Dr. Barbara Sturm & The Blood Facial
In honor of Halloween and all of its witchy, woo-y magic, allow us to introduce you to dermatologist and pioneer of the ~*blood*~ facial, Dr. Barbara Sturm: leader in molecular cosmetics. We were bewitched by Dr. Sturm's revolutionary approach to healing and rejuvenating skin: using a vial of your own blood as the secret ingredient for ultimate glow. With a skincare line adored by the likes of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Angela Bassett, and her passion for creating nontoxic products that use the body's own healing capabilities, she's created an addictive potion that WORKS.
Could you tell us about your journey, how you developed your skincare brand and became a celebrity-skin mainstay?
I studied medicine and sports and began my career working as an orthopedic surgeon. I came together with a group of scientists and doctors who I helped pioneer a treatment against osteoarthritis using the body’s own proteins to help fight against inflammation in the joints; the main reason for skin-aging. The proteins are drawn using a special syringe which promotes the production of healing factors and anti-inflammatory proteins. This process leads to 147% higher concentration than what is normally circulating in our blood; and imagine how fast your body heals itself if you simply cut your finger.
At the same time, I was looking for the right cream for myself and couldn't find anything on the market. I wanted to find a cream that would hydrate, nourish and heal my skin so I wouldn't have to go and see a facialist every three weeks. As cartilage and skin cells are from the same tissue family, I got the idea to put my own healing factors in a cream I mixed with a pharmacist that doesn’t contain any mineral oils, parabens, fragrances, or other harmful ingredients. This cream is now very well-known as the MC1 blood cream.
Simultaneously, I started to learn how to inject wrinkles with hyaluronic acid and Botox. Transferring the knowledge from the orthopedic field to skincare, I was one of the first people who combined patients’ blood with hyaluronic acid to inject into the skin. This is partly known today as the Vampire Facial. I’ve conducted a number of case studies that show that when combining the patients’ body own healing factors with hyaluronic filler, you’ll see better, longer-lasting results.
In addition to the MC1 Cream, this treatment inspired me to open my own clinic for molecular cosmetics and aesthetic injections. All of my patients loved the cream. They kept asking me about my regimen and what other products they should use. I couldn't recommend anything on the market so I decided to come up with my own products. Besides leaving out all toxic or irritating ingredients that are often found in skincare products, I was looking for a hero ingredient that would have a very similar effect on the skin as the body own proteins that are used for the MC1 cream. After a lot of research and consultations with professors from Pittsburgh and Harvard, I found Purslane. Not only does it have strong anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidative properties, it activates the "Fountain of Youth" enzyme, Telomerase, in the skin cells, protecting them from damage or death.
Can you explain the science + potency behind blood's anti-inflammatory qualities, and the infusion of short and long-chain hyaluronic acid to the cream?
The short-chained hyaluronic acid is able to penetrate the skin and absorb into its deepest layers where it refills the skins’ own moisture depots. This leads to an immediate and long-term effect which plumps the skin and makes small, fine wrinkles disappear. The long-chained molecules stay on top skin and give it an immediate boost.
What are your three ultimate tips for having vibrant, nourished skin? You speak about having "alive" cells -- what does that mean?
My three ultimate tips are hydration, anti-inflammation and telomerase activation. As inflammation is known to be a key factor to the aging process, it is important to let the body rest enough to be able to fully heal itself to the maximum extent. It is also important not to "fuel" the inflammatory processes in our body by straining it with stress, toxic ingredients in skincare, poor diet, etc. "Alive" cells mean that we follow a healing approach. We pamper the cells and take away inflammation so they can stay healthy and continue functioning. Many treatments and skincare products are based on rejuvenation through destruction i.e through retinol. We rejuvenate the cells with strong anti-oxidants such as Purslane, Skullcap and Vitamin E.
How do we make sure we have healthy blood to begin with?
A healthy lifestyle with enough sleep, no toxic ingredients, a balanced diet, no alcohol, no smoking and no drugs will keep the body and blood healthy.
Where do you see the future of skincare going in the next 10 years?
At the moment I’m working on two things; one using a highly anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic compound which even goes into the cell’s core; we are working on a patent here. The second is a concept using stem cells.
When you think of your legacy, what does that mean to you?
It means a lot to me that everyone can have great skin and that they can access products which work to heal and rejuvenate your skin.