Celebrity aesthetic doctor Barbara Sturm's facial programme and products can be found at ESPA Life at Corinthia in Corinthia London. We speak exclusively to her about everything from city life to skincare when travelling.
What do you like most about working within Corinthia London?
I have been working closely with Corinthia for some time and I truly believe it is one of the most luxurious and guest-centric hotels in the world. Corinthia understands that their guests, similarly to my patients, require results. They are also open to innovation, not bound by their industry norms, so it's a great fit for me.
What's your favourite thing about London?
London is one of my favourite cities in the world; it's the people who make it great, and the history written in the architecture is also special.
Who is your typical client?
My typical client is simply someone who wants to have healthy, glowing skin. My clients are men and women from everywhere in the world.
Tell us about the key treatments on offer at Corinthia London.
My signature Instant Glow Facial is on offer at the Corinthia along with five others that I’ve created with my aestheticians. I designed the Instant Glow for clients to get a feel for my main line of products and receive the signature Sturm Glow. For more specific skin needs we also have the Clarifying Facial, Men’s Facial, Super Anti-Aging Facial, Darker Skin Tones Facial and Brightening Facial. I have designed one around each of my specified lines to cater to all skin types.
What's the one skincare tip everyone should know about?
Avoid or minimise all inflammation triggers, including unprotected sun or pollution exposure, harsh skin care ingredients or treatments, smoking, drinking excessive alcohol and eating an inflammatory diet with sugar, processed meats and fried food.
What's the one big skincare mistake that we are all making?
Well, I will list two, because they are related. First, people should not self-curate their skin care regime. By mixing different ingredients and approaches they may throw pH off, and the alchemy of these different ingredients can easily cause redness and irritation.
Secondly, people are harming rather than healing their skin. It sounds obvious, but so many skincare ingredients and skin treatment approaches like lasers and acid peels are designed to attack the skin to give “quick results.” If there is redness or it burns, that’s a sign of injury, not that it’s working.
What does travelling do to our skin?
Long distance travel inflicts almost every bad influence on the skin at once. On the plane there is dehydrating dry air, cold, low oxygen conditions, salty food, alcohol, cortisol, jet lag, inadequate sleep, bacteria, and the exposure to both radiation and UVA through windows.
How do you keep your skincare routine up while travelling?
Keep it simple. Travel presents unique skin inflammation triggers, with sleep deprivation, stress, changing climates, bacteria, and dry, cold air on the on the plane. My packing philosophy caters to these realities. I have created travel-sized skin care products for this reason. Skin hydration and strengthening your skin barrier function are always important, but especially when we travel. I pack my Face Wash, Hyaluronic Serum, Anti-Pollution Drops, Face Cream and my Face Mask, which is a skin saviour, especially when travelling. I bring my Glow Drops and often wear that instead of makeup.
How does living in a city affect someone's skin?
In a city we are surrounded by pollution on a daily basis, either by environmental air pollution, for example in the form of particulate matter, heavy metal toxins or ozone among many others, or by light pollution such as ultraviolet radiation (UVR) or HEV light. Pollution levels are generally higher in cities and it’s one of the largest invisible aggressors and inflammation triggers on our skin.
What should we be doing to combat pollution damage?
It is important to make sure to protect ourselves by strengthening the skin’s natural barrier function. The best way to achieve this is to make sure that skincare products being used don’t contain anything that would irritate the skin or weaken the it with aggressive ingredients. I recommend by my Anti-Pollution Drops coupled with my Anti-Pollution Food.The drops contain high amount of concentrated Hyaluronic Acid, which refills the skins moisture depots and actually strengthens the skin barrier function. The Anti-Pollution Drops contain ingredients such as Alteromonas Ferment extract, which has the ability to bio-adapt to the skins surface and create protective shield, making sure the air pollutants don’t cause harm to the skin. My Anti-Pollution Food is a supplement that works from the inside out to strengthen the existing skin barrier making it better equipped to combat the effects of pollution.
What's your favourite product from your range that's available at Corinthia London?
My products are like my children – I created each of them for a reason and I don’t pick favourites. I sometimes say my Hyaluronic Serum is the “white t-shirt” of my range – it’s that fundamental to skin health and appearance. But my products are designed to be used as an overall regime.
What does wellness mean to you?
Wellness is taking time to look after yourself and live an anti-inflammatory lifestyle. It’s about eating nutrient-rich foods, getting plenty of sleep and nurturing your skin. On top of my skincare routine, I try to get massages multiple times a week and sauna whenever I can.
What does your ultimate ‘self-care’ Sunday look like?
I try and do yoga when I can and I like to spend a lot of time with my kids. I’ll take more time on my body care; dry brushing with my body brush and applying my anti-ageing body cream and I like to apply my face mask for an extra glow. I like to relax by reading; at the moment I’m reading a book by the Indian philosopher Krishna Murti called Freedom from The Known.
What wellness trend will you be following in 2020?
It’s not a ‘trend’ as it’s something I think all of us should be doing regardless but I’m going to continue to take my supplements and always get a good night’s sleep. I take my Skin Food and Anti-Pollution Food twice every day and my Repair Food once a day. And if I’m jet-lagged I take Sleep Food before bed. They support the skin from top-to-bottom and inside out and are based on the science that’s in my skincare.
What’s going to be lifting your spirits this January?
After spending some time with my family in the mountains this Christmas, I’ve had time to really recharge my batteries so I’m looking forward to getting back into work - my work is my biggest passion and it’s this that really lifts my spirits. I’ll be doing a spa in Switzerland and I’m then flying to New York where I’ll be doing the CEW Female Founders Awards. I’ll then be flying to LA at the end of the month in preparation for the Oscars.