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Your best friend is hosting a big shindig. You want to attend so you can show your support, meet new people and have some fun. However, you're apprehensive about going because your face is full of zits and you're worried about what others might think. Will the people at the party think you have bad hygiene? Will they think you're hideous? Will they be grossed out by the sight of your skin?

It doesn't matter who you are or how old you are, having acne sucks. Pimples, blackheads, whiteheads and cysts on your skin can pummel your self-esteem and make you shy away from social situations. You don't have to let acne keep you from being the life of the party for much longer. There are several products and medical treatments available to remedy this condition.

Over the Counter Benzoyl Peroxide and Salicylic Acid Products

Over the counter medications that contain benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are commonly used to treat acne breakouts. These two ingredients work in unison to rid your face of unsightly pimples. Benzoyl peroxide kills acne causing bacteria and salicylic acid helps slough away dead skin cells. Side effects of over the counter acne treatments include redness, dryness, irritation and peeling of the skin.

Prescription Medications

If over the counter acne products do not work, medical intervention may be necessary. A dermatologist can prescribe medications that contain stronger concentrations of benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. Prescription strength meds that contain these two ingredients can cause irritation, redness and sensitivity to the sun.

If acne breakouts are severe, topical medications may not be enough. A medical professional may also prescribe oral antibiotics. Oral antibiotics may be used alone, or, if the dermatologist feels it is necessary, in conjunction with topical treatments.

If you suffer with cystic acne, topical treatments and oral medications may not work. If this is the case, a medical professional may inject intralesional corticosteroid into the affected areas of the skin to reduce inflammation and lessen the appearance of acne cysts.

Hormone fluctuation that occur during menstrual changes can contribute to zits. Taking birth control pills can help regulate these hormonal changes and curb acne breakouts. Your primary care physician can work with your dermatologist to determine if birth control pills are appropriate for you.

Dermatological Cosmetic Procedures

If your doctor feels that your acne is best treated with a cosmetic procedure, he may choose either cold laser therapy or clear light acne treatments. During cold laser treatments, a laser wand applies waves of light to your skin. This process helps stimulate the cells, kill bacteria, reduce inflammation and heal acne.

With the exception of a mild stinging sensation, cold laser treatments are painless. Side effects may include dry skin, redness, irritation and inflammation of the treated area.

During clear light treatments, a medical professional will apply a concentrated blue light to the affected areas of the skin. The blue light penetrates the skin and kills bacteria below the surface. Most people don’t experience any adverse side effects from this procedure.

Cold laser and clear light treatments are noninvasive, so there is no down time required. Both of these procedures may require multiple treatments before you get the kind of results you want.

With the variety of over the counter products, prescription medications and dermatological treatments available, you don’t have to let acne keep you from being the person you were born to be.

This is a guest article from Mountain View Dermatology. Located in Boulder, CO Mountain View specializes in acne facials.

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Hey BBM girls! Don't let acne get you down; confidence is key; everyone is usually more focused on their own faces than to worry about yours, especially if you're not worrying about it!

Granted, there will always be the token person who will come up to you and say you should do something about your beautiful face, (as if you hadn't noticed-thanks lady!) but don't let it get in the way of enjoying your life, hanging out with friends or even celebrating your bat mitzvah (that's what acne friendly cover-up is for after all!) and of course, changing the world!

 
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You may be surprised to find that "becoming bar/bat mitzvah" happens automatically when a Jewish boy reaches the age of 13 and a girl, age 12. 
  
Unlike boys, there isn't as long a history of coming-of-age rituals for girls and young women are not bound by age-old traditions like young Jewish men are. Therefore, as observant women have become more Judaically educated, they are eager to create meaningful rituals unique to a bat mitzvah.

Since the bat mitzvah is still a relatively new idea that continues to evolve, the modern bat mitzvah varies depending on your congregation. Still, young Jewish women have more freedom to express themselves at a bat mitzvah. Without a binding centuries-old tradition to follow, you can be innovative and creative in shaping the ceremony and celebration.

Since some Jewish sages have said that tzedakah, charity, is the highest of all the mitzvot, equal to them all combined, more and more bat mitzvah girls worldwide are now choosing to celebrate with a tzedakah project; something to benefit those less fortunate. Carrying on the tradition of chesed, loving-kindness displayed by the Jewish foremothers, who shaped the course of Jewish history; this new tradition has even had an impact on the modern bar mitzvah ceremony!

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Your bat mitzvah experience is even more special when you enrich the lives of others!

Jewish tradition teaches that we deepen our happiness when we share our joyous celebrations with people in need. This is especially important as you prepare for a bat mitzvah, when you become an adult and accept responsibility for fulfilling the important mitzvah of tzedakah. 

There are so many options to select or create a project that matches your own personal skills and interests. One may elect to give a portion of gift money to a charity which reflects these interests. Another wonderful way to share the joy of your bat mitzvah is to donate the flowers, centerpieces, extra baked goods and food to a hospital, homeless and/or children's shelter, senior home, or other recipient. They will be delighted, and you will truly be performing a mitzvah.

 
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It’s Labor Day weekend and for many that signals the end of a summer of sleeping in and doing things on your time. On Tuesday, the alarm bell announces the return of the school year. Back to school is a time of transition: new classes, new teachers, new schedules, and a new social scene.

So here are the Beyond Bat Mitzvah, tried and true, Teen Survival tips to ease the transition:

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Take a Tour - If you're headed to a new school, try to arrange a visit before classes begin. If you have your class schedule already, even better! Visit each of the classrooms and your locker location and plot out your daily commute, i.e how often you’ll need to visit your locker if it’s far from your classroom locations, quickest route, any shortcuts through the gym, etc. That way, when the halls flood with your classmates, and lost underclassmen, you can know exactly where to go if there is a traffic jam. Knowing where the nice, clean bathrooms are is helpful too. 

Pick out your first day outfit – and try the whole ensemble on first (hairstyle to shoes) to make sure it matches, is comfortable to walk around and sit in for long periods of time, and most importantly makes you feel pretty and confident. If you wear a uniform, you might wear a favorite watch, a new hair band, or a piece of jewelry to show your personal style. Then lay it out, accessories and all, the night before the big day, it will shave off a lot of time to avoid the last minute stress of rushing to school, because inevitably your hair will be obnoxious the day of. 

Pack your bag - Some schools distribute supply lists before the year begins, so you can come stocked up on pencils, notepads, change of clothes for P.E. and whatever else you need. Just remember how teachers love to change things up on the first day so don’t overpack; but make sure you did any summer assignments so you’re not shocked at a first day pop quiz! Also pack copies of any paperwork the school office may need, now’s the time to take on the responsibility of being your own best advocate with authority figures (especially when you need to ask them about getting off school for Jewish holidays.) 

Pack healthy snacks (and don’t forget breakfast) - You can't absorb new knowledge without a well-fed mind and body. So take along healthy snacks, like carrot sticks or trail mix, to stave off hunger between classes. The old saying "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" is never more true than when you're going to school. You will be more alert and perform better in class if you eat a good breakfast. With these healthy options starting and fueling your day, you can feel confident in enjoying lunch with your friends wherever they decide to go.

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SLEEP! - Studies show that teens need at least 8½ hours of sleep each night to feel rested. Sleep deprivation can make it hard to concentrate in class thereby leading to poor performance and just plain feeling exhausted. I know your summer let you enjoy your natural body clock of sleeping from 2am-12noon but until they change the school hours (trust me, teens have complained about this in every generation) try to get on a healthy sleep schedule for the week. Remember, sleep is the time when your body does its most growing so if you want to see if you can grow a few inches taller, get your shut-eye! Sleep also helps you look better with clearer, less stressed skin, bouncy healthy hair, nice strong fingernails…need  I go on?  

Bring your Smile - School is a time to make friends and try new things, but it's also a place to learn skills like responsibility for self, organization and decision making that will impact and come in handy for the rest of your life. But seriously, try to enjoy and have fun too, make the most of the opportunities you have to learn who you are today and make changes for the future. It’s never too early to start being the person you want to be!

What’s your favorite first day memory? Embarrassing memories work too ;)

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About the Author 
Sheena Levi
My family moved a lot so I like to think of myself as an expert on first days at new schools, feel free to ask me any questions in the comments below or email: sheena@levlalev.com, maybe if you ask I'll post of picture of me from my first days of middle or high school; talk about embarrassing!