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Although the Dr. Barbara Sturm Molecular Cosmetics Anti-Aging Primer just launched this past March, it already boasts the title of a “skin-care game changer” by Allure. This product was the result of collaborative efforts from celebrity makeup artist Monika Blunder and Dr. Barbara Sturm, an orthopedic surgeon turned skincare guru. Their goal was to design an all-in-one, multitasking primer. A primer that would work for all skin types while providing hydration and setting the perfect foundation for makeup application. So does this primer live up to all of the hype? Keep reading to find out!
Hydrating Ingredients, Temporary Effects
The Dr. Barbara Sturm Molecular Cosmetics Anti-Aging Primer contains quite a few ingredients that are well-known for hydrating the skin, including hyaluronic acid and niacinamide.
When hyaluronic acid, a natural moisturizing factor (NMF), comes into contact with the skin it draws water into the skin and reduces trans-epidermal water loss. In fact, when applied topically, hyaluronic acid is able to bind up to 1000 times its volume in water. (J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2015) However, I don’t classify hyaluronic acid as an anti-aging ingredient because its cosmetic effects are temporary. Hyaluronic acid simply causes a slight swelling of the skin that temporarily reduces the appearance of wrinkles.
Similar to hyaluronic acid, niacinamide is a superior skin hydrator. A published study in the International Journal of Dermatology found that 2% niacinamide was more effective than petrolatum (Vaseline, or a purified mixture of hydrocarbons from petroleum/crude oil) in reducing water loss from skin and increasing its moisture levels. Aside from hydrating the skin, niacinamide appears to be a promising anti-aging ingredient. A study by Bissett et. al. demonstrated that 2% niacinamide may stimulate collagen production. However, more research needs to be done before I’ll recommend it for skin sagging, fine lines, or wrinkles more than, say, retinol or glycolic acid.
Additional hydrating ingredients in the Dr. Barbara Sturm Molecular Cosmetics Anti-Aging Primer include pentylene glycol, Lactil, and urea. Pentylene glycol is a synthetic humectant that is both water and oil-soluble. It is used in cosmetic products for its moisture-binding properties and also as a solvent and preservative. Lactil is a synthetic blend of humectants in aqueous solution, which is added to cosmetics as a substitute for the Natural Moisturizing Factor (NMF) of human skin. Lastly, unlike pentylene glycol and Lactil, urea is a naturally occurring substance that can be found in human skin that serves as a humectant. All of these ingredients work to keep the skin hydrated and protected.
Modified Rice Starch vs Silicones
A typical makeup primer contains silicones, such as dimethicone and trisiloxane, which enable the primer to glide evenly over your skin and give you that nice dewy finish. Silicone primers seal in your moisturizer and keep the oil in your skin from affecting your foundation, essentially by creating a barrier. Unfortunately, silicone primers don’t fair well for those with oily skin.
What sets the Dr. Barbara Sturm Molecular Cosmetics Anti-Aging Primer apart from other primers is the use of modified rice starch instead of silicones. Modified rice starch is a natural way to give the skin a matte appearance without drying it out. Therefore, this primer is one that could be used by all skin types, event those with oily to very oily skin.
Purslane – An Anti-Aging Powerhouse
One of the most exciting ingredients in the Dr. Barbara Sturm Molecular Cosmetics Anti-Aging Primer is purslane, a rare find in other skincare brands but a staple in Dr. Sturm’s collection. Purslane has a long history of dermatologic uses in traditional Chinese medicine that were almost forgotten until recent research discovered that this natural substance is highly effective in the field of anti-aging.
In fact, purslane has been reported to be the richest vegetable source of omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid in particular) yet examined. (Biomed Res Int., 2014) In the skin, it has been suggested in The Journal of Investigative Dermatology that omega-3 consumption via fish oil reduces UVB-induced prostaglandin levels, which are partially responsible for inflammation, and further increases the threshold of UVB light allowed before damage occurs. I particularly like omega-3 fatty acids for whenever I’ve been trying too many concentrated skincare products and my face feels raw, red, or swollen. I feel like they soothe and help my skin rebuild.
As for its antioxidant properties, a publication in BioMed Research International shares how purslane also contains high levels of vitamins E, C, and beta carotene, some of the best antioxidants in terms of skincare. Purslane is also rich in glutathione, a potent antioxidant that can naturally be found in the skin. Unfortunately, according to The Prescription for Nutritional Healing, glutathione levels decrease 30-35% over the course of one’s lifetime with normal aging, which leaves the skin more susceptible to UV damage. Therefore, the glutathione in this primer can help to prevent future signs of aging by helping to prevent UV-induced damage.
If you typically use a primer before applying your makeup, the Dr. Barbara Sturm Molecular Cosmetics Anti-Aging Primer is one I would recommend. Since it does not contain silicones, it can truly be used on all skin types, even those with oily to very oily skin. And while I wouldn’t classify hyaluronic acid and niacinamide as the best anti-aging ingredient, they are both superior skin hydrators. Lastly, it’s exciting to see purslane in this product. This ingredient is quite rare to find in a skincare product despite its high content of anti-aging nutrients and antioxidants.
Active substances: Pearl Pigments, Modified Rice Starch, Lactil, Pentylene Glycol, Purslane, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin B3, Urea