Dr. Barbara Sturm is one of Hollywood’s most sought-after skin specialists who’s responsible for the complexions of everyone from “the old stars like Barbara Streisand to all the new Hailey Baldwins of the world.” If you haven’t yet tried her namesake skincare line, you’ve probably been raved to about it by a friend, read about it in an editor’s pick, or witnessed it appear in various celebrity Beauty Secrets videos. “Honestly, I’ve never paid or asked anyone to say anything about my products,” Dr. Sturm promises. “People say it when they want to say it and then they’ll really believe in it.”
There’s an undeniable cult following surrounding Dr. Sturm’s Molecular Cosmetics line. But behind the glossy A-list clientele is a serious scientific skincare range based on over two decades of clinical medical experience and research. Sturm’s explanation is a “three-pronged approach of anti-inflammation, hydration/nutrition, and telomerase activation.”
Dr. Sturm began her career as an orthopedic surgeon who helped pioneer a medical treatment known as the “Kobe Procedure” (for treating Kobe Bryant), which uses the body’s own anti-inflammatory proteins found in the blood to produce healing factors for joints. Dr. Sturm brought the same anti-inflammatory protein method into aesthetic medicine to create the famous Vampire Facial (of viral fame after Kim Kardashian posted a photo of it in 2013) and the bespoke MC1 Cream, commonly known as the “Blood Cream.”
From the “Kobe Procedure” to the Blood Cream, Dr. Sturm seemed to have found the “fountain of youth” secret ingredient: anti-Interleukin-1 (IL-1), which is derived from your white blood cells and combined with platelet-derived growth factors. These two active elements “trigger cascades into your skin, which is what we think is the start of promotion of collagen growth, fibroblasts activities, and taking inflammation out in all cell layers,” Dr. Strum explains. “Anti-Interleukin-1 is the most important anti-inflammatory self-made protein.”
“I’m just so obsessed with it. It started out as a trial and it really healed my skin and it healed the skin of so many people. I took the blood of kids when they had neurodermatitis and it helped them.” Her patients loved the Blood Cream so much that they requested an entire regiment. “They were asking me what they should use for a cleanser and I couldn’t recommend anything. I remember the day when I got asked that question, I was standing at my counter and I was like ‘should I send them over across the street to the drugstore and tell them what to buy? What should I tell them?’ And I thought ‘I have to make some products for these people.’ So I made a cleanser and two creams which you don’t have to take your blood for, and then I did a facial scrub and the Hyaluronic Serum.”
It was in these earlier stages that Sturm found the ingredient purslane. “Purslane is such a powerful herb rich in vitamin C and E, beta keratin, omega 3 fatty acids. It’s antioxidative and telomerase activating, which for me is super cutting edge because it keeps the cells from dying. We use purslane in every single product. It’s our superfood.”
Dr. Sturm was also one of the first to create a hyaluronic acid serum for the market. “A long time ago,” she adds. “It’s important to hydrate your skin because your skin barrier function cannot work if your skin is not hydrated. Cells need to be absolutely hydrated and juicy in order to take on active ingredients.” Hyaluronic acid has the ability to bind 1,000 times its weight in water but often has molecules too large to penetrate into deeper cell layers, which is why Dr. Sturm’s Hyaluronic Acid drops feature both long-chain molecules (which provides immediate hydration) and short-chain molecules (that penetrate deeper for long-term hydration) to reach different cell layers of collagen and elastin.
In today’s climate, Dr. Sturm stresses the critical importance of anti-pollution skincare for protecting your skin barrier function. “It’s crucial to build a shield on top of your skin so that pollutants and HEV light from your phones can’t penetrate your skin and cause inflammation, hyperpigmentation and premature aging. HEV penetrates deeper and more aggressive than UVA and UVB combined. So if you think you need sunscreen, anti-pollution is way more important than sunscreen.”
“I see the results and I’m very close to my patients,” Sturm explains. “There’s an exchange of feedback all the time. More than anything, I feel like I was a person in need for my own skin and then my patients asked me to do more, so I did it for my patients. Then for my family, for my kids, and it works.”
Dr. Barbara Sturm is available at all JOYCE Beauty stores.