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What Should You Do About Melasma?

Melasma is a common skin problem among women and can even manifest during pregnancy. It causes brown or blue-gray patches to appear on the skin, especially on the cheeks, chin, and forehead. It also appears on parts of the skin that are most commonly exposed to direct sunlight such as the arms and neck because of the overproduction of pigments. Melasma during pregnancy, however, is caused by the fluctuations in the hormones such as estrogen and progesterone.

Fortunately, melasma does not cause other problems and can be prevented with the use of sunblock every time you go out. It can also fade over time, especially if it was triggered by hormonal changes during pregnancy or if it’s a side effect or oral contraceptives. Melasma does not have a cure, but there are various treatments available for those who are conscious of the patches on their skin.

Available Treatments for Melasma
The type of treatment that will be recommended by a dermatologist in Singapore will depend on the severity of the problem. The doctor will examine the patches and use Wood’s light to look at the condition of the skin. In some cases, a biopsy is needed because melasma can look like other skin problems.

1. Hydroquinone. This is usually the first medication recommended for people with melasma. It is a skin-lightening product that come in lotions, cream, gel, and liquid. Hydroquinone products that are bought over the counter usually contain less active ingredients than those prescribed by your dermatologist. It can irritate some skin types, so the dermatologist will usually recommend a product that contains 2% hydroquinone.

2. Tretinoin and Corticosteroids. These are used to enhance the effectiveness of the first skin-lightening product that you’re using. Your dermatologist might recommend a triple cream type that contains hydroquinone, tretinoin, and corticosteroid if needed.

3. Topical Medications. Other topical medications besides those listed above also have alternatives such as kojic acid, arbutin, and azelaic acid. Kojic acid will help decrease the number of dendrites and melanosomes and bounds the chelates copper to tyrosinase. Arbutin inhibits the maturation of the melanosome and suppresses tyrosinase activity. Azelaic acid inhibits tyrosinase and is also an anto-proliferative. All the topical medications have different side effects, and it sometimes take a trial-and-error process to determine which one works best for your melasma. Other alternatives also include lactic acid, L-ascorbic acid, licorice, mulberry, rumex extract, phenylethyl resorcinol, undecylenoyl phenylalanine, phytic acid, and antioxidants.

4. Dermatological Procedures. In some cases where topical medication is not enough to get rid of the pigmentation, the dermatologist performs chemical peel, dermabrasion, and/or microdermabrasion to remove dead skin cells.

Proper Beauty Regimen
Overtreatment can worsen the condition, that is why a gentle beauty regimen is recommended. Use only low-percentage topical treatments daily and use sunscreen whenever you go out. Use a sunscreen that not only protects the skin from UV rays, but also has antioxidants and melanogenesis inhibitors. Apply the sunscreen every 2 hours when you’re out swimming or walking or 30 minutes before exposure to direct sunlight.

Dos and Don’ts of a Courtroom Attire

Have you ever been invited to attend a court hearing? Hopefully it’s not because you have a criminal charge, but in case you were required to be in a court, remember that there are rules on how to dress appropriately for the occasion.

Don’ts When Dressing Up for the Courtroom
You don’t need to look like you’re about to get married, but it would not hurt to dress professionally for court. Below are some clothing you should avoid when dressing up.

1. Short-sleeved shirt
2. Sneakers
3. Shirt with cufflinks or French cuffs
4. Low-cut blouse
5. Heavily patterned/brightly-colored blouse
6. Short skirts
7. Shorts
8. Tube top, halter top or spaghetti straps
9. Tight-fitting clothes that are suggestive
10. See-through clothing
11. Torn or ripped jeans
12. Baggy pants that expose your underwear
13. Hats or caps
14. Shirts with indecent or offensive prints
15. Flip-flops
16. Open-toed shoes like sandals
17. Spike-heeled shoes
18. Distracting colors on your shirt, pants or shoes
19. Too much jewelry or accessories

A Guide for Men
Men should dress conservatively by avoiding patterns and colors that will catch unwanted attention from the other people in the court. You can still color-coordinate your outfit, but pick neutral colors such as white, navy blue, tan, or black.

Learn about the court’s dress code, if there is any, before picking an outfit. A suit and tie is the most acceptable outfit, or you can also pick a sports jacket, dress shirt with no tie, and neutral-colored trousers. If you have tattoos on your arms, you will be advised to cover it with long sleeves. Pick only the most comfortable size you can wear because depending on the procedure, a hearing might take an hour or more.

A Guide for Women
Remember that dressing up for court means you have to look conservative to avoid unwanted attention from the other people who will also attend the hearing. There are other venues where you can show off your personal style, but the court is not one of those places.

Do not overdress when you’re in court, instead pick clothing that are comfortable and are of the right size so that you can keep your focus and concentration during the proceedings.

A neutral-colored blouse with minimal patterns is your best bet. If you have a dress suit or pantsuit, it can be an alternative to the business casual outfit you also wear at the office. For your shoes, pick a pair of dress shoes in neutral colors that have low or mid-heels. Some stylists advise against the use of an all-black outfit to court, especially if you’re representing yourself, because it might send the wrong message to an older conservative judge.

If you have long hair, you might be advised to pull it back from your face to avoid distractions especially if you’re attending for self-representation.

5 ways to keep a harmonious working environment

Regardless of the type of work you do, you will always have to interact with people at one point in your day. You’d have to coordinate, plan, implement or simply chat with them. The success of your work sometimes depends on how stable your working relationships are with your colleagues.

Individual differences in the workplace may either make or break an organization. Different personalities, culture and norms sometimes cause conflicts in the workplace.

So to prevent any unnecessary feuds, here’s a few tips to help you promote harmonious atmosphere in the workplace:

1. Be open
Whether it may be for advices, feedback or even plain small talk, make sure your stance is open and welcoming. Make your colleagues comfortable with you so they can share thoughts and substantial work-related ideas with you. Not only that, but suggestions as well as complaints could spring forth in a comfortable atmosphere. Make sure you make them feel like their voices are heard, because primarily you’re both just humans at the end of the day. A little kindness couldn’t hurt. You could readily make use of it too, so be ready to hand it out too.

2. Appreciate the little things
People work better when they feel that even the smallest efforts are recognized. You may not be in charge of a lot of people in your company, but your subordinates could use a sincere little thank you once in a while. Before you know it, the atmosphere in the office is that of gratitude and motivation. If people feel they are grateful to be in an organization, they will be motivated to go the extra mile.

3. Stay away from gossip
Any idle gossip is fun at first but could breed paranoia and hurt in the long run. Office environments could use a no-gossip rule any day. Gossip is hurtful and shameful, plus it robs the company of precious working time.

4. Breed teamwork
One of the best ways to develop teamwork in an organization is to make sure each one feels valued and recognized. Make an atmosphere where there is respect towards other people’s opinions and ideas. Instead of barking out orders, make sure ideas are well-discussed. If the people feel ownership for the ideas and plans to be done, they will be motivated to push through with it.

5. Be thankful…vocally
Saying thank you is one habit that could do magic for your organization. If people feel valued, they will genuinely work happily. Even in simple favors like holding open the door or the elevator or even letting you get coffee first when you bump into each other in the pantry, being thankful and actually saying it out loud could do you wonders.

5 Ways to Tell a Person is Trustworthy

We have all encountered a lot of people in the circles that we belonged to. Friends and acquaintances from school, academe, church, business and colleagues, it is but natural for us to mingle with others.

Not only in the professional arena of our lives, but more importantly on a personal level, we surely have been familiar with the craft of reading people’s characters on the way they carry themselves before we even want to talk to them. An eye twitch, a certain way they hold a conversation and the overall aura they exude, these all give an impression. And the same goes for us, as well.

Here are six ways to tell whether a person is trustworthy (these are not a definite guarantee, but they might be helpful at some point):

1. Eye contact
Keep appropriate eye contact with the person. When talking, the person who does not waver in looking into your eyes as he speaks usually is telling the truth. Well, some may say that it can be out of practice that he has mastered in looking straight in the eye. But mostly than not, only the one who can make a direct eye contact is the one who can say that he is telling the truth.

2. Body Language
Other than having eye contact, body language is also very much interesting to note. Observe people on the way they carry themselves if they are confident or nervous. Why are they fidgeting? It could be that he is anxiously keeping something to himself.

For business oriented-people and during some negotiation activities, they have learned that by sitting with cross legs and pointing your toes to the person you are convincing has a telepathic effect whereby he seems to believe in what you are saying. Usually, they are convinced. That is magic of it.

3. Keeping Appointments
A man is as good as his word! Now you can start to trust him on this. Seldom can you meet that when you agreed to meet for an appointment, he is there on time. Of course again, business-minded people really do this. They are on time. Because time is of essence for these people. Relatively, time means money for them. Business opportunities come with punctuality on business matters. They don’t miss chances.

Again, he can be trusted on this or maybe not. It all depends on the motive of the person. Then again, we must go back to the first two considerations: eye contact and body language.

4. Respect for Elders/Others
When a person respects his parents, it is sure that he will also have a respect for other elderly and even his partner in life. It is true that respect is not being asked for, but it is earned through one’s good regard to people not only the elderly.

5. He walks his talk
A man is trustworthy if he ‘walks his talk’. This would reflect that he is also God-fearing. He does what he believes in what is good for all.

The Best Places in Singapore to Take Pictures

Always wanted to go on a photography escapade? Singapore has a lot of potential for some great photographs you can be proud of taking. But forget Marina Bay and the Esplanade – they’re not the only landscapes you can take pictures of.

In fact, there are more gems just waiting to be taken that the Lion City has to offer! Grab your DSLR now and hop on the MRT to these camera-worthy places:

1. Tiong Bahru
This neighborhood isn’t just well known for its beautiful historical murals painted all over building facades and alleys – it’s also bustling with boutiques, patisseries, and trendy cafes, and what makes it more lively is the people who come to the market every day to buy fresh produce, from flowers to fruit, to even fish.

2. Chinatown
If red is your favorite color, then this neighborhood is awash in it, complete with lanterns and decorations stretching out as far as the eye can see. Here in Singapore’s Chinatown, you can buy just about anything, and the best part is that you’ll always see a good amount of foot traffic no matter the time of day.

3. Little India
Little India will definitely be a delight for street photographers, and can be visually summed up as one thing: an explosion of color. Store fronts are graced with vibrant floral garlands, and the bustling streets just scream Indian culture with every corner.

4. Central Business District
If you’re into the soaring architecture that Singapore is known for, head on to the Central Business District during mealtimes and be sure to point your camera up to get an interesting perspective on the towering offices and skyscrapers.

5. Singapore Botanic Gardens
Former “experimental garden” turned UNESCO world heritage site, this place is the stuff of any nature/forest photographer’s dream, complete with hectares of giant canopies hovering over carefully manicured gardens. Just don’t get stuck, though – they close at 12 midnight.

6. Punggol Jetty Park
This place is right beside the Botanic Gardens MRT station and also boasts of plenty of nature to go around. Once an execution site during WW2, it has today become a peaceful beach that’s just great for taking photo-walks during the blue and golden hours.

7. Bishan Park
Of course, the blue and golden hours are best captured with some reflective tricks, and Bishan Park is a huge man-made river plain just waiting for you to take some of your most cherished works. You can even switch up some unique angles by walking into the river during low tide.

4 Awkward Wedding Situations (And How to Deal With them)

Even if you’ve planned your wedding meticulously several months ahead of time, you just never know what could happen on the day itself.

Awkward situations happen during weddings all the time, which is why you should know what to do and how to deal with them before things get out of hand. Here are a few to get you started:

1. The No-Show Photographer/Planner
Two photographers should be there, so that one can still take pictures if the other isn’t there. If you’re not sure that both of them will be there, have a good friend who knows their way around a DSLR on standby. In a worst-case scenario, a smartphone with a good camera will have to do.

If your wedding planner doesn’t show up, improvise with your best man/maid of honor to make sure that the itinerary goes according to schedule.

2. The Bad Blood in the Family
There may have been some bad blood between your spouse’s parents (i.e. separated or divorced), and that needs a lot of careful planning beforehand.

It might be a good idea to assign them seats far from each other during the ceremony and the reception. Talk to your partner beforehand to get an idea on their current situation, and be sure to talk to your spouse’s parents to make them feel welcome. The same could go if your parents are the ones who have bad blood.

3. The Really Spirited Guests
Or at least, have had some spirits. Sure, a drink or two can make things a little more festive, but there will always be that one guest who likes to have a little too much fun. What do you do with guests like these?

Quite a few, actually – you can limit the selection and quantity of alcohol during the reception to make sure no one gets buzzed. Be sure to tell the guests beforehand about what you want, or more specifically, don’t want to happen during your wedding.

4. The Guests Who Invite Themselves
Dealing with guests who RSVP even though they haven’t been invited can be a little tricky, especially if they’ve been friends of yours for some time. Start by being gentle, but firm in telling them that the venue is fully booked and that you can’t handle last-minute invites due to budget constraints.

Before you do anything, it’s important that you take a few deep breaths and keep a level head. You won’t be able to solve anything when you’re panicking. Be sure to weigh your options carefully with your partner, and keep in mind that communication is key.