Mind-Skin Guru (and Chanel Advisor) Dr. Amy Wechsler on the Importance of Sleep, Sex and Sunscreen

Mind-Skin Guru (and Chanel Advisor) Dr. Amy Wechsler on the Importance of Sleep, Sex and Sunscreen


Chanel's new oil-free moisturizer for sensitive skin, La Solution 10 de Chanel, has arrived at Nordstrom, and the reviews are rave. We spoke with Dr. Amy Wechsler, who collaborated with the iconic fashion house on their latest offering, about the product and why it's so revolutionary for sensitive skin-and what we can do at home to make our own skin shine.

You are board certified in both dermatology and psychiatry. How has that shaped your philosophy and practice?
A lot of patients come for help with their appearance and end up talking about life issues. Skin care can be so emotional. So much of how we think affects how we look, and vice versa. I've always believed in a very strong mind-body, and, more specifically, mind-skin connection. There are so many interconnections between the brain and the skin in terms of circulation, neurotransmitters and hormones. Anything that affects our mind, in either a positive or negative way, will definitely affect our skin.

You speak to what you call the mind-beauty connection both in your practice and in your book (of the same title). What are a few small things a woman can do with that mind-body connection to enhance her natural beauty?

Sleep! So many of us are burning the candle at both ends, and sleep deprivation has become the new normal. It causes stress, which can damage the skin and worsen skin conditions. While you sleep, your body repairs the damage of the day, and interrupting sleep by staying up too late or waking up in the middle of the night, slows down cell renewal. When your sleep is synchronized with your body's natural rhythms, you'll look better and feel younger.

There are lots of things other than sleep that are anti-stress and anti-inflammatory: exercise, sex, consuming anti-oxidants like red wine and dark chocolate. Seeing a friend face-to-face is anti-stress; getting out and looking at trees and nature for a few minutes a day breaks that stress cycle; deep breathing techniques. It's different for everyone. For some people it's yoga, for others it's music, reading, travel, relationships, going out with your kids.

You've said before that it's important to have an every-day skincare ritual. What, in general, do you recommend?

In the morning, use a gentle, mild cleanser. Follow with moisturizer and sunscreen, I recommend La Solution 10 de Chanel and Chanel UV Essentiel SPF 50. These are great options for people with sensitive skin. Solution 10 is particularly great because you can also use it around the eyes.

In the evening, use an eye makeup remover and then wash your face with a gentle cleanser. I always use a really gentle, mild cleanser. A cleanser should remove the dirt of the day without stripping your skin of its natural oils. Your skin should never be squeaky clean. If it's squeaky clean, then you've removed the good oils too, which isn't healthy for skin. Follow with your moisturizer, I recommend moisturizing day and night.

As the consulting dermatologist for Chanel, you collaborated with the brand to create the new La Solution 10 formulation. What were your goals at the outset and and whom did you have in mind for its use?
I've had sensitive skin my whole life, and many of my patients struggle with sensitive skin. On a trip to the CHANEL research facility in Pantin, France, I met Christian Mahe, the head of CHANEL R&T and his amazing team of scientists and product formulators. I asked Christian if there was a way to create a skincare product to soothe skin, decrease inflammation and defend against sensitivity. This product would be fragrance-free, alcohol-free, and oil-free with lasting hydration that still felt luxurious. There really aren't any luxury moisturizers for sensitive skin! Amazingly the Chanel Research and Technology team got excited about this idea and before I knew it, I was welcomed into a dialogue on how to develop a new CHANEL skincare product.

True to its name, La Solution 10 is comprised of just ten ingredients. Was it difficult to pare down to so few, and what are the benefits of the less-is-more approach?

It takes a special kind of skincare product to address sensitive skin. Christian and I agreed that we should limit the number of ingredients to minimize the risk of a sensitive skin reaction. We agreed that each ingredient should have a purpose. We were minimalists looking to achieve maximum efficacy. In fact, it took over 117 attempts before the right formula was achieved. There were times when we had to throw out all the work we had done and begin again. We were uncompromising and committed to making the best product possible.

Over the years and clinical trials that have been conducted to perfect La Solution 10, what, hands down, are the most impressive results and comments you've seen and received?

Pollution strongly increases oxidative stress and accentuates skin sensitivity. We tested Solution 10 during the heaviest month of pollution in Beijing, and 65% of women found their skin was less sensitive to pollution right away, and after one month, 79% felt their skin was less sensitive. The silver needle tea reduces oxidative stress as it has powerful broad anti-oxidant activity. It has a high concentration of polyphenols-2x that in green tea and 10x more than other teas.

Short of needles or plastic surgery, what are the top five things a woman can do to improve the health and look of her skin right now?

Get enough sleep, exercise, use sunscreen, stick to a skincare routine and never smoke cigarettes.

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