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A Breath of Fresh Air

By: Jeffrey Lapin
Posted: January 29, 2010, from the February 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
oxygen bubbles

Approximately 20 years after pure oxygen treatments were introduced to the professional skin care market, fundamental questions about the efficacy and effects of such services remain. Estheticians and physicians alike continue to ask, “Is oxygen good for skin?” “How does an oxygen treatment work?” and “Does the oxygen really penetrate the skin?”

Many consumers and even some skin care professionals still wonder if there is any difference between an oxygen cream and an oxygen facial treatment at a spa. After all, isn’t all oxygen the same?

It is important to clearly understand the role of pure oxygen in modern skin care. In a controlled manner and for a specific purpose, modern modalities, such as microdermabrasion, enzymatic and deep chemical peels, and mechanical peels can sometimes injure the skin by stripping away the top layers of the epidermis. Such procedures necessitate the use of skin care tools to help clients heal faster and feel better about the process. Therefore, the most recent advances in restorative skin care center around treatments and products that soothe, cool and heal the damage done by aggressive procedures, as well as aging, sun exposure, poor diet and generally unhealthy lifestyles.

Oxygen and healing

Physicians and skin care professionals have known for years that proper amounts of pure oxygen help produce new skin cells and maintain healthy skin overall. What is rapidly gaining wide acceptance, however, is the concept of applying oxygen topically immediately after invasive procedures. This is done to soothe overstimulated skin, reduce edema and erythema, and speed the healing process.

Published medical studies, such as the one conducted at the University of Ohio Medical Center in 2003 as presented in the journal Pathophyisology1, indicate that topical oxygenation at slightly above normal barometric pressure does have a demonstrably beneficial effect in speeding the healing process. This is partially accomplished by the enhanced elimination of harmful bacteria, creating an environment that is supportive of tissue repair.