Scattershooting: Inside Out

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Acne Meditation

The penny and the piece of gum

Occasionally, I like to keep things fresh around this website. While its chief purpose is the end of acne, a bit of stray into the realm of humor from time to time is in order. It keeps the stress levels steady and the blood from being angered.

With that in mind, I feel called to share a story—a parable really.

Back in the day, long before dinosaurs belched sulfur, or arks were being built, I went to school. Vending machines were a staple source of many a student’s diet. Not going lie, I’ve given those glimmering contraptions more than I care to admit.

When you’re young, diet seems so easy: I eat what I want, when I want. As I remarked in an earlier post, diet, I was told, had no bearing on acne. Anyways, I digress.

Vendor’s Keepers

At my school many a vending a machine was present. In one particular lounge, all the best candies, treats, and tasty eats were concentrated. It wasn’t that they kept kale or fresh salads in the other ones, only that this lounge had the goods, so to speak. It also had some of the vilest grifters ever to grace a junior high hallway.

These vending machines had various nicknames but one that sticks out was the “three-hole bandit,” which was an allusion to slot machines being called one-armed bandits and the card game favored by swindlers called three card monte. Like I said, this was so long ago that watches hadn’t been invented yet because time was too abstract of a concept to understand.

It acquired this name out of the countless money pilfered from the students (all the teachers were smart enough to stay away). I’m sure you’ve all used vending machines that failed to deliver the desired selection—maybe the pushing screw/device only turned half as much or the wrong choice was erroneously conjured as if mischievous ghosts or gremlins were working the circuits.

Now this wasn’t an all the time, every time occurrence. If it were, the glass would have been smashed by the end of the first day. No, it was sporadic, though consistent. I figured several dollars a day were being bleed from the student body. Hardly a King’s ransom, but enough to grind the gears of even the most sedate customer.

Rough stuff

I take no pride in admitting I ran with a bit of a surly crowd. One of whom was a total hothead (still serving several decades in state prison, if I recall). When he put his money into the machine to retrieve some spicy hot chip sticks, he found the bag was stuck, hung up on rotator screw. He was hungry, saw that if he put in the money again, repeat the selection, this time he’d have two bags and his money’s worth would be assured. Only that didn’t happen.

When the selector screw failed to turn, his temper burned. Naturally, a few hard palm slaps and fists to the glass followed. Nothing. He wasn’t the kind of guy to let it slide. Instead, he found a way to start rocking the machine after building up a bit of momentum. They have those signs on the machines for people like him.

You can guess what happened when his temper delivered the result of an overturned machine, laying atop, crushing his chest. Luckily, a few stout fellows happened to be present and correct this before lawyers and paramedics had to be called in.

Of course, the event also resulted in a venerable candy Christmas as many of the snacks jostled loose in a bit of a cluster. This was most fortunate as it worked to his favor in handing out bribes of silence for any talkative witnesses. He could of more than strong armed most of them but by “buying” their silence, he also implicated them in the ordeal. Smart move.

Nicotine yellow

Regardless, word spread as it’s naturally apt to do in these situations. Talk was all it was. Gossip that turned to clammy silence when the principal started investigating to find answers. Nothing definitive could be proven because no one came forward.

Though facts remained, namely that the machine that had been robbing every fifth student had been returned the favor in equal or greater kind.

It was assumed by most (ok, by me) that the reason the student’s complaints about faulty machinery had fallen on deaf ears is because the teachers and administrators were complicit. I’d been by their plush lounge a time or two and started drawing a few conclusions of my own.

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Too stressed to be blessed

Though the walls were hued in a misty phlegm colored yellow from all the decades of harsh smoking, no doubt induced by the stress of the lifestyle, the amenities were a bit of above the pay grade so to speak: big screen TVs, top dollar sound systems, a coffee machine that produced an edible liquid with a consistency better than motor oil. It really started to add up, literally.

I know it seems to be a bit of an anachronism to talk about teachers smoking, as everyone’s vice now a days usually comes in a pill. You’ve heard people brag about smoking a couple of packs a day. Well, my teachers had their own refueling pump for lighters. None of this came cheap.

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Fueling all those lighters

Unintended consequences

The result of the vending machine tilting incidence led not to the removal of the machines or a repair person to come out and fix them. No, instead the legs were bolted to the floor and a camera was installed in the corner. I was sure the camera visuals were no better than an etch-a-sketch, assuming it worked or was plugged in properly.

It did the job. No more tilting occurred. Of course, the pilfering continued, unabated. You would think that the students would revolt in protest by boycotting, but no, sadly no. The goods were delivered enough to placate the majority most of the time. Oh sure, kids got pissed. For sure. Though with cameras and a venerable panopticon that the school had become, resistance was moot.

All that changed one day when a student who shall remain nameless took it upon themselves to right the wrong with a single penny and piece of gum. The shakedown incident had resulted in loads of lost merchandise but no change in the conditions which lead to it. The penny incident did.

You see, once the gum worked its way into the machinery it was game over. A simple fix was impossible. The machine was out of order until a repair person could replace the faulty equipment. This resorted in a repair bill and several days of lost thievery, both negative net losses.

It didn’t take a venerable genius to figure out that such an incident was hardly a careless goof. The chicanery could be stopped for next to nothing and could be accomplished by those with limited means and skills.

When the repairs were completed, the machine worked. Not most of the time, but every time. It was as though the glitches worked themselves out and all it took was a penny and a piece of gum.

The takeaway

Now, I don’t retell this story because I condone destruction of private property or that I feel like the end justifies the means. Hardly. No, I want this story to serve as a parable.

For far too often, treatment options in regards to acne seem to center on expensive creams and pills and medication– all of which have their place. But they are like the swift momentum of a tilted machine that can overturn on its customer. What I mean is that they have side-effects and may only treat symptoms and not the causes.

Conversely, simple, effective means exist and should be used in preference to costly measures, at least initially. It makes no sense to me to try the Cadillac method when the moped method will get you there quicker and cheaper. Some of the simple methods I’ve outlined in the acne guide are a good start. So is augmenting your diet or choosing to eliminate certain items instead.

For those that have tried these methods and have resulted in limited success, please don’t give up. Hormonal acne can be a great degree trickier and may require the skilled expertise of a trained medical professional. There’s also nothing that says one method should be used only and is exclusive to the other. You may find that to be the case. It’s been my experience to find better results going for the simplest and working up from there. Your mileage may vary.

Mennonite mafia or how I churned butter once or twice

The fan mail from the last post has been pouring in like a loose sieve. I’m here to confirm the rumors of the existence of an online Mennonite mafia are true. For some reason, they really had a bee in their collective bonnets over my discussion of Ayurveda medicine.

My guess? When they read the word Ayurveda or Ayurvedic medicne, it immediately conjured up images of this:

Kalima Indiana Jones

Indiana Jones items found here.

Well, I can’t anger or let my fifteenth most important target demographic down. Here’s Weird Al, to help cheer them up.

Amish Paradise

“Weird” Al Yankovic items founds here

Circuit breaker of the soul

Meditation is a trendy topic these days. Inner peace is everywhere except inside the bustling masses. I could write a post or two about this topic alone, but I won’t.

Recently, there’s been a fair amount of research linking acne to inflammation, meaning even outside of the acne bacteria, acne can occur. [1] The importance of this is that any vaccine developed against the bacteria would be pointless or at least less effective than hoped.

The flip side to this is that it opens up the possibility to treatments that center on inflammation and the body’s response to it. Hence the mention of meditation for acne.

Now, for those of you that saw Dr. Strange and thought, “that could be me,” well, have I got some ideas to share with you. When we think of superheroes we think of jumping tall building in single bound and warping time/space or at least being punctual. Well, to hell with that noise. You’ll probably need to read a book or something.

Like this

No, what I’m offering is a few youtube videos and a list of benefits. Keep in mind, you don’t have to climb mountains in the dead of winter in your bathing suit to reap the rewards contained in the practices, but it’s worth considering.

Your journey to being a superhero starts with the videos below.

Wim Hof Step by Step

Wim Hof items found here.

The benefits of meditation are multiple but here are a few:

  • Helps the brain [2]
  • Positive affects on cellular aging [3]
  • Aids in stress responses to anxiety [4]
  • Can change gene expression, which can alter inflammation responses [5]

You can see this is a superhero starter kit and it can be yours for only ten to twenty minutes of consistent practice a day.


This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using these links.

Work cited:

 [1] The Role of Inflammation in the Pathology of Acne

[2] Buddha’s Brain: Neuroplasticity and Meditation

[3] Impact of Yoga and Meditation on Cellular Aging in Apparently Healthy Individuals: A Prospective, Open-Label Single-Arm Exploratory Study

Does anxiety cause acne? Can anxiety cause acne?

Look into the following study for a link between stress responses (an acne trigger) and how meditation can help.

[4] The effect of mindfulness meditation training on biological acute stress responses in generalized anxiety disorder.

[5] What Is the Molecular Signature of Mind–Body Interventions? A Systematic Review of Gene Expression Changes Induced by Meditation and Related Practices

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