Dr Barbara Sturm is a name all skincare lovers will instantly recognise. Not only is Dr Sturm a top dermatologist (counting the likes of Hailey and Justin Bieber, Emma Roberts and Irina Shayk as clients) but she pioneered the plasma facial (yes, the one that involves using your own blood). Most notably, though, she is known for the success of her namesake brand of gentle, anti-inflammatory skincare, which has taken Cult Beauty, Selfridges and Space NK by storm here in the UK.
In other words, Dr Barbara Sturm is a font of knowledge when it comes to taking care of your skin. Her A-list clientele keep her incredibly busy but we managed to secure some time with the pro to ask her all the burning skincare questions currently blowing up Google.
From how to build a skincare routine to whether a facial toner is really necessary, here’s everything we learned.
What’s the best ay to get clear skin?
Blemish-prone skin may be caused by a number of factors, says Dr Sturm, so it’s important to establish the root cause before looking at skincare.”Maybe your acne is because you’re wearing face masks, or it could be the wrong type of makeup, not being hydrated enough, or perhaps hormones and an underlying condition such as polycystic ovary syndrome, which causes more testosterone,” and therefore acne. If that’s the case, Dr Sturm suggests visiting a gynaecologist or GP for advice first.
Once you’ve deciphered the cause, you can step up your skincare. “My advice would be to cleanse your skin with a gentle, very hydrating cleanser first,” says Dr Sturm. She advises not to over-exfoliate with leave-on acid toners and serums. “Instead, just exfoliate the dead skin cells with a gentle enzyme cleanser twice a week, and balance your skin with a facial toner. Then, add a hydrating serum such as hyaluronic acid and a moisturiser that isn’t too oily.” Dr Sturm recommends her Clarifying Serum, £175, and suggests looking out for skincare that contains ingredients such as zinc oxide and tea tree oil, which help treat spots.
R29 also loves The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% High Strength Vitamin and Mineral Blemish Formula, £5.05, and The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Facial Wash, £6.50, for achieving clear skin.
How can you get rid of blackheads on your nose?
Dr Sturm is not a fan of pore strips for getting rid of blackheads and we wouldn’t recommend DIY extraction tools but here are some solutions…”If you have a nose full of blackheads, the best thing is to go to a facialist when you can,” says Dr Sturm. “Don’t do strips – they won’t work, and I would stay away from all of those aggressive things. I’d also suggest using an exfoliating cleanser.” Dr Sturm recommends her Enzyme Cleanser, £50, up to twice a week, as enzymes gently exfoliate skin and dislodge blackheads.
If you’re looking for an additional fix, we ratee a simple salicylic acid toner, such as Alpha-H Clear Skin Tonic, £35, which exfoliates deep inside the pore to break up oil, dirt and dead skin which can lead to blackheads.
How do you build a skincare routine?
Start with the basics, says Dr Sturm. You don’t have to layer so many serums and products. It depends on your personal preference and what you’re willing to do. According to Dr Sturm, a good hydrating cleanser should be the mainstay in all skincare routines, and it’s important to cleanse your skin twice a day in the morning and the evening. “I would also suggest exfoliating twice a week, but not resurfacing with crazy, aggressive products and ingredients,” says Dr Sturm.
“Next, I would recommend a balancing toner. A modern skincare routine should have a serum, too. Try a good hyaluronic acid-based serum before moisturiser. You can repeat these steps in the evening but in the morning, always follow with sun protection.”
Try Dr Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum, £85, for intense hydration. Q+A Hyaluronic Acid Serum, £6.50, and L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Filler 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum, £24.99, are also R29 favourites.
What are the benefits of a facial toner?
Dr Sturm mentions that many facial toners act like acid peels but if you’re already using an exfoliating cleanser or serum, opt for something hydrating so as not to exacerbate your skin.
“The Balancing Toner, £45, is strengthening and anti-inflammatory,” says Dr Sturm. “It also balances your skin’s pH level after cleansing, which is essential for healthy skin.”
And healthy skin = glowing skin.
In which order should you apply your skincare?
Cleansing should always be the first step in your routine so that your skin is primed to absorb skincare ingredients much better. “Cleanse your face first, apply your chosen facial toner if you use one, then your serum, which always comes before moisturiser,” says Dr Sturm. “If you use eye cream, follow with that, and then last but not least, your sun protection.”
A top tip is to apply products from the thinnest to the thickest texture, so that everything sinks in fast.
What are the benefits of AHAs, like lactic acid?
As Dr Sturm is an anti-inflammatory doctor, it may come as no surprise that she isn’t particularly sold on AHAs (or alpha hydroxy acids), such as glycolic acid and lactic acid, which exfoliate the surface of the skin, especially if you have dry, sensitive or reactive skin.
“I wouldn’t recommend highly concentrated acids on your face,” says Dr Sturm. “You could use an exfoliating cleanser once or twice a week but it pays to check the concentration.” High concentrations (typically above 10%) should be avoided, and if you feel pain, redness or sensitivity, stop using it. “Most acids give you a tingle for sure, but this can sometimes leave the skin red,” adds Dr Sturm. “Sometimes, people think that if it doesn’t burn or hurt, it doesn’t work, but that’s not a good way to think about skincare.”
Lactic acid is currently trending on Google so if you’re still intrigued, we’d recommend starting slow. We lovee Dermalogica Age Smart Skin Resurfacing Cleanser, £40, which is a rinse-off product and therefore less likely to cause sensitivity. If you’re using any kind of acid, always use a high factor, broad spectrum sunscreen in the daytime. Try Dr Barbara Sturm Sun Drops, £40, mixed with your moisturiser.
What is combination skin and how should you treat it?
“Combination skin is when your T-zone (forehead and nose) is oily, while the rest is drier,” says Dr Sturm. “You can test this by washing your face, leaving it for half an hour without applying skincare and then checking where your skin is oily and where it feels dry.”
Dr Sturm recommends using different products on your T-zone to the rest of your face. “I apply my chosen serum all over but use a more moisturising product on drier areas, and something more clarifying or lighter on the oily T-zone.”
How can you get rid of forehead wrinkles in a way that does not involve needles?
Naturally, our skin’s collagen and hyaluronic acid reserves (responsible for plump, supple skin) deplete as we age. But if you’re looking to treat fine lines and wrinkles with skincare, Dr Sturm says hydration is key. “Two products I use are the Night Serum, £90, and the Lifting Serum, £235, as both are hyaluronic acid-based and fill in fine lines and wrinkles.”
Retinol is also a great ingredient for lines and wrinkles but Dr Sturm is wary of the inflammatory effects, which can cause redness, sore skin and flaking, and so doesn’t recommend it. If your skin is very reactive, it might be best to avoid retinol. But if you’re interested in trying retinol products, start slow. R29 recommends La Roche-Posay 0.3% Retinol + Vitamin B3 Serum, £38, for beginners.Credit: Original article published here.