Dr Barbara Sturm may have made her name thanks to the vampire facial – a treatment that uses your body’s own blood protein to facilitate skin regeneration – but skincare aficionados have come to love the doctor instead for her potent and no-frills skincare line.
“When I started, I only wanted a cream, and I didn’t think I needed more products,” says Sturm. She simply wanted a single cream to service customers who were already getting her blood facials. “Basically I created it with my pharmacist to not have any mineral oils, fragrances, it was a beautiful hydrating moisturiser, and I added proteins from the blood and anti-inflammatory proteins and this healed my skin… I never needed to go to facials, it was really crazy the effect it had on my skin.”
Little did she expect that demand would snowball. “My patients got hooked on this cream and asked me, what other products do you suggest? I couldn’t recommend any products because there was nothing I liked. So I started a little line for my patients,” she says. “Of course, I couldn’t put blood in my mass products, so I had to come up with a new scientific approach.”
The not-so-secret secret ingredient that powers her products today is purslane. “Purslane is a super powerful herb used in ancient times for wound healing. It’s very anti-inflammatory, which we like, and antioxidant. It keeps your cells from dying. If you have inflammation, your skin is ageing,” she says. Purslane is used throughout her line, in products ranging from the Balancing Toner to the rub-off Face Mask.
“The second key,” Sturm confides, “is hydration. Only in a hydrated form, can skin cells take in active ingredients. When [a cell is] hydrated, it has osmosis canals which can transport the ingredients, but if you have a raisin as a cell those osmosis canals are not functioning.”
That’s why hyaluronic acid is a key component in her many serums, from the Hyaluronic Serum and Ampoules to the Anti-Pollution Drops, which are much needed in city environments and for those who spend too long in front of computer and phone screens (blue light, Sturm says, is more damaging than UVA or UVB combined).
And when it comes to sun exposure, she takes a pragmatic approach; “If you keep your skin in very good, healthy shape, and strengthen your skin barrier function, then it’s okay to spend short periods in the sun. You can take a little time without protection, everyone needs a certain amount of vitamin D. But for prolonged exposure Dr Sturm insists that sun protection is essential, and recommends her SPF 50 Sun Drops to be reapplied regularly throughout the day.