Five Important Things You Need to Know About Sunscreen

Sunny days in Singapore may come and go, but UV damage can stick around and leave its mark on your skin for a long time, and that’s why picking the right sunscreen matters a lot. However, you don’t always get the sun protection you wanted even if you do apply it, and there are many reasons why: it could be that you’re not applying enough, or that it’s not actually good sunscreen.

Here are five things you need to know before choosing one for the next time you need or want to spend time outdoors:

Expired sunscreen does nothing

You might still believe that that bottle might still be good even though you haven’t used it in a long time, but that’s really not the case. In fact, keeping it in your car or in areas with high temperatures can make it clump faster, which makes it less effective.

Watch out for Vitamin A

Some sunscreens have added vitamin A, which does have its benefits – it’s a moisturizing antioxidant with great anti-aging properties – but it increases the risk of skin lesions when it interacts with sunlight.

Another think you should be looking out for is the SPF rating. While higher numbers give better coverage, keep in mind that the best rating is actually 50, which is all that anyone could ever need. SPF ratings higher than 50 do nothing against sunburn.

Not all sunscreen is water-resistant

Swimmers are especially prone to getting a bad case of sunburn, so if you love to take a dip to cool down in the summer heat, be warned that there is a limit to how long sunscreen can stay “water-resistant”. To be safe, be sure to re-apply your sunscreen as soon you get out of the water and dry off, or after every two hours.

Good sunscreen protects you from TWO types of radiation

Ultraviolet light from the sun comes in two types: UVA, which penetrates even the thickest layer of your skin, and UVB, which only stops at the skin. The latter is responsible for sunburns, but it’s the former that can do much more damage.

And because most sunscreen only protects against UVB, you want to look for sunscreens that contain ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which help protect againt UVA.

Sunscreen can’t prevent skin cancer

There’s simply no proof that sunscreen is guaranteed protection against sunscreen, so it wouldn’t be a smart move to count on that alone. Taking other steps like staying in the shade, and wearing a wide-brimmed hat along with applying sunscreen is the best way to stay protected against the sun.

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How to Care for Peace Lily Plant

Whether grown outdoors or indoors, the peace lily is a popular houseplant because of its simple but elegant blooms. They are also a popular ornament in minimalist-themed homes because of the white lily and green foliage. If you are planning to grow a peace lily, here are important things to keep in mind.

Choose the right size for your home. Indoor peace lily should be about 16 inches tall, but if you want to grow one outdoors you can find a variety that can grow up to 6 feet. They are perfect for the tropics and require minimal care, so you only need to worry about the moisture and how much sunlight it gets.

Use a peat-based mix. You need to re-pot the peace lily after you purchase it to a peat mixed with perlite. Alternatively, you can use other peat-based mixes. You can also divide the plant to grow several peace lilies.

Fertilize every two weeks. If the plant looks like it is thriving, it will not need regular fertilizing. But if you just re-potted it, fertilize the peace lily once every two weeks with a diluted liquid plant food. Then, fertilize only after every six weeks if it looks healthy.

Do not place in a cold room. Keep the temperature above 16°C all the time because they are not cold tolerant. Do not place directly in front of the air conditioner or sources of draught.

Avoid direct sunlight. Although the peace lily plant needs sunlight, remember that in its natural habitat it grows on the forest floor where it is exposed only to dappled sunlight. Direct sunlight can damage the leaves causing it to turn yellow, so place it near a window where it can still get some sunlight but is shaded from intense heat especially during the hottest times of the day.

Water frequently. The peace lily plant needs a lot of moisture but do not drown it in water. Wait for the top inch of the soil to dry slightly before watering again to keep the moisture. You can also keep the leaves moist by misting regularly to improve the humidity. Use filtered water if possible because the chemicals in tap water can cause browned leaves.

Peace lily does not need pruning. Pruning is only necessary if you want to reduce the size of the plant. Just cut the flowers and leaves that do not look healthy, but you should probably just leave it as it is.

Watch out for pests. The peace lily might have brown leaf tips if you are over-watering or over-fertilizing it. Yellowed leaves can be caused by either under-watering or overwatering. It is also prone to mealybugs and scale infestation if not cared for. Use insecticidal soap or soapy water if you see signs of pests.

Do not handle the plant unnecessarily. All the parts of the peace lily are poisonous so do not handle them when unnecessary. Keep them away from children and pets, too.

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Popular Materials for Cosplay Armor

Cosplaying is a serious business to a lot of hobbyists nowadays, and creating an outfit from scratch is no joking matter. In fact, you can become an instant celebrity if you’re good at the craft. These are the most common materials used by cosplayers for creating armor.

Foam

There are two popular types of beginner materials commonly used to create armor; craft foam and floormat foam. Each one requires different techniques and your preference will depend on the size, function, and design of the armor you’re cosplaying.

Craft Foam can be bought cheaply in rolls or sheets and is common in most hobby shops in Singapore. What makes them ideal for most cosplayers who need a full armor is that they are easy to carry around because they’re light. They’re also easy to shape and manipulate using heat, but they are not ideal for creating round pieces. It’s a flimsy material and needs resin or glue and fabric to make it last longer and to seal its porous surface.

Floormat Foam, also called EVA foam, is also cheap and is much lighter than craft foam. However, it might be challenging for beginner cosplayers because it’s more difficult to work with. It can be sanded, but you will need a respirator. It will also leave a lot of mess and it needs to be sealed before it can be painted. You’ll also need a lot of practice when cutting the floormat foam because it’s thick. Most of the seasoned cosplayers will opt for thermoplastic and PVC foam once they are more confident with their crafting skills.

Cardboard

Cardboard is used for papier mache and paper clay armor. Some cosplayers find these materials much easier to work with than the others, although they need the same level of skills to create a cosplay-worthy piece. For a cardboard armor, you will need the following additional items: newspaper, glue, papier mache paste or mix, paper tape or masking tape, gesso, and sand paper.

Casting and Molding

Casting and molding is an advanced armor-creation technique that will require knowledge of how to work with materials such as, plastic, resin, and rubber compounds. The most common resins used by cosplayers are polyester, urethane, and epoxy. The molds are usually made from scratch using either a putty or a paste, but the material will also depend on the type of resin you’re going to use to hold it in.

Advanced armor cosplayers go the extra mile by learning how to craft leather, chainmail, fiberglass, and other advanced materials. Even your skills at other crafts, such as dressmaking and sculpting, will also be a bonus when creating armor.

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Get to Know the Good Bacteria in Your Food

You might have heard of the name good bacteria in advertisements of probiotic or super food, but do you know which microorganisms are considered beneficial and what they can do for our health?

Not all the germs we come in contact with or live in our body can cause diseases. In fact, a lot of bacteria help keep our bodies function properly, particularly by breaking down our food.

Probiotics

The word probiotic refers to both the method of preparation of a food or ingredient and the act of introducing good microorganisms into the body. Probiotic food often comes from fermented food, but fermentation has been overtaken by other methods of food preparation, that is why most of us don’t get the good bacteria in our food.

By adding probiotic food in your diet, you will improve not just your digestion, but your overall health because of the efficiency in nutrient absorption and conversion. The best probiotic food are yogurt, fermented milk like kefir, fermented soy like miso, fermented tea like kombucha, green pickle, and pickled sauerkraut like kimchi.

The Good Bacteria

These are the good bacteria you might find in your probiotic food.

Bacillus coagulans

This good bacterium is used to treat various gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease. It’s even useful while recovering from respiratory diseases and immune response diseases. Bacillus coagulans is recommended as a dietary supplement besides the medication for treatment of these diseases.

Lactobacillus acidophilus

The most well-known good bacterium is the Lactobacillus acidophilus, but other lactobacilli (more than 80 species to date are considered probiotic) are also used in probiotic food and supplements to help in the digestion of food. L. acidophilus is naturally found in our intestines and is responsible for the production of hydrogen peroxide and lactic acid, which can create an unsafe environment for possibly harmful bacteria in our body. It’s not that hard to repopulate your L. acidophilus because they’re quite common in yogurt.

Streptoccocus thermophilus and S. salivarius

S. thermophilus is also used to treat diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramps, other digestion problems, and most importantly, lactose intolerance problems. They’re quite common in probiotic products such as mozzarella cheese, yogurt, and other fermented dairy food. Meanwhile, S. salivarius has been found to help improve the symptoms of bad breath, which is probably why its genus refers to the saliva.

Bifidobacterium bifidum and B. breve

Bifidobacterium bifidum is known to help people with stomach ulcers, because they can repair the damage caused by a harmful bacterium called Helicobacter pylori. On the other hand, Bifidobacterium breve is known to help improve the symptoms of childhood constipation according to several studies.

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12 Best Western-Themed Video Games

With Red Dead Redemption 2 already out, you might be wondering what other Western-themed titles you can play when you have finally exhausted all the possible activities in the game. Here are some of the best in the genre.

Red Dead Redemption (2010)

If you haven’t played this game, you do not need to catch up on the story to understand RRDR2. The new game is a prequel to this title which follows a former outlaw who is hunting for the people responsible for the murder of his wife and his son.

Gun (2005)

This open world game follows Colton White, an Apache marksman. It is set in 1880 and includes areas in New Mexico, Arizona, Kansas, and Colorado.

Sunset Riders (1991)

This side-scrolling game introduces Billy, Bob, Cormano, and Steve who are bounty hunters looking for the most wanted criminals in the American Old West. The game is divided into several stages each ending with the primary target outlaw.

Outlaws (1997)

One of the first-person shooters in the Western genre, it was also the first game to introduce the sniper zoom detail. The player follows the story of a retired marshal who is looking for his kidnapped daughter.

Westerado: Double Barreled (2015)

This open world game has the similar storyline for most of the Western games on this list: you control a character looking for criminals responsible for the murder of your family.

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood (2009)

If you enjoyed the first game in this series, this sequel focuses on the events two decades after the first. It is set in the American Civil War and follows the adventures of Ray and Thomas McCall, deserters who fled to save their home.

Wild Arms (1996)

Although set on an alien planet and has several fantasy elements, it takes all the important points in the Western genre for an interesting merging of concepts.

Darkwatch: Curse of the West (2005)

This one combines the elements of Western with steampunk and horror. Players control a vampire and gunfighter named Jericho Cross who is out to defeat a secret organization.

Hard West (2015)

Set in a fictionalized American Old West, players get to fight not just outlaws but metaphysical enemies such as ghosts and demons as well. It also has a turn-based tactical mode besides the strategic exploration.

Desperados: Wanted Dead or Alive (2001)

This real-time tactics game allows for control of six characters, with the leader taking the role of John Cooper. The goal is to find and defeat El Diablo with the help of his friends.

Red Dead Revolver (2004)

This is actually the first game in the Red Dead series and follows the story of two friends Nate and Griff.

The Oregon Trail (1985)

One of the most iconic video games ever, you should at least have played this game if you are a fan of the western genre. Players control a wagon of settlers on their way to Willamette Valley in Oregon.

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