Superwoman Dr. Macrene Alexiades

This is one VERY impressive lady with three Harvard degrees, a thriving dermatology practice in NYC, a long list of A-list clients, a farm and lab and her incredible skin care line Macrene Actives. She shares about how she fits it all in while still taking such great care of herself and her family. 

What did you do before you founded Macrene Actives and how has it helped inform how you do what you do now? 

To trace back my roots in the clean beauty industry takes us back 40 years. As a pre-teen, I read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, which inspired me to pursue a life in science for the good of the planet. At twelve, I worked in a university lab with the aim of developing plant derived non-toxic modes of pest control to replace the chlorinated hydrocarbons used as pesticides that were poisoning us. I was very knowledgeable about plants and insects and knew that certain plants were natural insect repellents, hence the rationale of my research. After working on this for several years I serendipitously walked into the Harvard the lab of my idol Dr. Carroll Williams as a Freshman. This was followed by five years in the Harvard Bogorad lab studying plant science. In between Harvard College and the MD PhD Program, I was made a Fulbright Scholar under Dr. Fotis Kafatos in bioengineering of agricultural crops; my goal was to find natural variants to replace GMOs. By the time I headed to Harvard Medical School, I had already lived a lifetime of developing methods for clean beauty. After medicine, I completed a PhD in molecular genetics looking at the development of humans from cells to the complete organism. I chose Dermatology because it allowed me an outlet for my artistic talents as well as the ability to continue to do research while being a full-time physician. Once I completed Dermatology as Chief Resident at NYU in 2000, I was immediately focused on discovering plant-derived ingredients aimed at preventing and reversing the damage to skin that occurs due to time, sun exposure, genetics, and pollutants. During the early 2000s, I became dermatologist consultant under Carol Hamilton for L’Oreal Paris and later transitioned to Lancôme, the only scientist outside of L’Oreal labs commissioned to conduct clinical studies; my work on their jasmonates have been published in peer reviewed scientific journals. The culmination of my expertise as a plant scientist, dermatologist and laser specialist was the launch of the first luxury clean brand 37 Actives in 2009. After a decade of building the formulas, I relaunched the world’s cleanest, most scientifically active skincare as MACRENE actives in 2020.

What’s been the most surprising element of starting your own product line and brand? 

 The most surprising element is that it is not even close to enough to create the most efficacious and cleanest skincare brand on the planet; the tremendous amount of work and support in marketing, PR and sales are required to keep the brand going. Unfortunately, marketing plays such a big role that I believe consumers are at a disadvantage, falling prey to over-marketed brands as opposed to those that actually deliver the highest quality. 

 What's your secret strategy to Longevity?  

If you believe my genetics I am supposed to look 5 years older than I do, so it appears MACRENE Actives with its telomere support, DNA repair and boosting strategies are working!! The Blue Zone lifestyle I adhere to as a Greek and on my Hudson Valley farm which consists of natural exercise and the Mediterranean diet is also key to longevity.  

What are some daily non-negotiables for you when it comes to taking care of yourself?  

I focus on proper sleep: this starts my day replenished. Then I always wash and apply my MACRENE Actives regimen (cream, serum, lip, neck and dec), non-negotiable! I have a morning organic French press coffee shown to be anti-cancer and usually organic granola. I walk a mile or more to work and this fresh air (ha ha in NY it is not exactly fresh!) is healthy. I then work by seeing 25 or patients  in the course of a day. I always break for lunch and try to eat a Greek salad or simple Mediterranean food. End of day I walk home or go for dinner with friends which again is usually Greek or organic cuisine if I am not attending an event. I sometimes have a glass of wine but less so over the years as I question the change in practices and the preservatives used. My day is rounded at night by coming home to my dog and cat, giving them love, and either seeing or speaking to my two Harvard children. Then my night routine: a cleansing using MA cleanser followed by my MA regimen. 

How do you implement your own products into your routine?  

In the morning and evening I wash my face using a couple of pumps worth of the High-Performance Cleanser in my palms and I lather in my palms applying to damp skin on the face. I rinse it off with lukewarm water then I pat try my face and immediately apply my MACRENE Actives Face Cream. I apply approximately a hazelnut size amount using my mother of pearl spatula. Next to apply -my serum around the eyes to the forehead and especially jawline. My neck and décolletages applied next from the jawline all the way down the side and front of the neck, chest, and tops of hands. I apply a dab of my lip treatment to the upper and lower lip while the lip is still nude. 

I try, if I can, to sleep through the night. Growth hormone is released during the late stages of sleep. If you can’t get a full night of sleep every night try at least once a week to get a full 8 1/2 hours. This is why it’s called beauty sleep.


What other brands, founders or personalities do you find inspiring?

Gabriela Hearst for her work in making fashion clean and sustainable.
Gucci Westman for her work in clean color cosmetics.
Bobbi Brown for being such a brand founder and good friend.


What website or IG page do you visit daily for input and to stay up to date?  

Yours of course!!!! I read the WSJ WWD NYT daily. 

How do you structure your work day to help get things done while staying calm?  

As a teacher trained yogi, I carry the breath with me all day long, which keeps me calm under pressure.

Who do you turn to for advice, support and help?  

We already spoke of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring which is single-handedly the main inspiration for my going into science at the age of 11 or 12. Since then, my textbook which took 4 years of my life and represents the way my mind works, an algorithmic approach to skin conditions so that each individual gets the very best care.

Do you have a morning routine that you stick to every day? 

As above in implementing products into my regimen 

What do you do to unwind and relax in the evening?

Once a week in the evening, usually Sunday night, I soak in a bath with Lavender and Eucalyptus from the farm to relax. My absolute favorite self-pampering is being in Greece on my island of Skyros and sleeping quite late in the morning. Then spending the entire afternoon taking several dips in and out of the sea. Because my life is so packed with activity throughout the year, slowing down time and just being one with nature like this is truly satisfying for me. The other time that is truly meditative for me is when I’m on the farm doing my gardening by myself (with perhaps Zeus my shepherd accompanying me).



What’s your favorite meal to eat? 

Greek is the only cuisine I know to make. Favorite meal is my Greek Χωριάτικη salad, homemade Τυρόπιτα (my mother used to make our own filo), spinach and rice (Σπανακόρυζό) and occasionally grilled fish with oregano.

What’s your number one beauty “secret”? 

My products - I started using lab batches in 2007, so it has been 15 years and I have proven MACRENE actives has replaced cosmetic procedures.

Where do you go to relax, rejuvenate and recharge?  

When I am outdoors on the farm or in Greece. I think the natural environment of beauty from plants, light, and sea penetrates into my being to imbue my own inner light. 

What’s your favorite travel destination?  

My home in Skyros, Greece 

Besides your own incredible products, what other Muse & Heroine products do you swear by?