A Moment With Dr. Barbara Sturm

A Moment With Dr. Barbara Sturm

There’s no reason you can’t bask in the summer sun and protect that healthy, radiant skin while you’re at it. This week on Live The Process, we’re soaking in all things natural sun care.

Dr. Barbara Sturm is an innovator.

A skincare specialist with a deep background in anti-inflammatory medicine, she is perhaps best known for having pioneered what’s sometimes dubbed the “vampire facial”—the Kim Kardashian-approved procedure in which patients’ own blood is injected into their skin. The idea behind the facial is to make use of the body’s natural healing factors, which, if returned to the skin via injections, can work its magic a second time.

Committed to minimally invasive and safety-first procedures that enhance natural beauty, Sturm has continued to roll out skincare innovations. Soon after debuting her famed facial, Sturm helmed another breakthrough she named MC1, which also returns patients’ own anti-inflammatory and regenerative proteins to their skin—this time in a totally non-invasive cream form.

While developing new, cutting-edge treatments (look forward to another one this fall!), there’s one age-old anti-aging time Sturm always abides by: Protect your skin from sun damage. Which is why this summer, she released her Sun Drops, a product that can be mixed into your favorite makeup or lotion to add SPF. 

Here, Sturm talks about the new launch, how she discovered the technology behind the vampire facial, and what the next big thing in skincare will be. 

Live The Process: You released your new SPF Sun Drops just in time for summer. Can you explain what they are, what they do, and who should be using them?

Barbara Sturm: The Sun Drops are a complete re-think of what sunscreen should contain and how it should be used—and, like all of my products, can and should be used by everyone. My products are all anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and not aggressive. The Sun Drops contain panthenol, purslane (a powerhouse anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant compound), and hyaluronic acid, which work together to protect the skin from oxidative stress and other environmental aggressors. This is important because only mature and healthy cells are capable of protecting your skin from aggressors, including UV rays.

I like to add sunscreen to my regimen if I plan to spend a lot of time in the sun—for example, when I go wakeboarding, swimming, etc. That’s why I invented the Sun Drops—so I can either apply directly or mix the sunscreen with any product I choose before application. Personally, I love mixing my Sun Drops with my Hyaluronic Serum, which creates a beautiful glow with added SPF protection.

LTP: When did your passion for skincare begin? How did you decide it would become your profession? 

BS: After studying medicine and sports, I began my practice in orthopedics with a focus on cutting edge anti-inflammatory approaches. I helped pioneer a new treatment using the body’s own proteins against arthritis in collaboration with innovative scientists at Harvard University and the University of Pittsburgh. 

I was always very interested in facial aesthetics and began to inject Botox and fillers. Because of the similar properties and problems found in cartilage and skin, I was able to transfer my knowledge of anti-inflammatory, blood-based treatments in orthopedics for use on the skin. I helped lead the innovation in injecting the body’s own healing factors into the skin. 

Around the same time, I was suffering from chronically dry skin that led to blackheads and other irritations. I tried what seemed like every product on the market to heal my skin with disappointing results so I decided to come up with my own products. Using a base of clinically tested and potent anti-aging ingredients not found in other lines, I formulated a cream called MC1, containing no preservatives, no fragrances, and no mineral oils, with the addition of my body’s own anti-inflammatory and regenerative proteins.

After seeing the results firsthand, I began to treat my patients with their own custom-made MC1 cream. Word spread very quickly due to the cream’s success, and all of a sudden, I was facing a substantial demand and inquiries from people all over the world. Simultaneously, my own patients were asking me for product recommendations beyond the MC1 cream, and since I couldn’t recommend any products on the market, I decided to develop my own line. My patients fell in love with the products I created and soon we got on Net-a-Porter and more, and more people started using my line.

LTP: People don't often equate words like "facelift" with ones like "natural"—how would you respond? How are you working to create natural, non-invasive options for people who are interested in aesthetic enhancements? 

BS: My treatment approach for natural, beautiful faces involves addressing all skin layers. The skin is a complex organ with different structures and cell types, and only if all of them are healthy and well taken-care of is it possible to enhance our natural beauty. My concept foresees deep injections into the skin to reshape and rejuvenate facial structures, medium-to-deep cosmetic treatments to optimize the skin’s quality, and superficial-level facials and skincare for a healthy, glowing, and well-nurtured skin surface. 

I have a very good eye for aesthetics and can read faces in a way so that when I work on them, I am able to recreate a younger self, rather than a different person. This, to me, is a natural look because people can’t even tell there was work done. Also, the radiance of the skin very much matters for a natural, beautiful appearance. 

LTP: What in skincare do you want to tackle next? 

BS: Next, I want to tackle the problem of pollution, photo-aging, adult acne, and irritated skin typically found with teenagers. We also have the most amazing anti-aging body cream launching later this year. 

LTP: What does happiness look like to you?

BS: To me, happiness is looking into the smiling face of a kid, being surrounded by my loved ones, and being in harmony. 

LTP: What does it mean to you to "Live The Process" and how can we all do that more each day? 

BS: One’s life should always contain lots of family, lots of love, and one should always seek to follow one’s dreams with passion. It’s important to make time for yourself and your hobbies, whether it’s meditation, sports, or reading. We can all learn to set priorities in our everyday lives and say “no” in order to concentrate on the essence of what makes us happy. You unfortunately only learn this as you age, and I would say that’s the beauty of aging.

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