Acne study picked as breakout winner at science fair

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CARSTAIRS – A pair of students from Hugh Sutherland School took the top prize at the Central Alberta Regional Science Fair held recently in Red Deer.

Kaia Kennedy and Brechin Pound won gold and Best of Fair in the grade 5-6 category for their combined project called “Acne? Smack Me!”

Most teens and tweens try their best to steer clear of acne but Kennedy and Pound dug right in and learned all they could about the sticky subject.

“We were focusing mainly on testing out different acne products,” said Pound. “We tried six products on different days: three days on, three days off.”

The project looked at which products were better, cheaper and easier to use. The pair were even able to use Kennedy’s 13-year-old brother as a guinea pig.

“We also did some research as well,” said Kennedy. “The experiment was the main focus but the experiment wouldn’t last an incredibly long time. We did research on where acne is found, what your body is telling you, and different myths people believe.”

The girls discovered that foods such as chocolate and sweets don’t cause acne.

“That’s actually not true,” said Kennedy. “It’s actually a bacteria that runs through your body. It’s responsible for your acne most of the time.”

They also learned that scrubs and facemasks are not very effective and can even cause harm to the skin.

“We wanted to find a way to cure it because we have it and our family members, and it’s kind of annoying,” said Pound. “We wanted to solve it so that when it came up we could fix it like that.”

The girls found that using toothpaste to combat acne was the best method and much cheaper than other products.

Pound got the idea of using toothpaste from a YouTube video.

“There are different strategies that all work differently,” said Pound. “You take the toothpaste and apply a small bit to the area and leave it overnight.”

For Pound, who was at her first science fair, she found the experience to be a lot of fun.

“It gives you a chance to test your opinions on different things and it also brings your creativity out,” she said.

Kennedy has been involved in science fairs since she was in Grade 3.

She too enjoys the creative aspect.

“It brings out creativity because you can do whatever you want in science fair,” said Kennedy. “There are so many different topics. I also like it because it gives you a chance to research something outside of school.

“At school it’s the same thing for everyone; you don’t really get to choose, whereas with science fair you can choose.”

The two were thrilled to find out they won in their category.

“I was so surprised,” said Pound when she heard their names called. “I had no idea. I had my head down. I walked up the stage – I was in so much shock. I thought it must be for someone else.”

Kennedy was at a judo tournament when she received a text message from Pound’s mother.

“I was thrilled,” said Kennedy. “Brechin’s mom texted me a while later from the restaurant and said that Brechin was still shaking.”

Kennedy said her father told her it was even more impressive that they won in the grade 5-6 category with no help whatsoever from their parents other than spellchecking.

“We did the entire thing ourselves,” she said.

Pound added that it was an extra challenge to find time to work on the project around their many family and sports commitments.

“Kaia has judo on Mondays and Wednesdays,” said Pound. “I have hockey on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Usually on the weekends we either have family stuff or hockey or judo.

“Fridays was the only day we could work on it. We specifically told our parents not to schedule anything on Fridays.”

The two girls received $25 each, a couple of certificates and, of course, gold medals for their efforts.

Finishing first runner-up and gold medal for the grade 5-6 category were Evan Kohut and Dane Nielsen of Westglen School with their project: “What Will Happen if the Arctic Sea ice melts?”

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Craig Lindsay

Craig Lindsay is a reporter with the Mountain View Gazette who joined the newspaper in 2016. He covers news, sports and community events in Didsbury, Carstairs and Cremona. He is a photographer and columnist as well.