OPtimal Health — Dr. Barbara Sturm on Building Good Skin Habits

The German expert dishes out her top tips for an easy and effective routine.

Photo: Dr. Barbara Sturm

For Dr. Barbara Sturm, good skin habits are in her genes. “My mom was a chemist and my grandmother was a pharmacist. [They] loved milk baths and dry brushing and would always mix creams for us as children,” shares Dr. Sturm. It was those early days foraging for medicinal herbs and roots as a child that would lead Sturm to study medicine, sports, and anti-inflammatory molecular orthopedics, providing the foundation for her to launch her eponymous clinic and skincare line. “In the early 2000s, I translated the science from orthopedics into the skin, creating the first patient blood plasma facial in 2002.” And while Dr. Sturm might be best known for her ‘vampire facial,’ that would be harnessing blood’s ability to heal the body, and for perfecting the visages of runway regulars including Hailey Bieber and Bella Hadid, for her, skincare starts with good habits and we asked her to break down her top tips to get your skin ready for the upcoming winter chill.

Photo: Dr. Barbara Sturm

“I always eat breakfast, for energy and to correct the blood sugar levels [and] have my own recipe for Bircher Muesli that I make the night before with my girls.” Full of nutrients like fiber, plant-based proteins, and vitamin B, Sturm’s recipe works best in tandem with her supplements to boost immunity, digestion, and skin health. To give her face a kickstart, Sturm uses her facial scrub or enzyme cleanser two days a week, using her foam cleanser on the other days. “After that, I apply my hydrating Face Mask while I'm responding to morning emails and peel it off 20 minutes later.” She also advises regular exfoliation—“as we age, skin naturally slows down its cell turnover [and] regular exfoliation helps smooth uneven skin texture, unblock, shrink and tighten pores, fade acne scarring and brighten the overall appearance of the skin.” Other home remedies include lymphatic drainage which wakes the skin up through gentle massage techniques. “Apply a serum all over your face and neck, then, beginning just above the collarbone, gently massage the skin using your fingertips in downward, circular motions for about a minute.”

While Dr. Sturm doesn’t snack during the day, she does advise keeping one’s energy and nutrients up with a delicious alternative, a smoothie. “One of my favorites is a Purslane-based smoothie both because it is a nutrient-packed powerhouse of a superfood, but also because of its clinically proven anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties,” she shares. “You can blend fresh Purslane with apple, orange and crushed ice.” Other afternoon pick-me-ups include Sturm’s Glow Drops which she uses as, “a great makeup alternative for a radiant complexion during the day and for all of our FaceTime calls or Zoom meetings.” Marrying botanical extracts, which are good for skin tone, with Wild Rose extract, that refines the pores, (one of) Sturm’s signature potions also utilizes hyaluronic acid for hydration and moisture to the skin that goes beyond the surface. “[It] instantly creates a visible, youthful radiance and evens out any irregularities in the complexion.” Another top tip from Sturm? “You can use it after your moisturizer for a lit-from-within glow [including] over makeup.”

Photo: Dr. Barbara Sturm

Once the sun sets, Sturm says no to caffeine, soda, alcohol, cheese, chocolate, sugar, and acidic foods to achieve optimal balance. She suggests an antioxidant green tea, eating light, and digital detoxing before hitting the sack. “Getting a good night's sleep is much simpler than people make it,” says Sturm. “[It’s] a non-negotiable part of my beauty regime. Hormone levels and other changes that occur while we sleep make this a critical period for cellular rejuvenation and related processes.” The perfect complement to lots of bedtime are Sturm’s Night Serum and Sleep Food supplements. “It’s a blend of natural active ingredients that relax the body and mind and helps me fall asleep sooner and deeper. ”Ensuring she wakes up looking refreshed—even after stressful days—is where her proprietary formula for the serum comes in. “Just before bed I’ll cleanse my skin and apply my Serum,” says Sturm. “It works throughout the night to replenish moisture reservoirs at multiple skin layers, provides astringent, toning, and calming properties, and boosts [skin’s] renewal processes.”

Take comfort knowing that your skin will thank you for the extra zzz’s.

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