How to cope with Modern Skin Syndrome


Our complexions are ravaged daily by the elements. Pollution, UV radiation, sleep deprivation, even the blue light emitted by digital devices all conspire to accelerate dullness, dryness and premature ageing. At MECCA we’ve dubbed it Modern Skin Syndrome, an inescapable consequence of urban life. But it’s not all doom and gloomy expressions. In recent times, the beauty world has responded by offering powerful remedies for this maddening affliction. The antidote includes multi-protection products that immunise your complexion against environmental damage. Here’s our prescription for a host of modern-day challenges.


PROBLEM: In a recent survey of MECCA customers, 70% admitted to being concerned by the effects of airborne pollution on their complexions. They have a reason to be anxious. Harmful pollutants—microscopic particles of dust, dirt and soot—penetrate the skin and cause inflammation, which leads to wrinkles and age spots.

SOLUTION: Intercept the damage with anti-pollution products. New from Mecca Cosmetica is Antioxidant Serum, which inhibits the production of free radicals with an array of protective ingredients including Vitamins A, D and E. Innovator Dr. Barbara Sturm also has a serum cannily designed to safeguard against pollutants; Sturm’s is infused with marine extracts that counteract ambient heavy metals. This hydrating gel-cream from Philosophy delivers oxygen to skin and neutralises free radicals, while Clinique’s cooling jelly locks in moisture while filtering out daily aggressors. By Terry, meanwhile, combats city stressors with an alpine rose-infused mask, which is how urbane Parisians like Terry de Gunzburg say non to pollution.


PROBLEM: Blue light emissions from digital devices, including computers, flat screen TVs, and smartphones, are believed to degrade skin barrier function. Nowadays, we are glued to our screens: Our survey found that 82% of customers spend more than four hours each day on a digital device. Time to address “screen face”—if not “text neck”.

SOLUTION: Detoxify frazzled complexions. Mecca Cosmetica’s Hydrating Mist is a rose- scented spritz that counteracts the effects of e-radiation. It contains powerhouse elements including bladderwrack extract, derived from seaweed, and amino acids to shield skin. Wash away daily grime and pollutants with a deep-cleansing balm enriched with anti-ageing algae. At night, switch your phone to the yellow-hued mode, or, better yet, put it away and apply Mecca Cosmetica’s Urban Defence Mask, a tonic for tech-stressed skin. The mask, enriched with white tea, moringa oil and hyaluronic acid, inoculates the complexion against dryness, oxidation and inflammation.


PROBLEM: Beauty sleep is real. Lack of slumber impacts on wound healing, collagen growth, skin hydration, and skin texture. Inflammation is also higher in sleep-deprived individuals, triggering acne, eczema, psoriasis and skin allergies. According to our survey, 33% of customers get less than six hours sleep each night, so there is room for improvement.

SOLUTION: It’s not always possible but sleep is the answer. Failing that, retinoids can help with collagen damage. In your waking hours, brightening masks, illuminating primers and radiant balms help to camouflage general fatigue. Eye masks such as this gold-flecked version from Mecca Cosmetica revive the delicate area and minimise puffiness. Follow with a brightening primer concealer, which restores tired-looking peepers as it preps your lids, or disguise exhaustion with an undetectable concealer. Follow with a luminous balm to reflect light and deflect attention for all the wrong reasons.


PROBLEM: UVA rays incite photo-ageing, and UVB rays cause sunburns and skin cancer. Even mild sunburn can increase the risk of developing melanoma, and your skin is more sensitive in winter. According to our survey, 92% of customers are concerned by sun damage, yet, paradoxically, over half skip applying SPF every day. In Australia, where many parts of the country have UV levels of three or above even in winter, sun protection is vital all-year round.

SOLUTION: Wear SPF daily, no matter the season. Most of our sun exposure is incidental—it occurs during daily activities, not basking on Bondi Beach. Choose weightless formulas that slip effortlessly under makeup to ensure you’re not vulnerable. Mecca Cosmetica offers two screens: To Save Face SPF 30 and SPF 50. Both are lightweight, non-greasy and supremely hydrating. Alternatively, use a tinted moisturiser or a moisturiser with SPF. Don’t forget lips—they’re susceptible to sunburns and wrinkles, too.


PROBLEM: Dry indoor heat, air-conditioning and chilly weather are all environmental “skin stressors”—they upset its moisture balance. Equally hazardous is captive bacteria, found lurking in buildings and on public transport, but that’s another story. The point is, the less hydrated your skin is, the faster it ages, so it’s important to counteract the effects of artificially cooled or heated rooms.

SOLUTION: Winter calls for moisture-recharging formulas that act as a salve for dehydrated skin. Hydrators powered by hyaluronic acid help bind water in the skin, while ingredients including argan oil, marula oil and niacinamide assist in repairing the protective skin barrier.


PROBLEM: “Winter face” is synonymous with dryness, dullness, oily patches and flaking. Applying makeup to dry, irritated skin is a challenge, while a ghostly pallor suggests you’re in need of a vitamin drip—unless the pale look is your thing, of course.

SOLUTION: Banish the winter blues with glow-giving makeup, the next best thing to sailing around Croatia. Luminosity is now a feature in so many different products that it’s never been easier to simulate dewiness. Brightening primers, illuminating drops and face oils are simple ways to restore sheen. Swap powder foundation for cream and liquid formulas, which blend more evenly into uneven skin textures, and adopt cream blushes, highlighters and shadows to imbue wind-swept skin with healthy colour. Tinted lip balms are another good alternative to matte-finish products. Heal thyself.

Story by George Epaminondas
August 2018


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