Do you remember your teenage skincare routine? Mine was easy: Cetaphil face wash, Ponds moisturizer, repeat. (I’d throw in a little witch hazel when things got pimply.) It seems laughable now, given the number of retinoids, vitamin C, and peptides that fill my bathroom vanity, but I can’t blame myself. This was years before sites like Byrdie.com and beauty vloggers gave teens easy access to skincare questions. My only real sources of beauty knowledge were a few scant blurbs in the pages of Teen Vogue and a book called “Bobbi Brown Teenage Beauty.” And though the latter was a sacred rite of passage for many millennials, the tome was far more focused on makeup than skincare.
In fact, there was hardly any skincare education targeted at teens beyond a kind-hearted parent begging you to wear sunscreen. Which is wild considering what your skin goes through when puberty strikes. Options like pimple patches or my beloved witch hazel offered a quick fix, but there was never much thought (or concern) about the future of teenage skin.
“When skin issues are fixed quickly and with harsh ingredients, it often leads to permanent damage, scarring, or hyperpigmentation,” shares Dr. Barbara Sturm, a world-renowned skin specialist who pioneered the vampire facial and opened one of her rare namesake spas in Dallas at the end of 2021. “As an aesthetics doctor, I see girls as young as in their late teens coming in wanting quick-fix solutions to acne scarring and even asking about preventative Botox. This is due to not having the correct skincare when they are young and a big education gap when it comes to skincare.”
When the pandemic first hit, Sturm, who has a young adult daughter herself, launched a virtual series called “Skin School” designed to educate Gen Z about the science of their skin — and how to protect it. The process led to an idea: a collection designed specifically for teenagers and young adults: the Microbiotic Collection.
Launched this May, the new range is in keeping with Sturm’s scientific approach to skincare, but shifts the focus from anti-aging concerns to the skin’s microbiome — the oft-overlooked ecosystem of good bacteria that protects the skin. When the microbiome is inflamed, it could lead to “perioral dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis and, particularly in younger skin, blemishes, blackheads, and pimples,” according to Sturm.
“For the Microbiotic Collection, I selected ingredients that target the specific needs and concerns of teenage skin,” Sturm explains. “I am always moving towards innovation, so I also included some new ingredients, like pre-and probiotics that you will not find in the rest of my range and Shale Oil, a particularly odor-intensive ingredient [found in The Ultimate Stinky Pimple Treatment] that has powerful anti-microbial effects on blemished skin.”
Prices for Sturm’s teen-focused skincare line range from $35 to $100. The kit featuring the entire line — the cleansing balm, hydrating serum, face cream, and the Ultimate Stinky Pimple Treatment — is available for $190. The line is also available at Dallas’ Dr. Barbara Sturm Boutique & Spa in Highland Park Village.
It’s a heftier price than the Ponds of my past, but Sturm’s innovative idea could be a sign of more high-quality choices when it comes to youthful skin concerns.
At what age should you start honing a skincare routine?
Dr. Barbara Sturm: It depends on when puberty starts, but I would generally say around the ages of 12 to 14. Starting a skincare regimen that balances the microbiome and supports the hormonal changes that the skin will inevitably experience is crucial.
Let’s break down the hero ingredients. How do they distinguish the new collection?
Dr. Barbara Sturm: It depends on when puberty starts, but I would generally say around the ages of 12-14. Starting a skincare regimen that balances the microbiome and supports the hormonal changes that the skin will inevitably experience is crucial.
– Pre- and Probiotics. These help create a healthy diversity of bacteria in the microbiota (which is essential for improving the natural defenses of the skin).
– Centella Asiatica and Cockspur Thorn. This duo helps the skin contend with the imbalances brought on by stress, inflammation, and hormones, and reduces the visible signs of irritation.
– Butterfly Bush and Moringa Seed Extract. These powerful plant-derived antioxidants, when working together, help stabilize free radicals, counteracting the irritation which can be caused by over exposure to digital screens.
– Shale Oil. This ingredient has powerful anti-microbial effects which makes it really good at getting rid of pimples very quickly.
What product from the Microbiotic Collection would you recommend to shoppers of any age?
Dr. Barbara Sturm: The Ultimate Stinky Pimple Treatment is revolutionary for people of any age who want to treat blemishes quickly. It is an anti-pimple ointment formulated with the anti-microbial and sebum-regulating properties of odor-intensive Shale Oil. It’s also multipurpose and can be used as a spot treatment or as a face mask to treat larger breakouts. For deeper or bigger blemishes, it can be applied overnight in a thick layer and covered with a plaster for an intensive treatment.
One last question, how has your experience been in Dallas so far?
Dr. Barbara Sturm: I love Dallas, it’s one of my favorite places. The people have been so fun, open, and extremely welcoming. Highland Park Village has been the essence of all this — it’s intimate and homey and at the same time, offers the best shopping experience where you can get everything you need. They have really welcomed us into the Village and I am so proud of my spa and team there!