Apart from delivering instant radiance, the MC1 is claimed to shrink pores, build collagen, and effectively reduce dermatitis, psoriasis and acne. As I have neither enlarged pores nor an acute skin condition, I’m banking on the collagen boost; collagen is responsible for firm, glowy skin.
The glow I get from using the MC1 cream is phenomenal – but then I’d expect it to be for £39 a smear. While Dr Sturm has no shortage of wealthy clients prepared to pay for her super-moisturiser, there are sceptics. One high-profile anti-ageing surgeon who’d rather not be named says, ‘PRP is great for skin and hair rejuvenation, but only if injected, not applied topically.’
Dr Sturm doesn’t do clinical trials, having said she doesn’t see the point in wasting millions of dollars on ‘fake studies’, so it’s hard to prove or disprove its benefits beyond anecdotal evidence and personal experience. I did see an improvement in my skin’s clarity and hydration levels, but I’d argue that no cream, no matter how fancy, works in isolation, but as part of a carefully curated ‘skin healthy’ lifestyle. I gave up alcohol at about the same time as I began using the MC1 cream, so I can’t be certain what drove the improvement in my complexion. A combination of both, probably.
But then Dr Sturm herself agrees that a super-cream alone isn’t enough to help you age well. You need to curb inflammation from within also, so she recently held a two-day anti-inflammatory workshop in London, which covered everything from diet and exercise to breath work.
Inflammation is currently a hot health topic, whether it be of our gut, heart or skin. She explains: ‘Inflammation is an immune response we all need to fight bacteria and viruses. But if inflammation becomes chronic, it creates a lot of problems in our body, not just in our skin; it causes autoimmune diseases and premature ageing, so we need to get inflammation under control.
‘Where does inflammation come from? It comes from stress, not enough sleep, a poor diet – and then from outside stressors like sun, pollution and the HEV light from our computer screens and our phones.’ And, Dr Sturm says, from some skincare. ‘A lot of products have ingredients like retinol, glycolic acid, alcohol, mineral oils – these all cause inflammation, so I don’t include any of them in my products.’
Dr Sturm is dead set against retinol, the vitamin A derivative that’s widely considered the gold-standard anti-ageing ingredient. But Dr Sturm argues that speeding up cell renewal, as retinol and glycolic acid do, is using up the skin’s finite number of cell divisions. ‘When you aggressively target your skin, you destroy your protective skin barrier, you destroy your microbiome, you deplete the skin of healing factors,’ she says, adding, ‘All of a sudden your skin cells are shrivelled up like raisins when they should be plump, juicy grapes.’
And when she asks, ‘Would you treat your heart or your lungs like that? Would you pour acid over any other organ in your body?’ I find it hard to disagree with her.