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What's With $1,000+ Blood Cream? Does It Really Work?
Platelet-rich plasma treatments continue to be trending. And while “blood creams” have actually been around for a while, they're coming back too. With the interest in "natural" anti-aging blood cream, supposedly women like Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Kate Moss love blood creams. What’s that you say? What the h%% is a blood cream? Let us explain. These creams, made of your own blood, can be upwards of $1,000 a jar. They were invented by Dr. Barbara Sturm. First of all, a little background on Dr. Sturm: she is a former orthopedic surgeon turned skincare expert. According to Violet Grey, “Dr. Barbara Sturm is a highly sought-after aesthetics doctor with a practice based in Düsseldorf, Germany, known for her innovative non-surgical approach to younger-looking skin and her work with molecular cosmetics.” She is also the self proclaimed inventor of the PRP facial. Last month, she launched her line in the United States on Net-a-Porter, Violet Grey and Shen Beauty. She is also known for dating George Hamilton and for being the pioneer of the celebrity-endorsed (specifically by Kim Kardashian) “vampire facial. Her “blood” or MC1 cream, which costs around $1,000, (and you have to be a client of Dr. Sturm's to get it) is infamous among celebrities and beauty editors—it uses your own platelet rich plasma, aka PRP, to facilitate superior healing in the skin. The cream is making a comeback with recent reviews on The Coveteur and Into The Gloss. I spoke to one of the country’s most renowned specialists in PRP, Dr. Scott Greenberg of the Magaziner Center for Wellness to get his take on the trend. Dr. Greenberg counts olympic athletes and professional sports stars among his patients, and he performs approximately 4,000 procedures each year using PRP and stem cells. Disclaimer: I’ve been visiting Dr. Greenberg for PRP injections in my knees, and for a neck strain. It’s helped miraculously (Dr. Greenberg also cured my husband’s back pain, but that’s another story). I've been asking Dr. Greenberg for months: Can you make me a PRP cream? Please, pretty please? Honestly, I would pay anything for it. And every time he refuses. Why? He says it simply won’t work. At CB, we're big fans of Dr. Sturm's hyaluronic acid products, including her Hyaluronic Serum, $300 on Net-A-Porter, and her Hyaluronic Ampoules, $215 on Net-A-Porter. But we're not sure we are buyers of this blood cream. Dr. Sturm told Coveteur: “The MC1 cream uses a technique that harnesses the white blood cells in the patient’s own blood to produce healing factors including anti–Interleukin-1 (IL-1) and TGF-beta, which address the signs of skin aging.” Sturm continues, “IL-1 naturally reduces inflammation, while TGF-beta strengthens the tissue and stimulates collagen growth.” Sounds serious. Now here's what Dr. Greenberg, the PRP specialist, told me: "Typically, to be effective, the growth factors derived from blood need to concentrate down into a region of the skin known as the dermis which is the layer that contains the collagen. This typically would require an injection to do so to deliver the factors to this layer." He goes on: "Furthermore, the biological activity of these factors, when not placed inside the body, such as in a cream, will only last about 4 hours. After that, the regenerative ability of the serum significantly decreases down to zero!! Therefore, I doubt that, at this time a cream can be effective." So when Dr. Sturm says her cream uses a "technique that harnesses the white blood cells in the patient’s own blood to produce healing factors," we believe that's true, but we don't believe the healing factors can penetrate the skin. We do believe the goodies that Dr. Sturm blends the PRP with are probably amazing, and definitely have the women using it seeing results. Also, Emily Ramshaw of The Coveteur did note that she stopped using all her other astringent acne fighting products. We have not tried Dr. Sturm’s cream: maybe she wants to take my blood and send over a sample? Any changes in my skin—please note, I'm a few years older than the average beauty editor these days—will definitely change my mind. But for now, I likely won’t be shelling out $1K to get some. Note: While Dr. Sturm’s MC1 blood cream is available exclusively to her patients, her skin care is currently sold on Net-a-Porter and Violet Grey.
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