Still struggling with acne in college? We’re here to help!

Did you come to college hoping to leave the battle with acne behind you in high school? I know I did. Fortunately, there are many treatment options for mild acne available at the Student Health Services Pharmacy that do not require a prescription. If you are experiencing more severe breakouts (>10 pimples at once) you should make an appointment with your doctor or dermatologist before treating yourself.

General Skincare Advice:

Make sure you wash your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser, such as Cetaphil. It is also important to take off any makeup before going to bed. Try and avoid touching, picking, or squeezing any pimples as it may cause permanent scarring. There are some studies that suggest dairy and diets high in sugar may cause acne, but no specific dietary changes are currently recommended for acne control.

Over-The-Counter (OTC) Options for Acne:

Benzoyl Peroxide (BP)

How does it work? BP kills bacteria that typically causes acne and helps unclog pores.

What’s out there? BP comes in washes, foams, creams, and gels in a variety of strengths.

What side effects does it cause? You may experience redness and peeling while using BP.

What else should I know before trying it? BP can bleach fabrics or hair, so wash your hands after use and avoid contact with with clothing and furniture. You will also want to make sure that you put on sunscreen while using it because it may make you more sensitive to the sun. BP can be used alone or in combination with a topical retinoid.

Topical Retinoids

How do they work? Retinoids help to keep your pores unclogged.

What’s out there? Several options exist, but only adapalene (Differin) 0.1% gel is currently available without a prescription.

What side effects does it cause? Retinoids can cause dryness, peeling, redness, and irritation. If you experience any of these side effects, cutting back use to once every other day may help.

What else should I know before trying it? You may see an initial increase in acne and redness, but these side effects should get better after a few weeks. Make sure to wear sunscreen while using because retinoids can cause sun sensitivity. Adapalene gel and other retinoids can be used alone or in combination with benzoyl peroxide.

Salicylic Acid (SA)

How does it work? SA helps to remove top layers of skin and unclog pores.

What’s out there? SA comes in washes, cleansers, creams, gels, and lotions in a variety of strengths.

What side effects does it cause? Salicylic acid may cause dryness or peeling.

What else should I know before trying it? Increased contact time on the face may help with how well salicylic acid works (meaning that cleansers and washes may not be as effective as other formulations).

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)

How do they work? AHAs work as exfoliating agents for the skin.

What’s out there? Citric, glycolic, and lactic acids are the most commonly seen AHAs.

What side effects does it cause? AHAs may cause irritation or skin sloughing.

What else should I know before trying it? AHAs are also included in many anti-aging skin care regimens.

Topical Sulfur

How does it work? It is still unknown how sulfur helps with treatment of acne.

What’s out there? Several creams and lotions are available. Sulfur is sometimes found in combination with salicylic acid or resorcinol.

What side effects does it cause? Sulfur has the potential to cause some skin scaling, especially on darker skin tones.

What else should I know before trying it? Sulfur products may be more useful for short-term spot treatment. Some older sulfur products have a strong odor that can be bothersome.

Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM): tea tree oil

How does it work? Tea tree oil kills bacteria that typically causes acne and helps with inflammation.

What’s out there? Tea tree oil comes in creams, gels, sprays, and patches.

What side effects does it cause? A small percentage of people may develop a rash when using tea tree oil.

What else should I know before trying it? Tea tree oil has been shown to work as well as benzoyl peroxide in some studies, but it may take up to 12 weeks to see the full effects. Only use tea tree oil topically because it can be toxic if ingested.

This is just a short list of what skincare options are out there for the treatment of acne. Many products are prescription only, such as oral and topical antibiotics, hormone therapy, azelaic acid, and isotretinoin (Accutane). If your acne is severe enough you may need to see a doctor for one of these medications.

Don’t forget that your doctors and pharmacists at the Student Health Center are here to help if you have any questions or want a recommendation!

Allison Carr, PharmD Candidate 2019


  1. Adapalene (topical), alpha hydroxy acids, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, sulfur (topical), and tea tree oil. Lexi-Drugs. Lexicomp. Wolters Kluwer. Hudson, OH. Available at Accessed June 5, 2018.
  2. Zaenglein MD, Pathy AL, Schlosser BJ, et al. Guidelines of care for the management of acne vulgaris. J Am Acad Dermatol . 2016;74(5):945-973. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2015.12.037.


Want a better alternative to sports drinks? Try Pedialyte

Dehydrated from the weekend? We have good news for you! The Student Health Services Pharmacy is now carrying Pedialyte products. Both the liquid and powder packs will be kept on the shelves to help you recover.

How do you know if you’re dehydrated? Some signs of dehydration include dry mouth, thirst, dark colored pee, headache, and dry skin.

What does your body need when it’s dehydrated? Water of course! But plain water may not be enough for your body. That’s where something like Pedialyte may come in handy. These products contain the chloride, potassium, and sodium electrolytes that your body has lost. Sports drinks and juices may contain too much sugar (which can cause some diarrhea) so more balanced drinks like Pedialyte are recommended for rehydration.

What are some causes of dehydration?


It’s no secret that alcohol is dehydrating and can make you feel terrible. See a previous blogpost on hangovers here and visit for more information on responsible drinking and the effects of alcohol. So what you can do to help beat dehydration from alcohol use? Pre-hydrate with drinks like Pedialyte, and don’t forget to drink more before going to bed after a night out. 


As you probably know, sweating from exercise can cause enough electrolyte and water loss to dehydrate you. If you feel tired, lightheaded, or notice any of the other symptoms above, make sure to get plenty of fluids in. 

Food Poisoning or Stomach Flu

Diarrhea and vomiting can both cause significant dehydration. After experiencing either of these symptoms, it is important to replace the electrolytes and fluid that is lost. If you think you can manage your symptoms on your own, be sure to only take small sips of Pedialyte at a time and eat a bland diet to not make your symptoms worse.

Contact your doctor if you are severely dehydrated, also have a fever > 101⁰F, experience diarrhea more than 6 times a day, have severe abdominal pain, are pregnant, notice any blood in your stool or vomit, or symptoms continue for over 24 hours. 


Spending a little too much time at Oval Beach? Sweating it out on the Oval or by the pool while you work on your tan may actually cause some dehydration. Bring fluids with you the next time you decide to lay out.


Believe it or not, travelling by plane can be very dehydrating. Moisture in the air decreases as you increase in altitude on a flight. You can stay hydrated and still comply with TSA liquid rules by bringing Pedialyte powder packs with you on any upcoming flights.

Stop by the Student Health Service Pharmacy to pick up some Pedialyte today! Our pharmacists are also available to answer any questions you may have about dehydration or the products we carry.

Allison Carr, PharmD Candidate 2019


  1. Baugh CW, Graff L. Observation medicine and clinical decision units In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, editors. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine. Elsevier; 2018.
  2. Blumen IJ, Rinnert KJ. Altitude physiology and the stresses of flight. Air Med J. 1995;14(2):87-100. Accessed June 8, 2018.
  3. Ferrari SP, Welch A. Nausea and vomiting In: Krinsky DL, Ferrari SP, Hume AL, Newton GD, Rollins CJ, et al., editors. Handbook of Nonprescription Drugs: An Interactive Approach to Self-Care. Washington DC: American Pharmacists Association; 2015.
  4. Guttman J. Nausea and vomiting In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, editors. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine. Elsevier; 2018.
  5. Lazarciuc. Diarrhea In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, editors. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine. Elsevier; 2018.
  6. Oral rehydration solutions. Med Lett Drugs Ther. 1983;25(629):19-20.
  7. Walker PC. Diarrhea In: Krinsky DL, Ferrari SP, Hemstreet B, Hume AL, Newton GD, et al., editors. Handbook of Nonprescription Drugs: An Interactive Approach to Self-Care. Washington DC: American Pharmacists Association; 2017.

From meal plan to apartment plan

Its apartment time!

You put in your dorm time, but now you are free.  Free to find an apartment and free from the food plan and you are certain this will save you money. Think carefully about what lies ahead in this department and ask yourself some questions.

Where is the closest

Adjusting from meal plan to apartment plan

full grocery store?


Do I know who much groceries cost?

How will I get there? Do I have a backup plan if the first one does not work?

Do I know how to menu plan so I can create a grocery list?

What, if anything, do I know how to cook from scratch or a box?

What will be my budget for food including groceries and eat out?

How big is the refrigerator and how will we divide the space?

Will my roommates and I keep food individual or will we make group meals?

Over the summer, before you move into that apartment, practice grocery shopping and acquire a sense for cost. Think about meal planning. Learn what to keep on hand in your college pantry. Practice packing lunches over summer if you will do that in the fall. Build a library of 15 minute meals for when you are pressured for time.  Research college friendly cooking.  Here’s a great book to get you started:

The $5 a Meal College Cookbook: Good Cheap Food for When You Need to Eat by Rhonda Lauret Parkinson, B.E. Horton.

Kristina Houser, LD

Medical Marijuana

Cannabis is also called marijuana. Its psychoactive properties are primarily due to one cannabinoid: delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and THC concentration is commonly used as a measure of cannabis potency.

The legal status of cannabis use, for medical as well as recreational purposes, varies internationally as well as across the United States. In Ohio, House Bill 523, effective on September 8, 2016, legalizes medical marijuana. However the program will not be fully operational until September 8, 2018. The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program will allow people with certain medical conditions, to purchase and use medical marijuana. This is after the recommendation of an Ohio-licensed physician certified by the State Medical Board.

Patients will require an identification card. The only valid state ID cards will be issued by the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy once the state’s patient registry becomes available no later than September 2018. Please note that no patient identification cards are being issued by the state of Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP) at this time.

Certified physicians may recommend medical marijuana only for the treatment of a qualifying medical condition. Under Ohio law, all of the following are qualifying medical conditions: AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy or another seizure disorder, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, hepatitis C, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable, Parkinson’s disease, positive status for HIV, post-traumatic stress disorder, sickle cell anemia, spinal cord disease or injury, Tourette’s syndrome, traumatic brain injury, and ulcerative colitis.

Patients taking cannabis for medical treatment should consider:

  • Prior experience with cannabis – Patients with no prior experience with cannabis are more likely to experience the psychoactive effects as dysphoric rather than pleasurable. Patients who are regular cannabis users are more likely to be tolerant to some of the adverse effects, eg, cognitive and psychomotor impairment.
  • Cannabinoid content – “Dosing” of cannabis is determined by the means of administration, frequency, and amount used as well as the cannabinoid content of the recommended strain (especially in terms of THC and THC:cannabidiol ratio).
  • Route of administration:
  • Smoked and inhaled cannabis have a rapid onset of effect which is typically minutes and relatively short duration of action which is typically two to four hours. These routes are preferred by some patients because they allow frequent and precise titration of dose to effect (eg, analgesia).
  • Oral cannabis has a slow onset of effect (typically half to one hour) and long duration of action (typically 4 to 12 hours). This may lead to inadvertent overdosing; when patients don’t experience effects as soon as they expect, they may take another dose, resulting in a cumulative overdose. This is especially likely by patients familiar with the rapid onset of smoked or inhaled cannabis

At this time The Ohio State University Wilce Student Health Center is not participating in Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Program however you can find updates at : Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program

Annmarie DiMeo

September is National Fruits and Veggies-More Matters Month

September is National Fruits and Veggies-More Matters Month. 90% of Americans do not eat the amount of fruits and vegetables recommended. There are many benefits to trying to include more in your diet including:

  • Increase variety and flavor to you diet
  • High in vitamins and minerals
  • High in fiber
  • May reduce diseases including heart diseases and some cancers
  • Easy to prepare

Try to consistently fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at every meal. Also, try to include them with your snacks. All forms of fruits and vegetables count toward your daily intake including fresh, frozen, dried, and canned. Consider trying a new fruit or vegetable to your diet each week.

Dr. Matthew Peters, MD