Dr Barbara Sturm’s eponymous luxury skincare brand is a celebrity favourite—her list of fans features A-listers like Bella Hadid, Kate Moss, Gwyneth Paltrow, Emma Roberts, among many others. We spoke to Dr Barbara about her skincare philosophy, the famous ‘Vampire Facial’, and her must-have products.
Cosmo: What prompted you to launch your own skincare brand?
Dr Barbara Sturm: “Combating inflammation has been a central target of my entire medical career. I studied sports medicine and worked in the field of anti-inflammatory molecular orthopaedics before shifting to anti-inflammatory aesthetics. I began injecting hyaluronic acid and Botox in the early 2000s and translated that science from orthopaedics to skin in order to create the first blood plasma facial over 18 years ago, in 2002.
Soon after, I invented my first doctor-issued blood plasma-based cream—MC1—and prescribed it to my patients. When my patients began asking me to recommend an entire regimen, I set out to create my own science-driven, high-performance skincare, and Dr Barbara Sturm Molecular Cosmetics was born.”
C: Tell us about your skincare philosophy.
DBS: “It is focused on tackling inflammation and its consequences, and healing the skin with advanced-ingredient science. Inflammation is the body’s response to irritation and injury, and is a trigger for acne, premature ageing, redness, enlarged pores, and other diseases including psoriasis, rosacea, and perioral dermatitis.”
C: There are so many skincare trends doing the rounds currently. Do you approve of any?
DBS: “I am deeply interested in innovation, and closely monitor the advancement in ingredient science. But I am sceptical of marketing-based trends or aggressive approaches to skin. Science-backed products and treatments that embrace the individuality and diverse skincare needs of every consumer are the present and future of the beauty industry.”
C: And are there any trends that make you cringe?
DBS: “The idea that you should ‘feel the burn’ and aggressively attack your skin to get results is a dangerous trend. If your skin feels protected, taken care of, hydrated, and looks glowy and dewy, that is a hallmark of effective skincare.”
Dr Barbara Sturm
C: How did you come up with the famous ‘Vampire Facial’?
DBS: “The Vampire Facial was a translation of the scientific research and practice I had been working on in orthopaedics—I would inject the patient’s own plasma with accelerated growth factors and other anti-inflammatory proteins into the area of the injury to boost healing [and repair ageing arthritic joints and injuries in athletes]. I translated this into a facial treatment, where I took a patient’s blood, treated it over the course of a day in the laboratory to accelerate the healing factors and expression of other beneficial proteins, and then reinjected the treated plasma into the skin. It had a tremendous healing effect. The public later termed this the ‘Vampire Facial’.”
C: There is a lot of debate around ingredients like hyaluronic acid and retinol. What’s your take on them?
DBS: “Hyaluronic acid has been widely studied clinically for its ability to boost the essential skin barrier function—it is the armour that prevents pathogens and other impurities from entering the skin. Hyaluronic acid is also a fundamental ingredient to hydrate skin, both superficially for a plumping effect and to restore moisture reservoirs in the deeper layers. However, I advise against deploying aggressive acids like retinol, because they destroy the skin matrix, and weaken it. I believe in a healing approach to promote healthy, youthful, and luminous complexion.”
C: Maskne is a common skin issue these days. What can we do to prevent and treat it?
DBS: “When you are wearing a mask, it is important to keep it clean. Also, I would recommend taking your skincare to work so you can cleanse your face and re-apply your skincare—this will keep skin hydrated and prevent the friction from the mask from disrupting your skin barrier.”
C: Can you recommend your holy grail products for Cosmo readers?
DBS: “My Darker Skin Tones Hyaluronic Serum, which offers an intensive hydration boost. This variation also contains lumicol, which lends a natural, healthy glow. The Face Cream is an essential for every skin tone—it nourishes skin with valuable oils, and has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. My latest invention, the Super Anti-Ageing Face Cream is also a must-have as it is formulated with a proven, anti-ageing molecule that helps delay the process and a unique, biomimetic formula that mimics the skin’s natural structure to repair and strengthen it. For sun care, the Sun Drops SPF 50 is a light-textured serum, which can be applied before or after make-up to create a broad-spectrum shield on your skin. It also provides your skin with healing and anti-oxidative ingredients. And finally, the Face Mask—its creamy, cooling formulation contains purslane, an anti-ageing powerhouse, and soothing aloe vera and chamomile, which infuse skin with moisture. It also contains kaolin clay, which detoxifies pores and leaves skin feeling silky-soft and supple.”
The products ordered on The Global Store on Nykaa App will take approximately 2-3 weeks to deliver, and the price paid upfront on the app is inclusive of all customs charges.
Dr. Barbara Sturm Sun Drops SPF 50, `13,860/30ml
Dr. Barbara Sturm Glow Drops, `13,860/30ml
Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Cream, `16,070/50ml
Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Mask, `10,530/50ml
Dr. Barbara Sturm Darker Skin Tones Hyaluronic Serum, `28,820/30ml