Meet Dr. Barbara Sturm,  the skincare doctor and brand that pioneered the infamous blood cream

Meet Dr. Barbara Sturm, the skincare doctor and brand that pioneered the infamous blood cream

I can't feel my face

Text: Renée Batchelor

Known for the brand's MC1 — or Blood Cream — Dr. Barbara Sturm has other products as well that promise healthy, balanced skin (minus any gimmicks)

Dr Barbara Sturm is a German skin doctor who shot to fame with her blood cream. It doesn't come cheap at around US$1,400 a jar. What's inside? Well your blood for starters. After it's drawn from you, each client's blood is filtered and added to this magic brew. The science behind it? Apparently it harnesses your blood's natural ability to heal the skin, resulting in a super-powered cream that works on signs of ageing on your face and is 'customised' to your complexion. For obvious reasons, you can't get this cream off the shelves though. In fact you'll have to fly all the way to Düsseldorf, Germany to her clinic — the only outlet of its kind  — for a personal appointment with Dr Sturm. However, if you want to try her other off-the-shelf skincare, Net-A-Porter has begun to carry her range.
Dr Barbara Sturm Molecular Skincare Discover Set, US$148

We tried a facial using Dr Sturm's products and were impressed with the clean, streamlined collection. Unlike other brands that do multiple ranges — Dr Barbara Sturm only has one main line that is meant to deal with multiple issues at once. In a press release she said, "[When] I surveyed the landscape of skincare options, I was dismayed to find even the super luxury category was characterised by any and all of the following: the use of aggressive-to-the-skin ingredients like mineral oils and other petroleum based products, alcohol, artificial fragrances, sodium lauryl sulfates, phthalates, and parabens." Dr Sturm was also shocked to find multiple, absurd claims from brands, stating that everything from obscure plants to metals like platinum and gold to even supposed 'growth factors' of unknown origin were said to benefit the skin — without any clinical data to back these claims.

She then began to formulate her own line of products for her clients, uncomfortable at the prospect of prescribing anything other than her skincare. She said, "I began to formulate my own line. My premise was simple: less is more. I wanted fewer ingredients, as little preservatives as possible to maintain stability, and no harmful ingredients whatsoever. And above all, I sought to deploy powerful natural ingredients that had been shown in clinical trials to have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and could help skin both visually and at the cellular level."

The range is surprisingly quite affordable, given the lofty price tag of the MC1 cream. A cleanser starts at US$46, while the most pricey product is the anti-ageing serum that rings in at US$324 for a 30ml bottle. There are also innovative products that will do well in our climate such as the Sun Drops, a serum with SPF50 that can be mixed in with your face cream. If you would like to sample her products to see if they agree with you, a starter kit is also available. And while the MC1 cream may be out of reach, the line does have to two face creams — in a normal and a rich formula — that will nourish the skin, but, quite happily, not break the bank.

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