Founder and CEO of Dr. Barbara Sturm Molecular Cosmetics, Sturm began her medical career in orthopedics. She worked on innovative treatments for inflammatory conditions like osteoarthritis, using the body’s proteins to stop the inflammatory process and help heal joint tissue. Using this clinical research and orthopedic practices as a foundation, she applied her learnings to the field of aesthetics, working on creating an anti-inflammatory collection. At the heart of it was skincare formulated with molecular science, and Molecular Cosmetics was born in 2014. Since then, her skincare lines have developed and grown, with brick-and-mortar outposts globally and a whole host of celebrity devotees to boot.
Fast forward to this fall, and she’s launched her new Winter Kit—full of the essentials, cue Sturm’s face mask, nourishing moisturizer and serum amongst the treats. To mark the occasion, Barbara has shared her advice for achieving a healthy, glowing complexion during the colder months.
Hyaluronic Acid Is Key
Hyaluronic Acid is an essential cold weather super-hydrator, replenishing cellular moisture reservoirs and boosting the skin barrier function, making it a perfect choice for dry, dehydrated or mature skin. The chemistry of my Hyaluronic Serum formulation has a high concentration of high, medium and low-weighted hyaluronic acid molecules, so it replenishes moisture at both the surface and deeper skin layers.
Avoid Harsh Ingredients
Winter is dry; avoid further dehydrating influences. These include ingredients like mineral oils and aggressive acid peels, which damage the cells and dramatically reduce the skin barrier function, leading to trans-epidermal water loss and exposing skin to the elements without the protection of a richer, lipid-based moisturizer. The alternative is an inflammation cascade, irritated skin, and dysfunctions like perioral dermatitis.
The need to exfoliate is often overlooked during the winter. It’s as essential as ever, so I recommend using a gentle exfoliator like my Enzyme Cleanser twice a week to remove dry skin and create a perfect base for optimized absorption of active ingredients. It uses the enzymes lipase and subtilisin to gently break down impurities, fatty acids and the conjunctions between dead skin cells that can also create a breeding ground for acne.
Make Time for a Mask
As you will all year round, you will see significant results from my deeply hydrating Face Mask to be used at least twice a week. It’s deeply hydrating, rich and creamy and contains the potent herb purslane, soothing aloe vera and chamomile, infusing moisture on your skin. It also has kaolin clay, which detoxifies and leaves your complexion feeling silky, soft and supple. Sometimes, I’ll mix the Night Serum with the Face Mask and leave it on overnight – it makes your skin feel and look super refreshed in the morning.
Try a Richer Face Cream
Dry skin lacks surface lipids, which form a protective barrier on the skin to prevent water evaporation. To avoid dry skin, hydration is vital. Combining lipid-rich moisturizers with a hyaluronic acid-based serum will give your skin an intense hydration boost and keep your complexion soft, healthy and dewy. My Face Cream Rich increases the content of hydrolipids (molecules on the upper layer of the skin that permit hydration) and leaves a thin lipid layer on the skin’s surface, which reduces the evaporation of water from the skin.
Apply Lipid-Based Serums
I would pay extra attention to skin healing and protection in winter with richer, lipid-based serums. It quells irritation using a plant-based complex of xardiospermum, a vine studied for its anti-irritation properties, echium; a flowering plant that helps soothe skin with a unique blend of fatty acids, and sunflower seed oil that can help protect sensitive cell membranes against free radical attack. When used over time, it also helps to strengthen the skin and promote a healthy skin matrix.
Use Sun Protection
Opting out of sun protection in the winter months is a common misconception. The extreme cold can leave your skin feeling sensitive, dry, and irritated – as can unprotected UVA and UVB exposure. I recommend using SPF protection like my Sun Drops SPF50 whenever you spend more than 15 minutes in direct sunlight, even in winter. I also created the Ski Cream SPF 50 to protect the skin from the cold, snow and wind – I’ve been a passionate skier my entire life and have always wanted to create a cream specifically to meet the skin’s needs during the active ski season.
Skincare Is Also Scalp Care
Taking care of your hair starts with the skin on your scalp. Our scalp tends to get drier and tighter in the winter, just like the rest of our skin, so hydration is essential. Using a hydrating shampoo and a scalp serum is vital to hair health in the colder seasons. Each product in my Molecular Hair & Scalp Collection is packed with nutrients, antioxidants and plant extracts that offer protection against external stressors, providing the fundamental care needed for overall scalp and hair health.
Take a Milk Bath
I love taking a milk bath. They are full of nourishing vitamins and minerals: vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps support cell function and skin health and zinc, which holds anti-inflammatory properties, is ideal for soothing and healing skin. Milk also contains lactic acid, which acts as a mild exfoliant, and its fat and protein content nourishes and smooths adult skin as well as babies and kids. I add some whole milk and dark honey (the darker honey has higher antioxidant properties) to hot water, close my eyes and maybe listen to a sound bath–it’s highly meditative and relaxing.