Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas

Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, a board-certified dermatologist with a clinical practice on Park Avenue in New York, is recognized worldwide as an authority on dermatology, laser surgery, and cutting-edge skincare ingredients. She holds BA, MD, and PhD degrees from Harvard and is an Associate Clinical Professor at Yale.

We were delighted to host Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, one of the most well-respected dermatologists in the country, at our San Francisco studio for a conversation about all aspects of skincare. She shared so much useful information with us that we decided to capture it in a series of video and text interviews for you! In this quick interview, she shares her opinions on changing skincare products.


Ayla: When switching products, should you expect your skin to go through an “adjustment period”?

DR. A.: By and large, I’ve seen that products should be able to be tolerated from the start. If you start to see a reactivity to the skin — redness, flaking, itching, burning — your skin is telling you something. I wouldn’t persist using that product in the hopes that you’ll adjust to it.


Ayla: What if a product causes breakouts?

DR. A.: I will occasionally, when I prescribe an acne medication, see that the subterranean cysts come to the surface. So I think it's important to be able to distinguish that from new breakouts. When you start a product that’s designed for acne, for example, take a mental record of where you are at ground zero; if you already can sense that you have cysts under the surface that need to come out, then expect that those will come to the surface before they slough off. As a rule of thumb, the turnover of the skin is one month — 28 days. So in four weeks, all of those subterraneans should have come to the surface, and you should see a decrease in your acne counts with each month.


Ayla: Is it a good idea to switch anti-aging products from time to time?

DR. A: This has more to do with the product than with our physiology. I believe that, when the skin gets “used to” a product, it’s because the actives were designed for a short-term initial result but don’t truly reverse the signs of aging over the long term.

Because if you provide skin with the raw materials it really needs to do its job — for example, essential fatty acids for the epidermis, collagen boosters, vasoconstrictors and lymphatic constrictors for decreasing puffiness and redness, UV damage reversal ingredients — the skin would just get better and better with time.


About Dr. Alexiades-Armenakas: Macrene, who holds a BA, MD, and PhD from Harvard, is a Diplomate of both the American and European Boards of Dermatology and Associate Clinical Professor at Yale University School of Medicine. She runs a dermatology, laser surgery and research center in Manhattan and a lab-based skin care research company. Dr. Alexiades-Armenakas has numerous publications and discoveries in the fields of basic science, dermatology and laser surgery. Her practice and academic work are focused on topical dermatologic anti-cancer and anti-aging therapies, laser technology and skin rejuvenation. Learn more about Macrene’s impressive background here.

Any topic discussed in this article is not intended as medical advice. If you have a medical concern, please check with your doctor.