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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

page 3 of 5

Advanced skin care products and treatments seek to affect the cells as they are forming and to speed up the process of moving those cells to the epidermis, a process known as cell turnover. The newer and more healthy the cells at the epidermal level, the better and younger the skin looks.

But how can treatments affect cells that are deep down in the layers of the skin? Scientific principles, such as advanced delivery systems, must be used to place nutrients, including oxygen, where the body can utilize them in order to form healthy new skin cells.

The body’s main oxygen supply comes from breathing air into the lungs where oxygen molecules attach themselves to red blood cells. These cells then work their way through the circulatory system to the organs, including the skin. However, as a person ages, this process slows down, and the ability to use and retain oxygen is reduced. Add to this the normal aging process that has been accelerated by sun, stress, poor diet, lack of exercise and free radicals, and you have a sluggish and overburdened cell metabolic process. The result of this slowdown is skin that looks dry and dull.

The best oxygen products and treatments will restore the proper levels of oxygen to the skin in order to enhance not only the health and well-being of the cells already born, but also those that are in the process of being created. And this is exactly why advanced oxygen skin care treatments and products are so controversial.

The idea of applying oxygen topically to the skin and having it penetrate to the area of skin cell generation is often rejected. One of the main reasons cited is the protective role of the natural skin barrier, or acid mantle. Its job is to keep anything from going beyond the epidermis. In fact, this barrier is penetrable and must be treated carefully to avoid losing its protection. The barrier function of the skin is very delicate and depends on maintaining a certain level of pH balance to keep its integrity. This explains why many skin cleansers today claim to be pH-balanced.