Those who are following me on my social accounts might have seen that I have been invited to Munich a few weeks ago to attend a lovely evening with Dr. Barbara Sturm and her Family, NET-A-PORTER Team and Karla Otto. The reason was a lovely evening at her apartment in Munich, the NET-A-PORTER x Dr. Barbara Sturm Event. I had the opportunity to get to know Dr. Barbara Sturm as a very warm personality and inspiring woman and got a little insight into the story behind her work. I would love to share my experience and opinion about her products. It took some time to write this review, because in the meanwhile I was experiencing her skincare products and wanted to make sure that I can make the best out of my recommendation.
What I have to say is that I am absolutely satisfied by the skincare line, especially the Dr. Barbara Sturm Calming Serum and my customized MC/1 Cream conquered my heart in storm. I am unsure how you feel about several skincare products, but I always had the problem that any of all creams I ever used crumbled immediately after application. The skin defends itself against aggressive substances. That’s why. I tried beauty lines from A to Z and was never really satisfied, my cheeks also tend to redness and a slight gloss but by using Dr. Barbara Sturm the irritation and the redness disappeared. I finally have a skincare which totally fits and benefits my skin. To create my customized MC/1 Cream Dr. Barbara Sturm had to take a blood sample. I usually hate injections, but she was so super careful and I haven’t noticed any pain at all.
The specific treatment of the blood helps to slow down the inflammatory process of wrinkles. The genetic material of human skin cells is protected by the Care Cocktail, strengthened and supported in the regeneration. The cream initially feels very rich, but draws upon application immediately and leaves a healthy and soft skin. I noticed that through applying the MC/1 Cream my skin appears clearer, pores are refined and the cream leaves a nice glow. Three in one. And the best anti-aging protection you can offer to your skin. I am constantly using the products which are here in this post and I am convinced since I have got the range of Dr. Barbara Sturm products. What I love about her line is that they don’t smell at all and are thus an especially well-tolerated care products for all skin types. Plus they are made in Germany. The Calming Serum is always with me after sun bathing, it immediately calmes my skin. I really love love love having these products and even they are not the cheapest, they are absolutely worth it. For me personally there is nothing more beautiful than great skin. I am super thankful that I know these products now, there is nothing else that I want to use anymore.
The Science behind Dr. Barbara Sturm Skin of Color Line
„The aging, premature or otherwise, of human skin is caused by multiple factors. Genetics play a major role. But so does oxidization, physical and mental stress, and environmental factors like pollution, sun exposure, smoking, alcohol consumption and cosmetic irritants. In the course of life, all these stresses lead among other things to diminished stores of Glutathione (the major antioxidant produced by our cells), decreased collagen production, and shortening of chromosomal caps called Telomeres that lead to cell dysfunction and death. These external and internal stresses also cause inflammation, and inflammation is is a central cause of skin aging, disease and other challenges. Inflammation is often thought of as an infection of a wound, but actually it is the body’s response mechanism to bodily irritation or trauma.
Inflammation is a necessary part of healing and rejuvenation, but it can also wreak tremendous destruction on our bodies generally, and on the appearance of our skin specifically. Dermatologically, skin of color (Fitzpatrick skin types V-VI) presents a paradox. Skin of color’s additional melanin provides significant protection against both photo-aging and skin cancer. The dermal archtitecture and barrier function of skin of color are robust. Skin of color is also comparatively more elastic. Yet skin of color has a heightened susceptibility to inflammation.
This commonly leads to consequence of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Acne is a disease state that triggers skin of color’s sensitivity to inflammation. Acne is the most common condition for which all patients, across all genders, and across all skin types including skin of color, seek dermatological care. The multifactorial causes of acne are the same or similar in Caucasian and skin of color patients. Clinically, acne lesions can appear the same across skin type. However, histologically, acne lesions in skin of color are particularly characterized by intense inflammation, which is not only limited to the visible manifestation of acne, called comedones.
In skin of color, heightened inflammatory response to acne and other irritants causes post-inflammatory hyper pigmentation and keloidal or hypertrophic scarring. In one study2 of many that illustrates the prevalence of heightened inflammation in skin of color, a large study group of African American women with acne exhibited no clinical signs of inflammation. Yet histology from biopsy specimens showed that all of the study patients exhibited severe inflammation in all types of acne lesions, in surroundings papules and pustules, and even in inflamed tissue far away from the acne lesion. Skin of color has a ‚heightened consequences in skin of color can lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation in even mild to moderate acne outbreaks. In a study of patients acne, acne hyper-pigmented macules were found in 65.3 percent of African-Americans and in 52.7 percent of Hispanic patients.
Epidemiological studies show that the most common reason skin of color patients present to a dermatologist is acne. The second most common reason for a dermatologist visit for African Americans and the third most common reason for Hispanic 7 patients is to treat post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or other pigmentation disorders.8 According to a study by Dr. Susan Taylor, 86% of women of Latino and African descent are concerned about skin discoloration.9 Acne is similarly the top ranked cause of Caucasian patient visits to the dermatologist; however, pigmentation disorders are not within the top 10 reasons for Caucasian dermatologist visits.10 So the dermatological issues of skin of color do not overlap precisely with those of Caucasian skin. Dermatological treatment of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is accomplished by dual treatment of both acne and the inflammatory condition.
My entire medical career has been focused on the fight against inflammation and its effects on the human body. I worked to pioneer blood plasma based treatments to reduce inflammation in joints, and later translated that anti-inflammation work into aesthetics. In 2008, I invented what is sometimes referred to as the “vampire facial,” which in my German clinics involve the reinjection of treated and hyper-protective and anti-inflammatory blood plasma. I created a personalized skin cream called “MC1” containing each patient’s own conditioned plasma; MC1 has become a cult product in Hollywood and worldwide.
I also created a simple, powerfully effective, and fundamentally anti-inflammatory skin care line that I could use on my own face and give to my patients. What began as a small line grew worldwide.
My patients come from all over the world, and I have treated patients with skin color that ranges the entire Fitzpatrick scale. In 2014, my friend the talented actress and director Angela Bassett and I began a conversation about beauty, anti-aging, and skin care. We realized we shared the same ethos about ingredients and approach. That conversation led to a shocking realization that amazed us both. Although skin of color is uniquely sensitive and prone to inflammation and pigmentation disorders, and although skin of color consumers represent a huge market worldwide, no company had ever created a luxury skin care regimen tailored to address the specific needs of skin of color.
So Angela and I set out to create the first. We set up a 50/50 joint venture, equally owned by the two of us. My existing skin care line was built around anti-inflammation, anti-oxidation, cellular nourishment and rejuvenation, so we began reformulating this excellent base. Then we added a powerful set of anti-inflammatory natural compounds, delivery agents and anti-oxidants, as well as compounds that would even skin tone and deal with acne and the hyperpigmentation that it created. The result was what Angela and I believe are truly beautiful and effective products for skin of color – two cleansers, one hyaluronic serum, and two face creams: one regular and one a richer formulation for night use or drier skin.
In choosing ingredients, we first surveyed the landscape of general skin care options. We were dismayed to find even the super luxury category was characterized by any and all of:
- the use of aggressive-to-the-skin ingredients like mineral oil, artificial fragrances, phthalates, and parabens;
- absurd claims of miracle benefits from disparate elements such as foreign sea water, obscure plants on mountain tops, silicate minerals like tourmaline or malachite, stones like diamonds and metals like platinum and gold – all lacking any observed medicinal properties (indeed, gold was named the “allergen of the year” by the American Contact Dermatitis Society); elements such as foreign sea water, obscure plants on mountain tops, silicate minerals like tourmaline or malachite, stones like diamonds and metals like platinum and gold – all lacking any observed medicinal properties (indeed, gold was named the “allergen of the year” by the American Contact Dermatitis Society);
use of animal and other non human stem cells such as those from apples or fish that would have no beneficial effect on humans; use of supposed “growth factors” of unknown origin; and
the absence of medical or clinical study of ingredients to support product claims.
Then Ipremise was simple: less is more. We wanted fewer ingredients, as little preservative as possible to maintain stability, and no harmful ingredients whatsoever (that could irritate skin that is already prone to inflammation). And above all, we sought to deploy powerful natural ingredients that had been shown in clinical trials to have potent anti- inflammatory, antioxidant, skin tone evening and wound healing properties and could help skin both visually and at the cellular level.
Some of the key ingredients we deployed are:
Honokiol/Magnolol. Chinese plant-based medicines have been and still are widely used as remedies for skin and other disorders. In recent years, a variety of biologically active constituents have been isolated from these sources and confirmed to have multifunctional activity in clinical studies. Honokiol is a small-molecule polyphenol isolated from Magnolia bark. It is accompanied by other related polyphenols, including magnolol, with which it shares certain properties. Recently, honokiol and magnolol have been found to have anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory,12 anti-microbial, and anti-acne (including specifically against the bacteria, Propionibacterium Acnes, that is factor in the development of acne)13 properties.14
Enantia Chlorantha – Enantia Chlorantha, a compound derived from the African Whitewood tree, has been shown to ameliorate acne and refine pore size by inhibiting the hyperactivity of sebaceous glands. This eliminates the food source for bacteria, and also helps to control oily shine. Enantia Chlorantha regulates sebum by inhibiting the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, which modulates sebum production. Enantia Chlorantha also has been shown in clinical studies to minimize the bacteria that contribute to acne and is generally proven as an antibacterial15and as an anti- oxidant.
Purslane – Portulaca oleracea (Purslane) is a potent plant-based compound with overwhelming anti-inflammatory and other healing properties that appears in no other skin care line. The herb grows ubiquitously in mild climates, and it has been used as a medicine and superfood worldwide for 2,000 years. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, used Purslane as a wound salve and as an anti-inflammatory medicine. The ancient Romans and the Native Americans used it for internal medicine, skin disorders and snakebites; British soldiers in the 17th Century used it as a poultice for gunpowder skin burns. Records of Purslane’s use are found in ancient Egyptian texts dating to the Pharaohs, and at Mexican ruins. It grows wild even in the deserts of the Middle East, where it has been used medicinally for 2 millennia. Africans have used it as an effective anti-burn and wound healing medicine.
More recently, Purslane has been studied for its chemical and nutritive properties in dozens of clinical trials by academics in the US, United Kingdom, Middle East, and China. These studies showed Purslane to be one of the richest sources on earth of Omega-3 fatty acids, a-linolenic acid and antioxidants, including tocopherol (also known as Vitamin E), ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), beta carotene, certain polysaccharides and glutathione. 17 Purslane contains 7 times more Vitamin A than spinach and 6 times more beta-carotene than a carrot.
Medically and in clinical trials, Purslane was found to have dramatic anti-inflammatory properties; anti-oxidative properties; wound healing properties (accelerating the healing of damaged skin) ; astringent properties ; analgesic and calming properties22; and as a muscle relaxant.
Purslane has one additional and remarkable property. It mediates and up-regulates the youth enzyme Telomerase which stops the length of the Telomere cap at the end of our DNA from shortening.24The shortening of our telomeres leads to cellular dysfunction and ultimately cell death. Most cells in the body contain 23 pairs of chromosomes, which carry our DNA. At the ends of each chromosome is a protective cap, called a Telomere. Each time a cell divides, the Telomeres are snipped shorter, until eventually they stop working and the cell dies or goes into a suspended state called „senescence.“ The process is behind much of the wear and tear associated with aging, a discovery that led to the 2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine.
I built both my general skin care line and my line with Angela for skin of color around the central ingredient Purslane, which is considered a local, “native” plant in places as disparate as Africa, the US, China, the Caribbean, the Middle East, South America, Europe and Russia. It is well tolerated and well absorbed topically through the dermis, and arguably confers more anti-aging benefit than any other compound, natural or synthetic.25 And it thoroughly nourishes the skin.
In addition to Purslane, we use other important active ingredients in our skin of color line that have a high anti-aging effect and at the same time are very gentle to even the most sensitive skin, therefore suitable for all skin types. Hydrolyzed Algae Extract, an excellent humectant, when mixed with sea salt is a high performing natural ingredient that refines, evens and provides greater luminosity to skin tone.
Some other important ingredients include Vitamin E and Vitamin C (both strong free radical captors that strengthen the skin’s antioxidant system; combining them is essential and symbiotic since they are able to regenerate each other), Panthenol and Allantoin (sun damage repair and wound healing, moisturizing, accelerates rebuilding of destroyed epidermis and reduces reddening and burning of the skin), high quality oils such as Macadamia Seed Oil, Shea Butter, (intensely skin moisturizing and healing), Squalane, derived from the olive (moisturizing and repairs the natural skin barrier), the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative Oleanolic Acid26 and the anti-oxidant Grape Seed Extract.
Hyaluronic Acid – The skin of color line would not be complete without a superb hyaluronic serum. Our serum contains an intensive concentrated active complex of short-chained and long-chained pure hyaluronic acid. This serum is further infused with Purslane. Hyaluronic acid is an intensely moisturizing substance that naturally occurs in human tissues, but diminishes with age. Hyaluronic Acid can bind more than 1000 times its own weight in water which makes it the world’s most intensive hydrator of the skin. Hyaluronic acid also can stimulate the growth of collagen, assist in wound healing and repair sun damaged skin.27
The concentration is carefully chosen and dose optimized, as the serum cannot be absorbed beyond certain concentration levels. The formulation in the serum is as high as necessary for optimal nourishment and distribution of the active substance into the dermis.
There are two types of hyaluronic acid molecules, long-chained and short-chained. Short-chained hyaluronic acid with low molecular weight can penetrate the surface of the skin into the deeper layers, and will be used by our skin to rebuild long-chained molecules from them and integrate them in our skin (this may take up to 30 days). Consequently, this type of hyaluronic acid is so important for long-term, lasting results. In contrast, long-chained hyaluronic molecules with high molecular weight remain on the surface of the skin where they improve the skin by retaining water and protect against acute dryness. Accordingly, our serum provides both instant- and long- term benefits, plumping the surface skin and smoothing superficial lines on the epidermis while rebuilding the body’s reservoir of hyaluronic acid and moisture levels in the deeper skin layers.
The pure and potent ingredients in our new skin care line tailored to the specific needs of skin of color allow a skin care regimen that is as uncomplicated as it is effective.“ – Dr. Barbara Sturm