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Many skincare brands and products are interchangeable these days; half of them are white-labeled and are likely selling the same version of a product as dozens of others, even down to the physical packaging. That’s why I especially love brands that have been launched by medical professionals, who have a little more skin in the game (pardon the pun) than making a quick buck.
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One of the latest physicians to launch a line of eponymous products is Prof. Dr. Steinkraus (first name Volker), joining the ranks of my most beloved brands, including Dr. Barbara Sturm, Dr. Dennis Gross, Doctor Rogers, and Dr. Loretta. There are plenty of lines backed by doctors, scientists, and so forth, so this is just a roster of some self-branded ones that have made an international impression. I do see this branding as a litmus test of sorts, because they’re willing to hedge their professional reputation on these products’ efficacy.
Prof. Dr. Steinkraus Vitamin C Serum
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I knew I was in good hands with Prof. Dr. Steinkraus as soon as I saw his Vitamin C serum, which turns its user into a chemist each morning. It comes in two parts: An activator fluid, and 28 separate powder “blobs”. Anyone well versed in Vitamin C knows how volatile the ingredient is to air, light, and time—so it’s often pointless to buy a C-serum off the shelves. (Not to mention one with a transparent vessel or a pipette application that allows oxygen exposure.) With Prof. Dr. Steinkraus’ method, you squirt a little applicator serum over the blob and turn it into the day’s Vitamin C serum, making only what you need in a single morning’s application. There are four weeks’ worth of product in there, so you know exactly how long it’s going to last, and you can finally rationalize spending money on a Vitamin C serum. (I’d suggest getting a blob refill pack at the same time so that you can roll right into month two.)
The science that binds Prof. Dr. Steinkraus’ assortment is called the TetCode4 system, which in short combines active ingredients from four categories. The main idea here is that a thorough regimen will connect the user to all of these elements, as not every product contains all of these ingredients; it is a system after all. The first TetCode4 component is high-performance Vitamins (A for youthfulness, C for skin tone, E for antioxidants); second is niacin (B vitamins for elasticity and barrier defense); third is botanicals (for natural nourishment); and finally, biomimetics (scientific imitations of nature, such as ceramides, ectoine, and squalane).
It’s easy to build an assortment from the brand based on one’s skin type: It has rosters drawn up for normal, dry, oily, combination, mature, sensitive, hyperpigmented, and blemished. The website will guide you toward the best serums, cleansers, and creams for your concerns, and all of the products are fairly priced given the care and detail that has gone into the assortment. For the time being, they don’t retail in the U.S. but do ship abroad from their German HQ.
My favorite products (aside from the strangely fun Vitamin C serum) are the nightly Vitamin A serum (basically, like OTC tretinoin), the daily niacin 20% serum (which helps smooth out skin’s texture), the twice-daily hyaluronic acid serum (I like getting double the hydration, morning and night) and a daily application of Face Care Light, a breathable daily moisturizer that’s perfect for my oily/combination skin (there are medium and rich versions too, for normal and dry skin). The doc’s assortment extends well beyond the aforementioned prescriptive regimens though, as those are foundational and you can get everything from hand cream to SPF 50+ facial sunscreen to eye cream.
Given how much skincare can be a guessing game in terms of efficacy—and often an expensive guess at that—here’s an assortment on which you can hedge your bets and your dollars. It’s straightforward enough as a regimen, but complex enough on an individual product basis. It’s well priced, high performing, and if you’re the proud owner of these Vitamin C blobs, it’s actually pretty fun, too.
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