Destination Deluxe sits down with Dr. Barbara Sturm to find out about her pioneering science-based skincare, hear beauty tips and her secret to success
Dr. Barbara Sturm is a globally recognised innovative German aesthetics doctor and skincare scientist, who is also a dermatologist to the stars. Celebrity fans include Gwyneth Paltrow and Kim Kardashian (who made Sturm’s “Vampire Facial” popular). She is an advocate of clean skin and invented the concept of anti-aging “blood cream”.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START YOUR SKINCARE LINE?
I invented a single healing cream, MC1, in 2002, using plasma drawn from each of my patient’s own blood. Years later, my patients were demanding a full range and regime, and after testing, I found the options were generally based on marketing, rather than science-driven. So I spent a few years creating my own ingredient-science-based line.
TELL US MORE ABOUT THE MC1 “BLOOD CREAM” AND HOW IT WORKS.
After the blood draw, the blood is treated heated at body temperature and then centrifuged, which amplifies the anti-inflammatory and growth factor proteins 140 times. The proteins are then added to a base cream I developed made in our pharmacy.
YOU SHOT TO FAME WITH YOUR “VAMPIRE FACIAL”. HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH IT?
The Vampire Facial is an extension of my prior practice in anti-inflammatory orthopedics, and an injectible variation of the MC1 cream. I reinject supercharged anti-inflammatory and growth factor proteins. It is often mis-termed PRP (platelet-rich plasma), but it is actually a dramatically more potent version of PRP. I never called it a “Vampire Facial”, in fact, I never had a name for it.
INFLAMMATION SEEMS TO BE THE CAUSE OF MANY PHYSICAL PROBLEMS, INCLUDING SKIN IRRITATION. HOW CAN WE PREVENT THESE ISSUES?
Inflammation is the bane of skin and health, and one of the major factors in aging, dysfunction and disease. Inflammation is triggered by many things – exposure to pollution, sun and blue screen light, alcohol, smoking, inflammatory foods, lasers, acid peels and even aggressive skincare ingredients. Some of these things we can avoid, some like pollution or sun we really cannot. So we can take steps to protect against the unavoidable – adopt an anti-inflammatory diet, avoid harsh skin treatments and ingredients, and wear both sun and pollution protection. In Hong Kong, the latter is an absolute necessity.
YOU PROMOTE YOUR SKINCARE AS “CLEAN BEAUTY”. DOES THAT MEAN YOU DON’T USE ARTIFICIAL INGREDIENTS?
To me, “clean” means free of aggressive ingredients and harsh preservatives. “Artificial” is a meaningless word. You don’t put herbs directly into the jar, they need to be synthesized in the lab, to create consistency, and to dramatically enhance potency. Herbal compounds I synthesize in the lab are the result of my hunt for the best ingredient science globally, including those used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine, but also coming out of American and European academic science.
WHAT’S YOUR PERSONAL BEAUTY ROUTINE?
I’m busy, so I keep it simple. On an average day, I use my foam cleanser (enzyme cleanser twice a week), followed by my Hyaluronic Serum in the morning (Super Anti-Aging Serum at night), and then my MC1 blood cream. I generally finish with my Glow Drops instead of makeup. If I’m out late, I use my Eye Cream to depuff. And for ultra-hydration and regeneration, my savior is my Face Mask, which I use any time I have 15 minutes, and peel off after it soaks in rather than washing it off. Unless I have an event, I don’t wear much makeup.
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WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU? WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON?
I always have half a dozen or so inventions that I am working on. I have a new Face Cream Light version coming out, and a top secret new creation that I am super-excited about coming in June. Besides that, I am working on a machine that will deliver powerful anti-aging ingredients directly to the skin, and on an ingredient that boosts the cells’ power. And I have a few collaborations in the works.
WHAT’S YOUR SECRET TO SUCCESS?
I work very hard, and love what I do. I follow my curiosities and passions, rather than money. I stay focused on the needs and desires of the customer, and keep learning.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
“You can’t do that.”
YOU STARTED YOUR COLLECTION FOR KIDS AND BABIES AFTER THE BIRTH OF YOUR DAUGHTER. WHAT WAS YOUR CRITERIA FOR THIS COLLECTION?
I needed something to protect and nurture my new baby’s skin, so I formulated something in the lab just for her. She was the only user for the first two years. Then I launched Pepper’s personal formulation commercially into my Baby’s and Kid’s line.
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WILL YOU ALSO LAUNCH SPECIFIC PRODUCTS FOR MUMS OR MUMS-TO-BE WITH THE BABY LINE, SUCH AS A STRETCH MARK CREAM PERHAPS?
The anti-aging body cream can be very effective for that. My lip balm doubles as a nipple cream.