I don’t have the best skin. In fact, my skin has always been prone to breakouts. And it now seems to have gotten oilier with age (all that talk about skin getting drier as you get older, nope, still waiting for that to happen). But I work hard to keep my skin healthy, including taking oral antibiotics and doing regular laser treatments to help control the breakouts, refine skin texture and reduce pigmentation. But add maskne to the situation, and my skin is constantly being irritated and in need of hydration.
When I was grousing to a friend about my skin issues, she mentioned that I should give Dr Barbara Sturm products a try. The skincare range focuses on combating inflammation, which is essentially what is happening to my skin. I was intrigued because the only thing I knew about the good doctor is that she is responsible for the vampire facial that Hollywood celebrities like Kim Kardashian can’t get enough of.
I discover that Dr Sturm has used her medical knowledge through her years in sports medicine, transferring her learnings in osteoarthritis and orthopaedics to beauty and skincare, focusing on a holistic and anti-inflammatory regimen.
According to Dr Sturm, inflammation is responsible for many skin conditions, such as breakouts, redness, irritation and ageing. And to keep our skin youthful, she says that we need to reduce the inflammatory triggers – and this can be achieved through skincare products and also lifestyle changes like getting enough sleep and reducing stress.
With this in mind, I decided to give Dr Barbara Sturm’s skincare a go, and here are three of my favourite finds.
Dr Barbara Sturm Molecular Cosmetics, from $35
What it is: The formulas work at the molecular level to reduce inflammation, in order to keep skin healthy, strong and youthful. The product lineup ranges from cleansers to a variety of serums and anti-ageing creams.
Key ingredients: Contains a range of botanical actives like rich starch, tea tree oil, aloe vera and prickly pear. But its star is purslane, a plant extract that’s packed with antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acid to hydrate the skin, protect it against external aggressors and reduce the visible signs of irritation.
The products are formulated without parabens, mineral oils and other additives, and are vegan and cruelty-free. In addition, they come housed in clean, matte white jars and frosted bottles for a very minimalist vibe (which look great when neatly lined up on any bathroom shelf, by the way).
The texture: Comforting serums and creams that work best for normal to slightly drier skins, or if you work or sleep in an air-conditioned room. But what I like best are the fragrance-free formulas that don’t irritate the senses or aggravate already-sensitive skin.
Product #1: Dr Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum, $380
According to Dr Sturm, this is the “white T-shirt” of her skincare line, because it’s fundamental for your skin’s health and something everyone should have in their beauty regimen. It proved to be a lifesaver for me as it instantly soothed and quenched my freshly lasered skin, which always feels dry and slightly raw after I leave my doctor’s clinic.
Like many hyaluronic acid serums, this is slightly viscous, yet still absorbs well. And while I usually prefer using heavier textured skincare products like this one at night because I sleep in an air-conditioned room, I used this in the mornings too. In fact, the serum complements my lightweight day moisturiser, helping to hydrate and balance my skin, so it doesn’t feel dry and itchy.
Over the weeks, I found that it’s such an easy serum to use – any time my skin feels dry, feels uncomfortable or flares up, I reach for this and it does the job. If there’s one Dr Barbara Sturm product you want to try, this would be it.
Product #2: Dr Barbara Sturm Face Cream, $255
Since it’s a cream, I save this for my night routine, and it’s a good move. It has a slightly thicker texture but it’s not super thick that it would require a lot of massaging to help it absorb into the skin. It does well on my skin, especially when paired with my retinol or glycolic acid-infused serums as it prevents any dryness that might arise. It’s also packed with anti-ageing actives to protect the skin and boost collagen production, which makes it a great multi-tasking product, in my book.
But what really impressed me is how long-lasting the hydration benefits are. Hours after applying the cream, my skin still feels soft and supple.
I probably won’t use this every night, but it’ll definitely be in the rotation. I like how it calms my skin when it’s feeling irritated. And when I need to give my skin a good boost of hydration, this works perfectly with the Hyaluronic Serum.
Product #3: Dr Barbara Sturm Face Mask, $155
Another one of Dr Sturm’s favourites. In fact, she uses this mask almost daily, in the mornings, to get her skin soft and glowy. It contains aloe vera, camomile and kaolin clay so it soothes, hydrates and keeps excess shine in check. And that’s something that would work for my skin.
The soft creamy texture feels surprisingly refreshing on my skin. And when used in the mornings, it not only wakes my skin, but leaves it oh-so-soft. It also makes for good pre-makeup prep.
However, it did take me a few tries to find the best way to use this. At first, I applied a thick layer because I thought my skin would benefit from a big heap of moisture in the morning after a night in my air-conditioned room. But it proved to be a little messy to clean off. Instead, the best way I found was to apply a thin layer, that when dried can be either gently rubbed off (which also doubles as a gentle exfoliator), or rinsed off.
And while I’m generally not a fan of wash-off masks, this one now sits on my bathroom counter – for those mornings when I need a little more help with my skin.
I know that there are many people, including industry insiders, who swear by Dr Barbara Sturm’s skincare. And after trying the products myself, I can see why. There are some products I’d definitely want to keep close – the Hyaluronic Serum and Face Mask have attained permanent residency in my skincare routine.
That said, I do wish the products came at slightly more wallet-friendly prices so I can stock up on them when the bottles and jars finally run dry. But for now, I’m savouring every last drop and smear.
The good news: You don’t have to pay exorbitant shipping fees to stock up on your Dr Barbara Sturm stash. There are two pop-up stores – at #02-12E Ngee Ann City and #01-K1 Paragon – where you can discover the brand’s products. In addition to its cult must-tries, the pop-ups also offer Dr Barbara Sturm’s other skincare lines, like Anti-Aging, Clarifying, Sensitive, Men’s and even Baby & Kids, as well as a range of supplements.
Or you can also shop your faves at Sg.drsturm.com