Photo courtesy of David Cohen de Lara/The Licensing Project
Properly nourished skin glows with health, needs little to no makeup, looks just as beautiful with each passing year, and feels as supple as it looks. The not-so-secret secret to getting your best skin ever this fall and beyond is moisturizer, says clean skin-care-line founder Dr. Macrene Alexiades, one of New York’s most influential dermatologists. “My goal is to replace cosmetic procedures as much as I can by formulating with powerful, active, plant-derived ingredients,” she says of MACRENE actives, her almost two-year-old skin-care brand famed for its noticeable results. With three Harvard degrees, a Fulbright, and countless dermatological honors to her name, Alexiades first developed the line for her patients, “So they could see me less!” she laughs. “Today, there’s a lot I can do in the office, for sure, but there’s also a great deal you can do at home.”
Get the best moisturizer for your skin type.
There are three categories of moisturizers, says Alexiades. Humectants hydrate by drawing water molecules into skin. They’re great for most skin types, including oily and combination, since humectants aren’t heavy oils. “Humectants also help deliver ingredients into the skin,” she says. “Some of my favorites are aloe, glycerin, and lactic and hyaluronic acids.”
Hyaluronic acid plus vitamin Cgoop Beauty
GOOPGLOW 20% Vitamin C + Hyaluronic Acid Glow Serum
goop, $125/$112 with subscription
Hyaluronic serumDr. Barbara Sturm
Soothing aloe gel for face and bodyDr. Barbara Sturm
Aloe Vera Gel
Fatty alcohols are also good for oily skin (and, like humectants, have benefits for all skin types). “These are emollients derived from plants that fortify the skin barrier, increasing and retaining skin hydration,” says Alexiades. “For example, I use coconut butter and jojoba oil in my skin care. Like all fatty alcohols, they’re not occlusive, so they don’t block pores and are safe to use on blemish-prone skin, but they really moisturize.”
Dullness-fighting treatmentMACRENE actives
High Performance Face Cream
Face oil for radiance with jojobaKORA Organics
Noni Glow Face Oil
Occlusives are ointments, waxes, and heavier oils that work by forming a barrier on skin to prevent moisture loss. “Occlusives are great for mature, dry, and sensitive skin, as well as for people with eczema or broken skin barriers,” she says. Many creams combine all three types of moisturizers to optimize benefits to the skin.
Calming balm-meltFurtuna Skin
Rinascita Delle Olive Replenishing Balm
Velvety balm to fight drynessOkoko
turmeric creamKORA Organics
Turmeric Glow Moisturizer
Firming, ultramoisturizing supercreamgoop Beauty
GOOPGENES All-in-One Nourishing Face Cream
goop, $95/$86 with subscription
Intensely Hydrating antioxidant oilAugustinus Bader
The Body Oil
Rich cream for dry, mature, and sensitive skinTammy Fender
Celestial Rose Crème
Watch out for hot water.
There’s a misconception that what you wash your face with is of little consequence since it doesn’t stay on your skin, but a high-tech, moisturizing cleanser can give you a noticeable boost. Whatever moisturizing cleanser you choose—cream, balm, or oil—Alexiades has the same rule: “Wash your face in lukewarm water. Hot water evaporates more water out of your skin,” she says. “Evaporation starts immediately when you get out of the shower or bath, so don’t wait to moisturize.” As in, do it within seconds of patting your skin almost dry. “Pat,” Alexiades emphasizes. “Do not rub.”
Aromatherapeutic milkde Mamiel
Pure Calm Cleansing Dew
Foamy creamMACRENE actives
High Performance Cleanser
Biphase oilKORA Organics
Milky Mushroom Cleanser
Plumping balmSkin Design London
Alexiades gives the same advice to clients who tend to get cracked heels and painfully dry hands as the weather changes: Avoid bathing in scalding-hot water, keep showers short, and massage intensely nourishing moisturizer into your skin as soon as you get out.
Counterintuitively, exfoliating alpha hydroxy acids were initially developed to treat dry skin. Sloughing away dead cells encourages faster cell turnover, and the fresh cells beneath do a better job of maintaining the skin’s moisture barrier; moisturizer is also better able to penetrate the skin’s layers. So exfoliation is a key element in maintaining well-moisturized, healthy skin. The key (as with all things) is to keep it in balance. “Avoid overexfoliating, which degrades the skin’s moisture barrier,” says Alexiades. “Oily people can and should do more exfoliation; their skin typically doesn’t turn over as frequently, and dead skin accumulates more.” For those clients, Alexiades likes to do a more aggressive in-office peel about once a month, in addition to recommending at-home exfoliation.
Direct sunlight—even the short bouts of it you get on a commute—dries and depletes skin. “I walk to work every day and wear powerful sunscreen every time,” says Alexiades, who, for optimal results, applies sunscreen before layering on MACRENE actives tinted moisturizer, her pigmented antioxidant skin treatment.
Feed your skin with nutrients, vegetables, water—and salt.
“Google ‘most hydrating foods’ and what comes up is what you’d think: cucumber, celery, zucchini, lettuce, spinach, and other vegetables that have high water content. But you know that old saying about whether you’re better off with a pound of water or a pound of salt if you’re stuck in the Sahara Desert? The answer is salt,” says Alexiades. “Salt allows the body to hold on to water; to maintain hydration, you need to have the appropriate amount of water, salt, and electrolytes.” It’s why athletes chug Gatorade to quench their thirst, and part of why Alexiades, who’s of Greek heritage, is so enthusiastic about the Mediterranean diet. “In Greece, we eat watermelon or tomatoes with feta—salads over there incorporate high-water-content fruits and vegetables with something salty, like olives.”
The combination of consuming good-for-skin antioxidants with plenty of water is a practice to follow even when you’re not having vegetables; we start every morning with GOOPGLOW superpowder, packed with antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, and more.
Need help figuring out where to add these into your routine? Have a specific question? Send a message to the pros at [email protected] for personalized assistance.