Hello, My Age Is: 53
Between a Blue Zone–Influenced Lifestyle and a Magic Serum, Something’s Working
Dr. Macrene Alexiades |
Her ancestors come from a Greek island close to one of the famous Blue Zones, where people live exceptionally long lives—and she’s a famous New York dermatologist. So you’d expect Dr. Macrene Alexiades to be on the younger-looking side of fifty-three to begin with, but she says it’s definitely not all genetics and in-office procedures: “My 23andMe telomeres say I should look five years older than I am,” the single mom of two says. She attributes her preternatural glow to a lifelong avoidance of potentially toxic substances; living a healthy, Blue Zone–influenced lifestyle; and using her clean, powerful MACRENE actives skin care for the past fifteen years.
The line, which grew out of her experience seeing patients in her office, sources many of its ingredients from her organic farm and has evolved over time as clean standards have changed and as ingredient technology has improved. We’re especially obsessed with the face cream (the results are next-level, and it feels like heaven on skin), the brilliant tinted moisturizer so packed with active skin-care ingredients that it truly has all-day wearability, and the “lip filler,” which indeed gives the appearance of fuller, healthier lips.
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Her lifestyle involves actively contributing to the dermatological community (she’s written an important textbook, constantly engages in research, and serves on several medical boards), connecting daily with her patients, running her own organic farm, and plenty of family time. Her intense engagement with the world around her contributes to the way she feels about herself physically, she says: “There’s something about maturing into your confidence and being the person you aspire to be that makes you feel more beautiful. When you’re young, you’re still looking toward your true potential and meaning in life. People are beautiful at all ages, but I feel my beauty has blossomed into the woman I want to be more now than at any prior age.”
Being active and engaged in the world is most important for looking and feeling your best. Connecting with and doing things for others and engaging in activities you enjoy invigorates you, makes you smile, and makes your heart beat and your muscles work, and all of this brings perfusion and nutrients to all corners of your being to create a healthy body and mind.
Natural exercise is transformative
An organic, mainly plant-based diet (with a treat here and there) makes a huge difference, along with getting what I call natural exercise. People in Blue Zones have a direct relationship with the earth and the elements; they enjoy natural exercise by walking up and down rocky hills or pulling fishing nets from the sea, and they often do these kinds of things far into old age. I mimic a Blue Zone life as best I can by working hard in my Manhattan or Hamptons offices helping heal people all week and then spending time tilling the soil and planting botanicals on my farm on the weekends.
Avoid potentially toxic substances
My devotion to finding plant-based healthy alternatives started at a very young age; after reading Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring at the age of twelve, I started working in a university lab researching nontoxic plant-based alternatives to pesticides. Years later, after earning an undergraduate degree in biology at Harvard, I traveled to find natural alternatives to GMOs as a Fulbright scholar, then returned to Harvard to get my MD, then a PhD in genetics, and then went on to become a board-certified dermatologist in the US and the EU. My expertise as a plant scientist, geneticist, and dermatologist helped me identify scientifically proven plant active ingredients to keep the skin (and me) looking young as I developed MACRENE actives. I have included powerful antioxidants and peptides in my formulas with the idea that we can assist your genetics a little and help protect your skin against environmental aggressors.
Shade is better than SPF
While “wear sunscreen,” is good advice, I try to use sun-protective clothing and minimize midday sun exposure as much as possible. I am always looking for healthy ways to be symbiotic with our world.
Listen to your dad
The best advice about aging I’ve received was from my father, who survived much adversity—the death of his mother when he was a baby, wars, famine—and yet succeeded in life. At eighty-eight, he single-handedly cares for my ailing mother with a structured routine, and he has always emphasized routine’s importance throughout life, as well as being physically active, doing things yourself (when something needs to get done, you just do it), enjoying everything in moderation, eating fruits and vegetables daily—and oh, sleep! My father is living proof that beauty sleep really works: After observing how good he would look after a night of eight hours sleep, I studied this phenomenon and found that the release of growth hormone depends on sleep quality, hence the need to get those eight hours in order to have that good-night’s-rest beautiful skin in the morning.
Skin care makes a major difference
While the lifestyle, exercise, food, and habits impact how you feel, I am the biggest believer in plant-based scientifically active skin care to look your best. My theory—that I could replace cosmetic procedures with active ingredients from plants—has helped keep my own skin, and that of my patients and customers, youthful and looking its best. So while I may not always get eight hours of sleep with all the academic and patient care work I do, every morning, I wash with lukewarm water and while my skin is still damp, apply my MACRENE actives cream that has superhydrators like olive oil, purslane, and hyaluronic acid, research-backed peptides, red and blue algae, and powerful antioxidants.
This is followed by my neck and décolletage serum, which delivers yet another fifty active ingredients to help address fine lines and wrinkles and target elasticity (I also apply this to my hands and arms).
I dab on my lip treatment give the appearance of fuller, healthier lips without injectables (it also moisturizes and feels and looks so good), and I apply my tinted moisturizer, which helps smooth and brighten and delivers forty-five active ingredients: powerful antioxidants that helps to defend against pollution, brighteners, and peptides. At the same time, you get natural, beautiful coverage.