Dr. Barbara Sturm Review - The Dermatology Review

Dr. Barbara Sturm Review



If you haven’t heard of Dr Barbara Sturm, there’s a very good chance you’ve heard of her signature “vampire facial.” Celebrities with glowing skin such as Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Irina Shayk and Kate Moss are all fans and beauty editors love to gush about it. But who is Dr. Sturm and what is the concept behind her product line – and what exactly is that vampire facial?

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Dr. Barbara Sturm Review

Who is Dr Barbara Sturm?

Based in Dusseldorf, Germany, Dr Sturm trained as an orthopedist specializing in joint inflammation. She helped develop a treatment dubbed the “Kobe Procedure” (named for Kobe Bryant) where proteins derived from a patient’s own blood are injected in the body to kickstart the healing process. The procedure became popular with athletes and celebrities from around the world.

In 2003 Dr Sturm applied the same concept to developing a face cream in order to treat her own skincare issues. She has said in interviews that her skin woes disappeared overnight. That cream became Dr Barbara Sturm MC1, where she used proteins from her own blood and spun it into a cream. That cream was the start of her company, officially called Dr Barbara Sturm Molecular Cosmetics, which all come with a seriously hefty price tag. Her motto is, “less is more, and of the less, use only the very best.”

Dr. Barbara Sturm Review

What does Dr Barbara Sturm Molecular Cosmetics Sell?

Dr Sturm launched with a small range of products in 2013, which included a cleanser, moisturizers, scrub and a hyaluronic serum. Today the line has expanded to include a full range of products for women, men and children.

The collection includes an Enzyme Cleanser, Glow Drops, Hyaluronic Serum, and the game changing Sun Drops SPF 50 – it’s a sunblocking serum that can be mixed in with other products. For children there’s a Bathing Milk, Body Cream, Bum Cream and Hair & Body Wash. Dr Sturm also sells a line of supplements and masks (fun fact, she worked on the mask with Cher). She collaborated with actress Angela Bassett to create a line of products formulate for darker skin tones, which includes a face cream, cleanser and serum. The products are meant to be unisex with the exception of the Face Cream Men, which contains disinfecting and calming ingredients meant for après shave.

All of the products are packaged in minimalist glass bottles that seem made for Instagram, as they have a clean, simple design.

What ingredients are in Dr Sturm Molecular Cosmetics?

The product line combines science-based skincare with botanicals, and the formulas are meant to work at the cellular level to protect and heal the skin. Two of the hero ingredients in the line are the plants purslane and skullcap. Both are packed with minerals, vitamins and nutrients and are thought to help promote healing and regeneration at the cellular level. Purslane contains high levels of omega-3 acids, as well as the antioxidant glutathione, a natural antioxidant system, and is antioxidative, wound-healing, and anti-fungal. Dr Sturm told Goop that in one trial, “Eighty-three percent of patients saw partial to complete clinical improvement from a chronic skin inflammation disease after six weeks of oral purslane supplementation.

Dr. Barbara Sturm Review

Dr Sturm has said that her products also contain five “adaptogens,” which are compounds that help the body cope with environmental, physical and mental stresses. The products are formulated without fragrances, mineral oils and phthalates. Dr Sturm believes that inflammation is one of the biggest causes of aging, so her products focus on having anti-inflammatory effects and tap into the body’s own healing ability.

Purslane and antioxidants also shows up in the line of wellness supplements. Dr. Barbara Sturm Skin Food contains kudzu root, Japanese knotweed root extract, selenium and resveratrol, which is thought to act like an antioxidant. The Dr. Barbara Sturm Repair Food capsules have purslane, pomegranate skin extract, and frankincense extract.

What are some of the most popular products from Dr Barbara Sturm Molecular Cosmetics?

Dr Sturm is arguably best known for her MC1 cream. At Sturm’s clinic in Germany, she whips up the custom MC1 cream from patient’s own blood. A patient’s blood is funneled through a vial that stimulates the blood to react as if it’s injured. These healing proteins are then used in the MC1 cream which Dr Sturm considers a “healing treatment.” The cream is meant to treat everything from hyperpigmentation to eczema to acne.

Another favorite is the Hyaluronic Ampoules, which are housed in tiny glass bottles. The concentrated product contains both long and short chain hyaluronic molecules as well as purslane, for anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.

Dr. Barbara Sturm Review

The Glow Drops and Sun Drops are popular serums. Sun drops is a new concept for sun protection. This lightweight serum provides SPF 50 protection and can be applied directly to the skin or mixed in with face cream. Glow Drops are designed to make the skin glow, by providing deep hydration, nourishment and pore refinement. The instant glow is provided by mineral pigments.

What is the vampire facial?

This is slightly confusing, as “vampire facial” has become an umbrella term to describe any kind of treatment which uses the patient’s own blood. However, Dr. Sturm’s “vampire facial” is different and she is credited with pioneering the use of blood plasma-infused skincare. Dr Sturm uses patient’s own blood in her MC1 cream and also mixes blood with hyaluronic acid for injectable treatments at her clinic- she also does a treatment that involves injecting blood back into the patient’s face.

Here’s how it works. After a small amount of blood is drawn, the cells are stimulated in a way that mimics an injury. This keeps the blood producing protein healing factors. Dr Sturm says that her method creates a concentration that is 147 times higher than what is normally found in the blood. The treated blood has strong anti-inflammatory, regenerative and healing properties.

Where are Dr Barbara Sturm’s products sold?

Dr Barbara Sturm Molecular Cosmetics is sold on her website, Net-A-Porter, SpaceNK, Violet Grey, BlueMercury and upscale department stores such as Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus.

How much do they cost?

Dr Sturm’s products are certainly pricey. Women’s face cream is $230, a lip balm is $55 and Sun Drops are $145. The Hyaluronic Ampoules are $215, while a bottle of the hyaluronic serum is $300. A custom jar of MC1 cream is about $1,400 but is only available to patients at Dr Sturm’s clinic in Germany.

Do Dr Barbara Sturm Molecular Cosmetics Work?

Always keep in mind that what works for one person may not work for someone else- or even cause breakouts or irritation. Everyone’s skin reacts differently to products. Anytime a product, or company, has achieved a nearly mythical status, someone trying it for the first time may be expecting a miraculous transformation of their skin- which will only lead to disappointment.

Dr Sturm’s products are beloved by celebrities as well as magazine editors who write about it in breathless tones and call it life changing. Her medical background is certainly impressive – she’s said in interviews that she developed her blood procedure in collaboration with scientists from Harvard and the Universities of Miami and Pittsburgh. Dr Sturm herself has said she doesn’t wear makeup on her skin, and her glowing complexion is a walking advertisement for her products.

On social media, fans who attribute their glowing skin to Dr Sturm’s products tag it #SturmGLOW. But not every user feels that way. The blogger behind Bikinis and Passports summed up the line this way, “Overall, I think the products are definitely not bad. They are nice. But far from life-changing for me personally. Especially in comparison to other products (specifically serums) that I love.” The high price tag is also off putting for many.

On Neiman Marcus, one user of her hyaluronic serum says, “I have used this serum for two years. I find it to be spectacular! I also have used Chanel and La Prairie, I know this to be a far superior product. I’m 50, this makes my skin glow” while another expresses disappointment. “Grossly overpriced, defies credulity. Works well to moisturize skin with regular use. A number of other excellent options in hyaluronic booster category that won’t gouge your wallet. Dr Sturm of Vampire facial fame, the thirst is real, eh?”

What are alternatives to Dr Barbara Sturm?

Dr Sturm’s products are some of the priciest prestige products available today, and for those with a smaller budget, there are other options to hydrate and soothe the skin. Consider Formulyst, whose philosophy is long-term and effective skincare.

Hyaluronic acid is one of the best hydrating ingredients for the skin. It keeps complexions plumped and dewy looking, and occurs naturally in the body (including eyeballs and skin)—it’s a true superhero ingredient as it can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. Formulyst Super Hyaluronic Water Moisturizer is an oil free formula packed with multiple types of hyaluronic acid and it works as a moisture magnet by drawing water to the skin.

For even more moisture, try Formulyst Intense Hydrating Serum. It’s like a tall, cool drink of water for the face. The lightweight serum sinks into the skin and is loaded with good-for-you ingredients such as antioxidants and moisture magnets like hyaluronic acid and glycerin. To improve the skin’s texture, try Formulyst Retexturing and Perfecting Serum which contains gentle but effective alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) to gently dissolve dead skin cells, leaving behind fresher, smoother looking skin.

If you like the idea of a skincare kit, consider Advanced Dermatology. The Advanced Dermatology line includes everything you need to address the signs of aging. The system can help diminish the appearance of wrinkles, reduce dark spots and hyperpigmentation. The regimen also works to minimize redness, even out skin tone and improve the appearance of eye bags and dark circles. The kit includes a cleanser, serum, anti-wrinkle treatment, moisturizer, day cream and eye cream- in other words, everything you need for glowing, beautiful, healthy skin.

There’s no need to compromise when it comes to finding skincare that is effective and safe. Carrot & Stick takes a tough love approach to skincare, perfectly balancing the power of plants with cutting edge science. Not only is Carrot & Stick good for your skin, it is also good for the environment as the formulas skip harmful chemicals as well as the preservatives, emulsifiers and thickeners commonly found in skincare products.




The philosophy of Formulyst is long-term and effective skincare, rather than covering up any imperfections. The comprehensive line of products tackles everything from wrinkles to dark spots and dry skin. While some brands rely on unnecessary fillers and scents, Formulyst focuses on ingredients that help create results, such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.Read More

Carrot & Stick

Carrot & Stick takes a tough love approach to skincare. What does this mean? It perfectly balances the power of plants with innovative science, offering the best of both worlds.Read More

Advanced Dermatology

The Advanced Dermatology skin care regimen addresses the most pressing aging concerns.Read More

Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Cream Rich Review

Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Cream Rich is a richer version of her original Face Cream, and is recommended for mature skin or complexions that need extra hydration during the winter months. It’s also suitable as a day cream for demanding or dry skin. One of the key ingredients in this face cream is Portulaca oleracea, otherwise known as purslane, an annual succulent. Purslane has strong regenerative effects on a cellular level and is rich in antioxidants, such as vitamins C, E, and beta carotene. Purslane is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, purslane contains more omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid in particular) than any other leafy vegetable plant.

There are also many different emollients in Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Cream Rich, including avocado oil, shea butter, grape seed oil, corn oil, and olive fruit oil. Emollients help the skin to feel smooth and also help to retain moisture. Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Cream Rich also features skullcap as a key ingredient. Extracts from skullcap roots have been widely used as a medicinal plant in China for thousands of years. The major bioactive compounds extracted from the root include flavonoids, terpenes, and volatile oils. These components provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial effects. Skullcap is also known to brighten the complexion and help to fade dark spots by inhibiting a key enzyme involved in melanin synthesis.


Dr Barbara Sturm Cleanser Review

First we had K-Beauty, then J-Beauty and now, G-Beauty? Though all of these countries have been cranking out amazing skincare for decades, it’s about time they got the global recognition they deserve. German skincare brands and founders like Dr. Barbara Sturm have recently become a huge trend, mainly for their science-first formulations that are so clean, their practically green beauty. Looking more closely at Dr. Barbara Sturm products as an example, products like the Dr. Barbara Sturm Cleanser were designed to become skincare staples to help ensure that your skin remains clear and receptive to the active ingredients that you layer on after cleansing. This particular formula includes soothing panthenol and aloe vera to hydrate and prep the skin, while purslane contains a plethora of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to boost the skin’s ability to protect itself against environmental aggressors. All together, this formula makes for an excellent gentle cleanser for all skin types that found fit in ideally with almost any existing skincare routine.


Dr Barbara Sturm Anti Pollution Drops Review

When it comes to skincare, we often overlook the role that environmental plays in how our skin looks, feels and ages. Unfortunately, in recent years, its become even more apparent that environmental factors play a huge role in how quickly our skin shows age. Factors such as UV rays, stress, pollution and free radicals can all slowly occumulate damage on our skin, which can result in increased fine lines and wrinkles, more apparent skin sagging and a general decrease in skin firmness. Luckily, there are simply solutions to protect our skin from these damaging envronmental agressors. Products like the Dr. Barbara Sturm Anti-Pollution Drops work to protect the skin throughout the day from the damage effects of pollution in particular. The formula behind this product is chalk full of ingredients that contain high levels of antioxidants. Antioxidants are one of our best defenses against environmental damage, because they protect against, as well as reverse, the signs of skin damage. For example, when used regularly as part of your morning routine, antioxidants helps to boost the efficacy of your sunscreen, while also warding off the damage caused by free radicals. Additionally, antioxidants also go to work within the skin to reduce the appearance of damage that has already happened, helping our skin to look more youthful and luminous over time.


Dr Barbara Sturm Glow Drops Review

Dr. Barbara Sturm Glow Drops are designed to be applied following your moisturizer, over makeup, or with your preferred skin care regimen for a lit-from-within glow. The instant glow is provided by healthy mineral pigments (iron oxide, tin oxide, and silicate mineral). These mineral pigments reflect light away from the skin in order to create the illusion of a smoother, softer, and more radiant skin tone. The long term glow comes from ingredients like purslane, bistorta root, rosa canina, and vitamin C.

Purslane is a succulent that has strong regenerative effects on a cellular level and is rich in alpha-linolenic acid, vitamins E, C, and beta carotene. These compounds are powerful antioxidants that can help to brighten your complexion and even prevent future signs of aging by reducing UV-induced damage. Bistorta root extract helps to restore natural homeostasis and integrity, resulting in visibly brighter skin with a smoother, more even surface. Rosa canina fruit extract contains a rich supply of polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as linoleic and linolenic acids. These fatty acids can improve the skin’s natural barrier function, which in turn helps to keep the skin moisturized and soft. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that protects the skin from free radicals, the unstable molecules that contribute to the formation of premature wrinkles and fine lines on the skin. Vitamin C also has the ability to improve skin firmness, brighten skin tone, and reduce the appearance of dark spots. Overall, Dr. Barbara Sturm Glow Drops provide your skin with a blend of some of the best brightening skin care ingredients to help you achieve a healthy glow.


Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum Review

Dr. Barbara Sturm is one of the most well-known estheticians in the industry, and her products have gained some of the same fame that her facials have over the years since their release. One of the most beloved products in the line is the Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum. This product was designed to deeply hydrate the skin without adding any extra weight. But what makes this product different from the other hyaluronic acid serums on the market? The key to this serum’s impressive hydrating abilities is the presence of multiple chain lengths of the active ingredient. Hyaluronic acid can come in a variety of molecular sizes or weights. How small or large a hyaluronic acid molecular is will often determine where it will impact the skin. The Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum utilizes both small and large chain hyaluronic acid molecules. The small chain lengths target the deepest layers of the skin, while the large chain lengths target the surface, giving you a more uniform, and holistic approach to hydrate, rather that addressing at the surface alone.


Dr. Barbara Sturm Clarifying Serum Review

Dr. Barbara Sturm Clarifying Serum is said to nourish, protect, and hydrate your skin, as well as reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Like many products by Dr. Barbara Sturm, this face mask features purslane as a key ingredient. Purslane has strong regenerative effects on a cellular level and is rich in antioxidants as well as omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid in particular). Another key ingredient is Albarellos ovens extracts, which calms the skin and reduces visible signs of irritation. Lastly, the Clarifying Serum contains hyaluronic acid in order to hydrate the skin and replenish moisture reservoirs.


Dr. Barbara Sturm Lifting Serum Review

Dr. Barbara Sturm Lifting Serum is claimed to visibly lift the skin instantly while reducing the appearance of visible signs of aging, which is why it is recommended to be used before an event for a noticeably lifted appearance. The ingredient in this serum that helps to instantly tighten the skin is pullulan. Pullulan is a polysaccharide polymer produced from starch by the black, yeast-like fungus Aureobasidium pullulans. After topical application, pullulan forms a soft, invisible film on the surface of skin that temporarily improves skin’s texture and provides a tightening effect. However, this effect is purely cosmetic and washes away after use. The formula also contains an extract from microalgae to plump wrinkles and support collagen and elastin.


Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Mask Review

Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Mask is a hydrating, rinse-off facial mask that is recommended to be used only two to three times per week. It is ideal for traveling, after exposure to sun, or whenever your skin needs an instant moisture boost. Like many products by Dr. Barbara Sturm, this face mask features purslane as a key ingredient. Purslane has strong regenerative effects on a cellular level and is rich in antioxidants as well as omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid in particular). This face mask also includes kaolin, a type of natural clay that helps to absorb excess oil and draw impurities out of pores.


Dr. Barbara Sturm Enzyme Cleanser Review

Dr. Barbara Sturm Enzyme Cleanser is a 2-in-one cleansing foam and exfoliator that deeply but gently cleanses the skin. This cleanser is recommended to be used only twice per week, and is said to be ideal for oily and combination skin. The enzymes in this cleanser include subtilisin (a protein-digesting enzyme) and lipase (a fat-digesting enzyme). When used in skin care, enzymes are known to promote exfoliation, and can be gentler than other methods like scrubs and microdermabrasion. The enzymes in this cleanser work together to remove dry and dead skin, makeup, pollution and other impurities from pores.


Dr. Barbara Sturm Brightening Serum Review

Dr. Barbara Sturm Brightening Serum is said to instantly give the complexion a more even glow while simultaneously reducing visible signs of pigmentation. One of the key ingredients in this serum is an extract of cress sprouts, which helps brighten the skin and diminish the appearance of dark and yellowish spots. Ginseng extract supports the skin’s protection against free radicals and environmental stress, while hyaluronic acid hydrates the skin and replenishes moisture reservoirs. A final key ingredient in the Brightening Serum is allantoin, a multifunctional ingredient that can help soothe and moisturize the skin while promoting cell proliferation and longevity.


Dr. Barbara Sturm Calming Serum Review

If you have irritated, red skin, you may want to consider adding Dr. Barbara Sturm Calming Serum to your skin care routine. This serum is said to help soothe your complexion after sun exposure, sleep loss, jet lag, air conditioning, or environmental pollution. With continued use, this serum should help to strengthen the skin’s natural defenses and therefore minimize the skin’s sensitized reaction. One of the key ingredients in this eye cream is the botanical extract purslane. Purslane has strong regenerative effects on a cellular level and is rich in antioxidants as well as omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid in particular). The serum also contains an active, plant-based complex of cardiospermum, echium, and sunflower.


Dr. Barbara Sturm Eye Cream Review

Dr. Barbara Sturm Eye Cream is formulated to target the dark shadows, bags, and puffiness around the delicate eye area. One of the key ingredients in this eye cream is the botanical extract purslane. Purslane has strong regenerative effects on a cellular level, and is rich in antioxidants as well as omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid in particular). Dr. Barbara Sturm Eye Cream also contains a high concentration of macadamia seed oil, a lightweight oil that is well absorbed by the skin without feeling greasy. The high content of fatty acids found in macadamia seed oil enables this ingredient to nourish and hydrate the skin by replenishing the skin’s barrier. Lastly, this eye cream contains a complex of golden root, sugar beet, and yeast to provide a soothing ‘de-puffing’ effect.


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