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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.
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Some new product and treatment technologies are increasingly designed to put the proper level of oxygen, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients back into the skin. There are currently many creams, lotions, masks and sprays available to clients to put oxygen onto the skin. Because of the multitude of choices available, it is important to teach your clients that oxygen placed on the surface of unprepared skin will not penetrate beyond the epidermis. Yet, oxygen placed on the surface of the skin is a good thing. Oxygen is a natural antibacterial agent that effectively fights bad bacteria that cannot survive in an oxygenated environment. This can help with surface acne and helps to fight infection from open wounds.

For normal, noninjured skin, the natural barrier function will prevent oxygen from penetrating down to the dermal layer. Oxygen’s most exciting and effective benefits are its ability to boost cell production, and strengthen collagen and elastin. These benefits can only be realized by getting the oxygen through the epidermis and into the dermal layer, and such penetration can only be accomplished by first removing the skin’s protective barrier. Once temporarily stripped away, the epidermis becomes a semipermeable membrane that allows for the passage of certain materials.

Guide your clients

It is your role as a skin care professional to educate clients in order to help them avoid buying products or treatments that make claims without foundation and scientific principles supporting them. Explain to your clients that the only way to achieve oxygen penetration is to have an oxygen treatment professionally administered in a spa. No topical application will provide the major benefits of oxygen.

It will likely take years for the benefits of pure oxygen in skin care to be universally accepted, and the virtues of oxygen are just beginning to be understood. The wide availability and affordability of pure oxygen treatments at the spa level, combined with modern oxygen equipment, is a real boon to the professional skin care industry. By doing your part, you can educate clients about the benefits of oxygen and provide treatments in your spa to help improve your clients’ skin health.


1. LK Kalliainen, GM Gordillo, R Schlanger and CK Sen, Topical oxygen as an adjunct to wound healing: a clinical case series, Pathophyisology 9 81–87 (2003)