WORDS WITH (FASHION) FRIENDS: DR. BARBARA STURM
Dr. Barbara Sturm is a friend of the fashion community of which many (myself included) are fans of her unique, science-based skincare products based around her anti-inflammatory philosophy. Based in Düsseldorf, Germany, she is behind the Dr. Barbara Sturm Molecular Cosmetics line which she created especially for those looking for an uncomplicated but effective skincare regime.
Just like everyone, Dr. Sturm has spent the last few weeks addressing the new realities of life amid the pandemic, and earlier this month, she hosted a #STURMMASKATHON live fundraising event, which brought together doctors, scientists, frontline health workers, and fashion folks – including CFDA members Laura Kim, Jason Wu, and Rachel Zoe – to raise funds and awareness for the World Health Organization and First Responders First.
Dr. Sturm on quarantine, skincare during the pandemic, her personal philosophy, and fashion favorites.
How in your view is this time challenging to the skincare sector?
The Covid-19 pandemic presents the skincare industry with dramatic challenges and also opportunities to serve customers. Habits, perceived needs and tastes changed overnight. And no one knows when, whether or the degree to which behavior will revert to the pre-Covid period, so we all have to adapt quickly to the new realities. It is accelerating pivots into the digital world and own web shop away from the usual retail.
When and how did you discover your interest in skincare?
I don’t come from a beauty angle. In fact, I grew up as a tomboy and didn’t see an eyeliner until I was 24. I studied medicine and sports and worked in the field of anti-inflammatory molecular orthopedics. As a doctor and scientist, I always aimed for new cutting-edge techniques and treatments. When I started injecting Hyaluronic acid and Botox (aesthetics always fascinated me), I translated the science from orthopedics into the skin and the blood facial was created in 2002 based on work with body own proteins from my patient’s blood. I created my first cream (MC1) to help my own skin and that of my patients. My grandma was a pharmacist and my mother was a lab doctor. I learned a lot about ingredients from them, and my grandma helped me with my first face cream. She used to mix everything and make medicine for us when we needed products. My patients asked me for more products, and I started to create and fall in love with making effective products – myself as the biggest critique as my skin is so sensitive. Against the mainstream, I love to challenge the skincare industry to see skin from the angle of anti-inflammation.
What did you feel was missing in skincare that you are addressing with your clinic and product?
I began developing my Dr. Barbara Sturm Molecular Cosmetics line with a single, bespoke, patients-only cream called “MC1” around 2002. My patients ultimately asked me what they should use as an overall skin care regimen. I did a survey of then-available skincare and I was shocked by the primitive, non-ingredient science, non-efficacy-based characteristics of skin care options. Products were based on empty, non-scientific marketing concepts and full of inflammatory ingredients. I knew anti-inflammatory medicine, I had working relationships with several top ingredient science academic researchers, and I had already created one single, advanced science cream in my lab that was very effective. So, I set out to create the fundamental products in a skincare regime myself.
What tips do you have for first-time users of your product?
Don’t be promiscuous with your skincare. Of course, I highly recommend my regimen and you will see results immediately, but I also encourage clients to embrace an anti-inflammatory lifestyle for the good of their skin and overall health. Avoid acid peels and harsh lasers, and protect yourself against the inflammatory influences that are swirling all around us.
Describe your own beauty routine. What is your best-kept beauty secret?
Like everyone, I live my life on the go, so I need my skincare routine to be simple. A few days a week, I apply my hydrating Face Mask first thing in the morning, while drinking my latte and responding to overnight emails. Twice a week, I’ll either use the Facial Scrub or Enzyme Cleanser in the shower on my face and body to remove dead skin cells, boost circulation and encourage skin renewal. The rest of the time I cleanse with my Cleanser. Immediately after showering (which is important to avoid osmosis/transepidermal water loss), I apply my Balancing Toner, then Hyaluronic Serum and Anti-Pollution Drops, Face Cream and Eye Cream. Not counting the Face Mask, my entire routine takes only 1-2 minutes. I never wear makeup but if I need an extra pop, I use my Glow Drops as a finishing touch. The Lifting Serum is also amazing. I love applying it after my moisturizer. And when I go in the sun, I use my Sun Drops.
Avoiding inflammation at all costs is my ultimate beauty tip. Sleep is so underrated in an anti-aging beauty routine and it needs to be addressed more as it stimulates our own repair system. To support that, I created the Night Serum and the Sleep Food supplements. Other factors include staying hydrated, and avoiding anti-inflammatory substances such as alcohol, nicotine and greasy foods. This all contributes to beautiful, healthy and glowing skin from the inside out.
What is your personal mantra?
There are no problems, only solutions.
Share three words you live by.
Let’s do it.
What is the one treatment at Dr. Barbara Sturm nobody should miss out on?
The Instant Glow Treatment is my signature #SturmGlow facial. It incorporates techniques created in my German clinic for cleansing, exfoliating, potent hydration and firming massage, with advanced science molecular efficacy. This facial involves my Cleanser, followed by Facial Scrub or Enzyme Cleanser – depending on the client, my Balancing Toner, Hyaluronic Serum, Face Cream Rich, Face Mask, Eye Cream, Lip Balm and Glow Drops, and is concluded with my Hydrating Face Mist. It leaves you with an instant dewy glow and has long lasting reparative effects on the skin barrier function as well as penetrative hydration.
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