Dr. Barbara Sturm $70
Meet the former orthopedic surgeon who is healing inflamed skin one blood draw at a time.
Written By JAYME CYK
In a new series, VIOLET GREY profiles female beauty entrepreneurs who are considered industry game changers for their individual approach to business. Each one entered the conversation in her own manner and maintained a steady, if not unparalleled, trajectory with her indomitable spirit. Here, we talk to Dr. Barbara Sturm, an expert in aesthetics and founder of her eponymous makeup and skincare collection.
Dr. Barbara Sturm is no ordinary doctor, and she likes it that way. “I wanted to do something different [in my career],” says the stylish German-born-and-bred orthopedist. “I always wanted to be a pioneer or a scientist, so I took my knowledge of orthopedics and put it into skin.
She is renowned for her MC1 Cream, otherwise known as the incredibly healing blood cream. The potion is derived from natural proteins she extracts from her patient’s own blood. She then blends the proteins into a base moisturizer. The result? Each client gets a custom-formulated cream. Everyone who has tried it swears by it. Hollywood beauties such as Angela Bassett, Cher, and Hailey Baldwin, among others, are just a few of Sturm’s clients who have fallen hard for the formula.
Sturm, who began in pediatric medicine and then transitioned into sports medicine and orthopedics, helped to develop a procedure called Orthokine with a team of researchers in 2000. Also known as the Kobe Procedure, named for the famed former Lakers basketball player Kobe Bryant (who needed it for his weak knees), the surgery involves using the patient’s own blood cells to produce proteins that help to reduce inflammation and stimulate the healing process.
Sturm knew she was on to something. She realized the procedure might also be helpful in healing skin. She spent several years working with pharmacists on this idea, and in the interim she moved away from orthopedics and into aesthetics and cosmetic medicine. When a doctor friend said she was going to learn about injecting lips, Sturm jumped on the opportunity to tag along. She enjoyed the artistic nature of injecting wrinkles and lips with hyaluronic acid, but decided the treatment wasn’t right for her. She wanted to do something that worked on a cellular level.
Around this time, Sturm was having issues with her own complexion, and she couldn’t find anything on the market she felt was worth using. She applied to her skin the concoction that she and her pharmacist had been working on—which used her own blood protein—and lo and behold, it completely healed her dry skin. And more than that, her face glowed.
She launched MC1 skin cream in 2003, and word spread quickly. Her clients, who span the globe, clamored for their bespoke creams. (Addicts always want more.) They wanted to know what else they could use to retain their perfect complexions. “My patients kept asking me, ‘What’s the regimen? What cleanser should I use?’” she says. “That’s when I knew I had to come up with my own products.”
In 2012, Dr. Barbara Sturm debuted her eponymous, nontoxic skincare line rooted in scientific methodology. “My whole approach is targeting inflamed skin and keeping the cells alive,” she explains. The line now consists of 18 products, including her topical Hyaluronic Acid Serum, the innovative SPF 50 Sun Drops, a Calming Serum that treats redness in seconds, and full skincare assortment that targets darker skin tones. “One part of my mission is to be different,” adds Sturm. And that’s exactly what she has done.
What is the atmosphere of your bedroom?
My bedroom is my favorite room. I go there to calm down after work. There’s an amazing view of the Rheine.
Please describe your bed and your favorite thing about it.
Waking up with my baby right next to me.
What time do you wake up?
How many hours of sleep do you require?
Ten hours of sleep would be ideal, but that’s impossible because of my workload.
Any bedside beauty essentials?
Usually I use a lip balm and my Calming Serum for the legs.
Do you drink coffee or tea, eat breakfast?
Every morning I have a soy latte and bircher müesli.
Do you work out in the a.m.?
I love to work out in the morning, but rarely I have the time for it.
What is your morning skincare regimen?
After taking a shower I use my Hyaluronic Serum and MC1 Blood Cream.
What makeup and products do you use on a daily basis?
Besides my Hyaluronic Serum and MC1 Blood Cream, I use my Facial Scrub if I feel like exfoliation and my Face Mask, but sometimes I am too lazy.
What’s your hair situation in the a.m.?
I like to air-dry my hair or do a quick blow-dry. I like the bedhead look.
What’s the first thing you read each morning?
I check to see if my older daughter, Charly, has messaged me. After that I read my emails.
What business do you conduct before 10:00 a.m.?
I reply to emails that have come in during the night.
What time do you head to your office?