Have you ever sat in a room with a literal genius? I have. Her name is Dr. Macrene Alexiades, M.D., Ph.D., and she’s a double-board certified dermatologist and laser specialist, and genetics scientist with three degrees from Harvard University. She also has an IQ of 205, among the highest ever scored (a score over 140 means you’re pretty much a genius)—and she wants to make Botox and lasers obsolete.
Throughout her 20 years of practicing, Dr. Macrene has seen some 7,000 patients at her Upper East Side office, and to this day, she performs Botox injections frequently. But she thinks we can be smarter and more responsible when it comes to those injections, which is part of why she created her skincare line 37 Actives.
The seven-product line is made up of 37 active ingredients (thus where the name comes from) with “organic plant peptides that bind to the promoter regions of collagens and uprate collagen stimulation,” says Dr. Macrene.
But before you dismiss this as just another skincare line, take into account Dr. Macrene’s genetic degree, and her passionate desire to move the entire industry forward into non-invasive procedures.
“With the Actives approach, I’m going to make procedures obsolete,” she says. “It’s a superior aesthetic outcome to doing procedures.” That’s a big statement, and a big deal, from a literal laser expert. As Dr. Macrene explains it, lasers were basically created to make surgeries obsolete, and we’ve come close to making that a reality for certain procedures.
But now Dr. Macrene is looking to the Actives line to do away with lasers, too. Her products consist of plant-derived ingredients—peptides to build collagen, amino acids to correct brown spots, hyaluronic acid to strengthen skin, anti-inflammatory actives to calm redness— that “basically correct aging in real time.” “There’s not going to be a need to do any procedures if you don’t develop the problem,” she says.
Before you roll your eyes and write this off as just another expensive face cream, hear me out. First off, the third party clinical study results speak for themselves: users saw a 17 percent decrease in the appearance of crow’s feet fine and wrinkles after 8 weeks of product use. “If you start young enough, you just won’t make wrinkles in the first place,” says Dr. Macrene.
In the months using the Anti-Aging & Firming Serum specifically, I noticed a general repairedness of my skin. It seemed to be repairing itself—when blemishes or tiny red or brown spots popped up, they seem to auto-correct themselves before settling in. The serum became a standard part of my regime, even on mornings and nights when I was simply trying to get out the door.
Secondly, if you’re already considering Botox, the cost would be much more tremendous than the $175 Anti-Aging & Firming Serum (the high cost is largely due to the fact that the products include hyaluronic acid). Let’s say you are getting injections or lasers every six months, and it cost $500 each time (the general range), and you go for the next 20 years, that’d add up to $20,000. But a cream, and an all-natural one at that, that can replicate those same results? For a bottle of serum that will last you around three months at a time, that adds up to around $700 a year, and you avoid all of the issues related to continuous Botox usage, like thinner skin after repeated use.
Beyond her products, Dr. Macrene has some at-home tips to achieving ageless skin. “Botox gives you the ‘good night’s sleep affect’,” says Dr. Macrene when explaining why people do it in the first place. “It’s the muscular inactivity that allows for muscular rejuvenation. You look well rested, you don’t have lines around your eyes. Botox stops those muscles from moving, and gives your skin a break, a period of time (3-4 months) where you can’t stress out those muscles, therefore your skin fills out those lines.”
The DIY version of these is to be thoughtful about your facial movements—we make a lot of crazy expressions more than we realize—and try not to frown so much. Dr. Macrene, who has trained herself not to move her forehead excessively, notes that frown lines is mostly what people come in to correct.
Start young, if you can: “If you educate young people not to excessively frown or lift the forehead, not to make exaggerated expressions or chew too much gum, or sip out of a straw all day long, those will be ways to prevent those muscular movement causing wrinkles.”
(Yeah, I know, I hear you yelling at your screen right now. “You want me to become an emotionless robot, Kristin!” But think about all the excess times you over-emote with your face. Reading a story alone in a room (Ariana Grande is engaged after three weeks of dating?!), or, uh, say, you’re preparing for your Oscar acceptance speech in your bathroom mirror (“Wow, this is so unexpected, I’d like to thank the academy, my agent…*fake cries*”) or just driving in a car, in those moments, you probably could train your face to express less.)
You know who’s got this down to a science? Anna Wintour. “She learned from a young age, if she doesn’t make ridiculous expressions, she will not develop wrinkles. That’s why you never see her with exaggerated smile in photos. Theoretically, you don’t need Botox if you can do this.”
Listen, lines and wrinkles happen; they’re part of nature. And if you choose to accept it without recourse, I accept you. But how I look at this 37 Actives cream is that it’s trying to make the aging process more graceful and natural. Dr. Macrene actually wants to do something about our extreme procedures and injections, she feels inspired to do better with our standard in-office treatments, and I think that’s pretty damn badass.