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The Practical Use of Topical Oxygen

By: Peter T. Pugliese, MD
Posted: August 22, 2008, from the September 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

page 7 of 9

How deep are they? Even one or two deep wrinkles suggests a great deal of damage to the dermis. Little wrinkles will hold a thread; moderate wrinkles will hold a string; severe wrinkles are deeper and wider than the wire in a coat hanger.

How long are they? Except for the nasolabial fold and the labiomental fold, wrinkles that measure longer than an inch are really bad. These wrinkles reveal that there is a great deal of dermal damage and will most likely fail to respond to anything other than deep surgical peels.

Oxygen and the skin

Oxygen revitalizes the epidermis and stimulates cellular growth by increasing cellular proliferation. It will kill surface bacteria, deep anaerobic bacteria and fungus. Oxygen will supply energy to the epidermis and to the dermis, helping to heal any small wounds and irritations. In the dermis, it will help produce collagen and elastin and help restructure the extracellular matrix. Oxygen is a micronutrient and it will assist with many metabolic processes in the skin. Lastly, it is critical for many enzyme reactions, and the presence of oxygen can often accelerate these reactions.

How often can you use oxygen therapy? The cost of the treatment must be considered, but the client is the most important factor. Remember that using oxygen is an art. You must know how to use it. If a company tries to sell you an oxygen treatment without adequate education or instruction, steer clear of it. You will begin to see oxygen used more often in esthetics within the next few years, and perhaps in combination with other treatment systems.


a. Hyperbaric oxygen is usually administered in a sealed, heavy-walled chamber. By definition, hyperbaric oxygen is above one atmosphere of oxygen pressire, normally about 160 mm mercury.