Amy Wechsler, MD, calls me during an evening car ride to Columbia Business School where she’s getting her MBA. She’s just left her booming dermatology practice on the Upper East Side in NYC, and though she already has a degree in dermatology and psychiatry, the overachiever is on a mission to add another one to her prestigious resume.

The trusted doctor has worked with many influencers and celebrities, and she’s also the resident dermatologist for Chanel Beauty. As an ambassador for the prestigious French brand, she travels with their team to Paris, attends industry events, and even collaborated with their chemists on a sensitive skin cream, dubbed Solution 10 (a fitting name as it only has 10 ingredients!). When she’s not seeing patients for everything from skin checks to aesthetic treatments, she hosts a cheeky podcast with her daughter, Zoe, called Am I Embarrassing You? And she absolutely loves to travel, which is why I needed to know more about her long-flight skin-care routine. She shares advice on avoiding sun damage on planes, where to get Botox abroad, raiding the French pharmacies, and the unexpected food item she packs in her suitcase on the way home from Paris.

dr amy wechsler chanel dermatologist travel beauty tips
Courtesy of Chanel

Travel Curator: Last big trip you took?

Dr. Amy Wechsler: “I went to Cape Town at the end of August for a Columbia Business School trip. I’ve gone on a Safari a bunch of times before, but not there. The people are always the highlight. Traveling alone, I’m probably a little more extroverted than usual, striking up conversations.”

TC: Where did you stay?

AW: “I stayed at a Singita Property in South Africa. I’ve stayed in their properties in Rwanda and Tanzania a bunch of times before, and they are the most incredible lodges, resorts, and tented camps. They’re extremely eco-friendly, and they give back to both the environment and the communities. I always feel so good staying there. You’re kind of like one with the land.”

TC: Best hotel perk at the property?

AW: “An insider tip is that at all of the Singita properties, they’ll literally make you anything you want. If you don’t see something on the menu that you eat, they will make you anything. The food is incredible. It’s as farm-to-table as they can be.”

TC: Did they cook you anything special?

AW: “I really love Indian curry and there are a lot of Indian influences in South Africa and East Africa. I spent the summer in Kenya studying Malaria when I was in medical school in 1992 and fell in love with Indian cuisine. Now it’s a comfort food. I asked them to make me chapati and fish curry. (I’m a pescetarian.) It was delicious.” 

dr amy wechsler chanel dermatologist safari travel
Courtesy of Amy Wechsler

TC: Heard a rumor you never sit in the window seat during flights.

AW: “I never sit against the window during the day, because you’re up like 30,000 feet. UVA rays come through glass, and you can get a lot of sun damage through them. So I always sit in the aisle. I also like to stretch my legs out and walk around because it’s good for circulation and preventing blood clots. At night, I will sit next to a window.”  

TC: If you do end up in a window seat, how can you protect your skin?

AW: “Of course, you can close the window shade, but I understand that people like to look outside. Cover up with clothes and wear sunscreen — don’t forget to put it on whatever is exposed, including hands. We wash our hands so much and use sanitizer on planes, so I always bring a small sunscreen on the plane with me and reapply if it’s a long flight.”

TC: What’s your sunscreen of choice?

AW: “I will either bring a little bottle of my Chanel UV Essentiel or I’ll bring a small sample from the office. Anything that has zinc oxide like a Neutrogena or an Aveeno.”

TC: What’s your skincare routine — soup-to-nuts — before, after, and during a flight?

AW: “Before I leave the house, I put on sunscreen, Chanel Hydra Beauty Micro Serum, and Chanel Solution 10 on top. I’m always makeup-free on airplanes because I like to moisturize many times during the flight. The humidity in the airplane is lower so you just get dried out so quickly. I also bring a little hand cream or body lotion samples, like Vanicream. After I wash my hands, I moisturize them. If I’m stuck next to a window, I’ll apply sunscreen. That’s it. No oils. Nothing else.” 

TC: Not even mascara?

AW: “No. If it’s a short flight, and I need to go somewhere directly after and look good, sure, then I will have some makeup on. But for when it’s overnight or 15 hours, I have no makeup on.” 

TC: When you get off the plane, how are you taking care of your skin?

AW: “When I get to my hotel room, I go straight into the shower. Change out of my dirty clothes, wash my face, and slather on Solution 10. I don’t use anything in the hotel in terms of products. I always travel with my own everything — face wash, body wash, etc. Like a bar of Dove sensitive skin soap. I have very sensitive skin, especially to fragrances. Even at the nicest, fanciest hotels, the products they carry are often extremely fragrant. I’m not risking getting a rash on vacation. I’ll use the shampoo and conditioner, once in a while. I don’t wash my hair every day.” 

dr amy wechsler chanel dermatologist travel skincare botox tips
Courtesy of Amy Wechsler

TC: What do you do to combat jet lag?

AW: “I’m not the best with jet lag. I do all of the things you’re supposed to do. I don’t drink any alcohol, stay well-hydrated, and try to get light into my eyeballs when I land to stimulate my natural melatonin. If I’m traveling East, I try not to nap and stay up until it’s bedtime. I try to exercise when I arrive — ride a bike, walk on a Treadmill, or go for a long walk.” 

TC: What’s it like to travel with the Chanel Beauty team?

AW: “Before the pandemic, I would typically go [away with them] twice a year. Since the pandemic, I haven’t gone too often, though I think it will pick up this year. I’ve gone to Paris multiple times with them, as well as to the labs in Pantin a bunch of times.”

TC: Favorite spa treatment in Paris?

AW: “I haven’t been since before the pandemic, but the Ritz in Paris has the most amazing pedicures, like medical-grade. It was incredible.”

TC: Any specific beauty products you buy in France?

AW: “I always go to the French pharmacies. There are certain lip balms and sunscreens I stock up on. I like the Avene [lip balms] — they’re different [from] the ones here. When my kids are with me, they roll their eyes or skip [going to the pharmacy], because I’ll be in there for 45 minutes speaking with the pharmacist or looking at the different ingredients. I have a great time.”

TC: Thoughts on getting Botox abroad when traveling?

AW: “I’ve never done it. I have patients who can’t come to the U.S. to see me, and I’ve found them doctors around the world. Not everywhere. I have go-tos in Paris and London. Same with Australia. Today, I sent a patient (for a rash) to Dr. Emma Wedgeworth. She’s English. I met her at a mutual friend’s delayed wedding celebration in Greece a few years ago.”

TC: Next up on your travel itinerary?

AW: “I’m going to Paris at the end of this month [editor’s note: when we spoke it was December of 2023]. Staying at the Park Hyatt. I’m seeing my cousin and my aunt, who was a Holocaust survivor. She’s amazing. Going back to Mokonuts for lunch, and I’m to try Mokoloco.” 

TC: What will you buy in Paris?

AW: “I always stock up on butter from my favorite little café in Le Marais called Breizh. The butter is from Brittany, where butter and crêpes were invented. There’s an old-school family that still makes butter by hand called Beurre Bordier. I’ll leave the butter in the hotel refrigerator and then bring it home in a checked bag because it’s cold under the plane, and it makes it [home].I also stock up on tea at Mariage Frères, my favorite tea place. They have great English and French breakfast teas. The green jasmine tea is also amazing. Then I’ll always try something new, and bring it home. I buy this jam from the Alps at Comptoir Richard. I also get chocolate at Patrick Roger, which is the best chocolate place I’ve ever been to.”

Featured image courtesy of Canva