Dr. Amy Wechsler has many titles, from ‘dermatologist’ to ‘Chanel beauty advisor’ to ‘psychiatrist’ and, of course, ‘mom.’ With Mother’s Day fast approaching, the New York City-based skincare guru (who has a long roster of celeb clientele and two teenagers) opens up about her personal beauty routine and how she keeps her skin looking flawless through stressful 10-hour workdays, the skincare challenges moms everywhere are worried about, Cool Sculpting and more.
What is the best beauty or skincare advice you learned from your mom?
One big thing is less is more. That was with everything with her life. She also spent her earlier years worshipping the sun but then did a 180 (thankfully) and is now a poster child for sun protection.
If you could spend all day at the spa for Mother’s Day, what spa would it be and what treatment would you get?
I haven’t been that many places, honestly. In my head, there are places in Japan I would really love to go to. The kids and I went to Amangiri resort last summer and that spa is amazing. I have been there multiple times and it is just so relaxing and calming there.
It is truly one of the best! OK, let’s talk about your practice. What is the concern you get from most moms these days when it comes to beauty?
A lot of them take pictures with their kids and they are worried about the way their skin looks compared to their children. They often want a little bit of Botox or some filler to just look a little younger and fresher.
What about new moms? What do they want most when it comes to treatments?
For moms of newborns, their bodies have just gone through a lot of changes and one thing is stretch marks, so I will often laser them if they are pink or red. Or, they may have grown things on their body during pregnancy because of the growth hormones, like skin tags or little red angiomas, and those things don’t go away unless they are removed and they are easy to be removed. Also, depending on how long ago she gave birth, and if she isn’t getting her body back to where it was, we offer Cool Sculpting here. We have four Cool Sculpting machines—it’s a body contouring, fat-freezing laser that works really well.
Tell me about some of the most recent developments with Cool Sculpting and who makes for a good candidate?
The major development last year was the introduction of the cool mini, which is great. It is a much smaller machine for hitting smaller areas, like under the chin. As a side effect, all Cool Sculpting tightens your skin up after the fat freezes. People usually do two sessions, one is almost never enough so we always tell people to expect to do two. In each treatment, you get rid of 25 percent of the fat cells in that area, but that’s usually not enough to notice a big enough difference so two is usually excellent. It works great almost everywhere. We do arms, like the back fat behind your triceps, the fat that sticks out of the bra in the front and on the back, abs (upper and lower), and the fat on the sides of the abdomen wrapping around to the back and it gives people such a nice shapes. For moms especially, the abdomen is definitely a place they ask for some help with.
Would you say Cool Sculpting is the best fix we have right now when it comes to those pesky areas, like your lower abs and bra fat?
Yes, I think so. Definitely. It’s safe, there is no down time and you don’t have to limit your activity before or after. There are now 35-minute treatments, so you are really in and out. Some areas of the body, or some body shapes, require the old one-hour treatments but that depends on the person. Because we have four machines, we can be super efficient. We also do outer thighs, inner thighs and the inside of the knee now.
People are busy thinking about getting their bodies tuned up and in top shape for summer. When should they start (or, have started…) their cool sculpting treatments?
It usually takes about three months to see the results. I also do a lot of sclerotherapy in the winter, which is injecting spider veins. Those take about a month to improve but sometimes you need more than one treatment, so that’s a great pre-bikini thing to do. Also, if people have stretch marks or brown spots they don’t like we can treat them in advance of knowing that people are going to want to expose more of their body in a bikini. That said, I always want people to wear sunscreen.
What’s your favorite sunscreen?
I have a few. For face, my everyday one is the Chanel UV Essentiel 50. I use it everyday because it has 17.1 percent zinc oxide, which is a really high level of zinc and really outstanding. It blocks UVA and UVB rays by itself and it doesn’t clog your pores, but at the same time, the formulation is so elegant that I do not feel like I am wearing sunscreen. That’s what I wear everyday in the city. For a day at the beach or on the boat, I like to layer multiple sunscreens. I always put the Chanel first and then I also like specific ones for the body like La Roche-Posay Anthelios. I always buy their kids ones from their dermo pediatric line because I have sensitive skin. They are all hypoallergenic and fragrance free. It comes different forms, from creams to a stick to sprays. Then, lastly, I’ll pick up some Invisible Zinc and that’s from Australia but you can order it on Amazon.
While we are on the subject, what are some of the other beauty products that you swear by in the summertime?
My sunglasses are always on when I am outside. I will wear a baseball hat when I am running around to protect my face, I carry around sunscreen so I can reapply it, I walk on the shady side of the street—I know it’s a little weird but I just don’t want to get inadvertent sun. I also put UVA film on my car and apartment windows and that’s awesome.
What new developments in skincare are you excited about?
There are some new fillers coming out, like VollBella, which was released last year. It’s a very very fine filler that is good for the lines around the lips. There are some great fillers that last longer, like Voluma, that also lift while they fill.
When it comes to skin food, what food or supplements do you feel are most essential to your skin health and overall wellness?
I eat a lot of blueberries, mainly because they are delicious and I have always loved them but also they have a lot of antioxidants in them. I eat like a box or two a day—they are just so high in antioxidants. And, I drink a lot of tea, which is also high in antioxidants. I also like papaya. I don’t drink coffee, not because it is bad for you (it’s not bad for you), I just don’t like the taste of it. I always eat some dark chocolate during the day too. I love the flavor and love that it has all these antioxidants, that is just lucky.
Do you have a certain percentage of cacao that you look for?
I usually look for around 70 percent to 80 percent. 90 percent can get a little intense.
Is there a food that’s being touted right now as the superfood that will “completely change your weight and your skin” that you feel is overhyped? For example, everyone is pumping turmeric these days…
Turmeric is good because it’s so anti-inflammatory. I often try to add it into my diet. But personally, I don’t like the juicing trend. My nutritionist friends always say if you are going to eat a fruit, it’s better to eat it in its native form because you get all the benefits from it. That is one thing I am not so into it. I love vitamin D, I think the recommended daily allowance is going to increase at some point, I have heard that for a few years now. It is really good for your skin and bones.
When you treat patients, you don’t focus on their actual skin but also what’s going on in their personal lives and other factors that might be affecting their skin. How do you try to keep the balance in your personal life? I read that you play drums?
Yes, I do! I think it’s helpful that I am a psychiatrist as well. I try to get seven-and-a-half to eight hours of sleep every night. That doesn’t work all the time, but I try! I really, really try. I am a big sleep person. Also, exercise is so good for your brain. I am in the process of buying a ski machine because I went skiing in March for the first time in four years and I have a lot of joint issues and injuries. Also, taking walks with friends or family can be so energizing and good for you. Getting outside can be hard because when I am in my office I am here for like 10 hours straight without really having a break. I like working like that, but there also needs to be a counterpoint to that.
You have your new big office space on the Upper East Side, what else is coming up?
In getting the new space, we were able to add Cool Sculpting machines, so we went from two to four machines and I don’t think anyone else in the city has that many. Now we can do that all day long. Also, one of my medical assistants is in aesthetician school and when she is done we will offer medical facials so that’s exciting. When people have problems with the facials they get somewhere else (and there are lots of people out there doing a good job on them), they come to me.
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