Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas
With three degrees from Harvard and a double board certification in dermatology in both the U.S. and the E.U., Dr. Alexiades-Armenakas, one of the most sought-after dermatologists in New York, talks to Parasol about the importance of wearing sun protective clothing.
It’s hard not to be impressed by Manhattan dermatologist Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas. With three degrees from Harvard (B.A., M.D. and Ph. D), plus a double board certification in dermatology in both the U.S. and the European Union, Dr. Alexiades-Armenakas is one of the most sought-after derms in New York. Her pioneering work in lasers and anti-aging treatments has made her office a go-to destination of the most in-the-know New York women. Even though she spends her summer vacations on the beach in Greece with her family every year, Dr. Alexiades-Armenakas takes great caution to make sure her skin is protected from the sun. Here, she talks to Parasol Sun about the importance of wearing sun protective clothing, especially in light of the new FDA regulations stating sunscreen is not waterproof.
Parasol Sun: The FDA recently updated their regulations on sunscreen so that companies can’t claim that their sunscreens are waterproof. What are your tips for staying sun protected while in the water?
Dr. Macrene: The key here is to apply a sunscreen that is labeled water resistant and with a high SPF such as Neutrogena SPF 85, such that it maintains a barrier in the water and while the sunscreen is washed away, you still maintain an SPF, albeit a diminished one. My advice is to rely as heavily as you can on sun protective clothing to minimize the burden of applying sunscreen and minimizing toxicity from the chemicals in sunscreens.
Parasol Sun: Any tips/tricks to staying protected from the sun?
Dr. Macrene: You need to use a shot glass full of sunscreen and apply it 15 minutes before going into the sun so it absorbs onto the skin. Once you emerge from the water, try to dry off in the shade and reapply once dry. Neutrogena has "wet skin" which allows you to apply while wet, but it is full of chemicals, and chemicals always worry me. Minimize mid-day sun exposure as much as is reasonable without of course destroying your family's quality of life. If you must go out in full sun, select locales that have shade or umbrellas and be smart about covering up and applying screen.
Parasol Sun: Are there any vitamins or foods that help encourage sun protection?
Dr. Macrene: Yes, this is my area of specialty. Foods high in antioxidants, such as coffee, tea, pomegranate, and those high in vitamin A such as eggs and fish protect the skin from UV induced changes that ultimately cause skin cancer.
Parasol Sun: What are your favorite SPF products?
Dr. Macrene: For face, I find that Neutrogena SPF 100 spectrum face is the most effective. Being that I am a chemical-phobe, however, I turn to Neutrogena Baby Faces, which is titanium dioxide and zinc oxide and has minimum potentially toxic ingredients. It is SPF 50 and leaves a whitish sheen. It is not as effective as their SPF 85 block, but for large body surface area, I prefer it since it lacks the naphthalate compounds found in the other Neutrogena sunscreens.
Parasol Sun: What number SPF do you wear every day?
Dr. Macrene: In the summertime in Greece, I wear the spf 100 on the face and sparingly will use the baby faces on the body. In addition, the Skinceuticals Physical Fusion spf 50 has been nice for every day use in NYC because it is tinted and my patients universally have liked it.
Parasol Sun: How do you make sure you and your kids are fully protected from the sun while at the beach?
Dr. Macrene: Here in Greece on the islands where we summer, it is very difficult to avoid the sun. We always find a shady place for our towels and blankets. We always apply the sunscreen to our faces while in the car then do the bodies when we arrive. We wait the requisite 15 minutes before going into the sea. We rely on sun protective hats and clothing when on our boat and I wear a sun protective hat every day both in Greece and in NYC, which has a broad four-inch brim. My husband and children also wear sun protective hats and my husband has finally started wearing sun protective shirts when we are boating.
Parasol Sun: What’s your favorite skin cream?
Dr. Macrene: My 37 Extreme Actives contains 50 of the world's best and most proven anti-aging ingredients, with a primary focus on antioxidants and DNA repair, aging reversal mechanisms. It both prevents and repairs UV damage as well as boosting our own restorative mechanisms. It incorporates the very actives used by the best skin care companies around the world but does it in ONE POT!
Parasol Sun: Whats your favorite facial cleanser?
Dr. Macrene: Nothing thrills me currently. By prescription, sumadan for anti-acne in the wintertime.
Parasol Sun: What in-office procedure delivers the best results in terms of fixing sun damaged skin?
Dr. Macrene: Fractional laser resurfacing is the best, hands-down for fixing sun damage. I have every type of fractional device, from fractional co2 to erbium to ysgg to non-ablative.
Parasol Sun: What’s in your makeup bag?
Dr. Macrene: I am Dior addict! I use their excellent lipsticks and eye shadow kits. I also have L'Oreal mascara (of course). And, I always keep a deluxe sample of 37 Actives there for days that I travel.
Parasol Sun: What’s your beauty secret?
Dr. Macrene: Honestly, I have been using various permutations and renditions of my cream for over four years (initially lab batches and the now updated formula) and have not needed to do anything else. I used to do occasional peels but even those have stopped because I no longer need them. I have every laser at my disposal, yet I see no need for them since my skin is supplied with all the raw materials and tools it needs from 37 Actives to rejuvenate itself and actually look better, younger and healthier over the years instead of the reverse. I am now a true believer in let the skin heal thyself.
Posted By Jennifer Fontanetta on Wednesday August 22, 2012