a recent conversation with a friend of mine deeply challenged my views on Valentine’s Day. He shared with me that in other languages, there existed nearly forty ways of expressing the word, love, while for us English speakers, we were left with only one word. A thought then dawned upon me: I began wondering about how limited and narrow our perception and definition of love must be with only one word to represent all the various types and manifestations love can take. I propose for a more diverse and open interpretation to the many forms of love.

I am sure that I have not been the first to point out the limitations of using only one word to express love. I propose that rather than view Valentine’s Day from such a narrow definition of love, we instead take this opportunity to celebrate all the wonderful ways of expressing love. Whether that love be the nostalgia of one’s first crush to cherishing the company of good friends to treating yourself out to a manicure, take this Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to celebrate the infinite facets of an emotion that goes beyond our one word for expressing love.

As an individual who identifies as gay, I know that I will allow myself, for the first time, to celebrate the nostalgia of my very first crush and how wonderful it felt. The word love in its traditional meaning evokes too strong of an emotion that cannot adequately express how much I enjoyed having my first crush on a guy, and I cannot help but use this Valentine’s Day as a moment to contemplate the wonder behind the feelings of how real and affirming it felt. Who knew how empowering celebrating Valentine’s Day could be? I know that for me it will be a celebration of the deep friendships that I have developed over the course of my college journey as well as how far I have come towards loving myself. For Valentine’s Day, I hope that each of you will find something worth celebrating for-I challenge each of you to expand the definition of love beyond the traditional sense to all the many shapes and forms it can take. Happy Valentine’s Day!

-Michael Lau

Die Arbeit

Die arbeit is once again one of those super basic German words you learn right off the bat when you start learning German because it means “work,” and there isn’t a lot to say about it.

I have officially been in Berlin for a week at this point and have only 11 weeks to go before I am done with my internship. I feel like it’s going to fly by and before I know it, I’ll be heading home. Because this is a public blog, I’m not going to talk a lot about my internship, but I will say that my first day was about getting acquainted with the workplace and I was lucky enough to have gone through training with another intern instead of by myself. If you want to see what I wore for my first day, I took a picture:

I joke that I have yet to see my apartment in the daylight, but it was true up until yesterday. By the time I get home from work, it’s dark outside and I have to bury my face in my scarf like a turtle while I scurry home as quickly as possible to get warm.

On Thursday I broke the monotony of coming home freezing and just cuddling in my blankets and going to bed by inviting the other interns over for dinner and drinks. It was really fun to just chill out and get to know everyone, and I ate way too much delicious food. By the time the last of the interns left at midnight, I was so tired that I just passed out in my clothes and make-up and woke up the next morning to find my bedroom table looking like this:

This is sadly all the pictures I have because even though I did take pictures, I left the memory card in my computer, so none of them were saved. I hope that this becomes a weekly gathering though, so then I’ll have pictures to share n Germany you pay Pfand when you buy bottled drinks, and then you get that money back when you return the bottles to the store, so I’m looking forward to some extra pocket change next time I go shopping!

On Friday, I was really lame and stayed home to watch “16 and Pregnant” on German MTV, which has German subtitles but keep the original voices. It’s really fun to see how they choose to translate certain American colloquialisms into German.

On Saturday, I awoke to a text from one of my co-workers asking if I wanted to go jogging around the city in 30 minutes or so. She came to my place and we jogged around some of the running paths in Berlin, and it was gorgeous. Even though it was windy and a little rainy, my hoodie kept me warm and we found this awesome cemetery with pieces of the wall still intact. We followed the river that runs through Berlin and goes through all the main tourist attractions. It was really awesome to run by the Berlin Hauptbahnhof and the Berliner Dom. We decided to end our jog when we got to this gorgeous golden synagogue in one of my favorite sections of Berlin (that I unfortunately don’t know the name of!)

Then we decided to go grocery shopping and eat at a Turkish restaurant that my co-worker knew of. She insisted that I try the Gözleme, which is like a quesadilla with meat but without cheese and a different kind of bread. It was so good to have warm food in my stomach, since I have been eating mostly cheese and bread since I’ve been to Germany. Here’s a picture I found of it:

If you’re ever in Berlin, you should definitely try this. Actually, you should try all Turkish food when you’re in Berlin! I can already tell you there will be a blog devoted entirely to food in the near future. Until then, Tschüss!

-Miranda Murray

How to Combat Adult Acne

Adult acne can be more than just an unsightly annoyance, depending on its severity. You’d think after the awkward pubescent high school years have passed that the pimples would disappear and reveal a flawless face the way braces are removed to expose gorgeous, straight teeth. The same should apply to acne, right? Unfortunately, acne does not always go away after the teen years, and sometimes lasts into adulthood. Sometimes women may find that their acne is related to unbalanced hormones. When acne persists and becomes untreatable with over-the-counter medicine such as Clean and Clear or Neutrogena, women can go to their doctor or dermatologist and get a blood test taken to determine hormone levels.

If imbalances are detected, sometimes birth control pills are prescribed as an effective treatment. There is a major downside of taking birth control for acne, however. Many women find that it is an excellent treatment option when they are on the pill, but a few months after they decide to get off the pill, acne usually comes back with vengeance, worse than ever. Women may feel pressured to stay on the pill for years because they worry that once they stop taking it, the red, bumpy pustules and sometimes painful cystic acne will return.

If your acne is not related to a hormone imbalance, it may be useful to develop a good skin care regimen. I suffered with adult acne for many months, which caused me immense emotional distress and physical discomfort from the cystic growths along my jawline. I tried all the products available in both drug stores and high-end department stores. I spent hours doing research on the Internet and ordered books at the library, until I stumbled upon the site acne.org. This site proved to be a tremendous tool and helped answer some of my questions and alleviate some of my emotional turmoil. I was able to compare products reviewed by other members on the site, and learn what works for majority of people and what doesn’t. I finally decided to order some products off of acne.org, whose founder, Daniel W. Kern, also suffered with severe acne. I ordered the cleanser, moisturizer, and treatment in large 16-ounce bottles, because I knew that it was the most cost-effective option.

Once you establish a skin care regimen, it is important to stick with it. No matter how comfy you get cuddling with your significant other, do not doze off without washing cosmetics off of your face. If he’s good enough for you he will still think you’re beautiful without a stitch of make-up on, so please ladies, wash your face before bed. Then, pat your face dry with a clean face towel and make sure to change the linens that touch your face (face towel, pillow case) once a week because dirt and oils from dirty laundry can cause acne flare-ups. I then moisturize and wait until it’s dry before applying treatment all over my face. Some people may prefer to apply treatment first, and then moisturize. The advantage of acne.org’s treatment is that once it has dried, it’s completely clear and does not leave a filmy residue on the face. I wash my face, moisturize, and apply treatment once in the morning and once at night.

In the morning after the treatment has dried, I can apply facial makeup with ease. I recommend a mineral powder applied with a clean brush (wash your brush once a week because bacteria and dirt build up lead to acne!). After I established this regimen in addition to taking Yaz birth control for my hormonal imbalance, I noticed a huge change in my results. Strangers and friends would come up to me to admire my nearly poreless complexion. I have finally found a host of products that work for me and even though my regimen may sound complex, it means the difference between a face with unattractive and sometimes painful bumps and grooves, and a smooth, confident appearance.

Here’s a list of products that work in my experience:

  • Queen Helene Mint Julep Mask (dries up acne pimples; rated 4.5 out of 5 stars when Googled)
  • Retin-A (Available with prescription. Makes acne much worse for the first couple months, but then uncovers beautiful, nearly flawless skin. Drawback is once treatment is stopped altogether, acne returns.)
  • Acne.org products – I cannot give enough praise to the treatment. Some prescription treatments burn the skin, making it unbearably sensitive, but acne.org’s treatment works just as effectively as prescription without the physical suffering, costs much less, and comes in large quantities.)

In my opinion, I do not think that a poor diet causes acne, but I do know that when I eat greasy foods and chocolate and then touch my face, I will get a pimple. So make sure to keep your hands away from your face, or develop the habit of washing your hands as soon as you finish snacks. Carry sanitizer or hand wipes in your purse when a sink isn’t handy, such as when taking long road trips. It is important to keep your body hydrated with water because it flushes out toxins that may otherwise result in skin problems. Also, sweating flushes away toxins, contributing to better skin. So try to make exercising a priority.

I hope these tips help you in your battle for a clear complexion and remember to browse acne.org for more information and advice!

-Kristen Cubero