Oxygen – we breathe it in everyday of our lives and, for sure, we can’t live without it. But can it also improve our skin?The average adult inhales and exhales over 7-8 litres of air per minute, and of that air 20 percent is oxygen. Of that 20 percent, we exhale 15 percent, which means that about 5% of all the air we intake and maintain is oxygen. So, we use about 550 litres of pure oxygen each day. And while our skin does not ‘breathe’ in the literal sense, it does intake oxygen, and because oxygen is said to have so many healing benefits, many beauticians are now incorporating it into their skin care treatments in the form of oxygen and ozone facials. But is there really any science to back these treatments up? Let’s look into this further…
Before we talk about the science, let’s first give you an idea of what oxygen treatments are. Oxygen facials are essentially exactly what they sound to be – treatments that are delivered to the skin using oxygen. When you go for an oxygen facial, a mixture of active ingredients is lathered on the skin and a small handheld device is used to deliver a pressurized stream of oxygen to the skin. This stream of oxygen is said to help the active ingredients better penetrate into the skin, while at the same time boosting collagen production and purifying the skin by stimulating the body’s natural healing reaction.
Sounds great, right? When we think about the importance of oxygen in our bodies, it only makes sense that it would have an impact on our skin too. But according to many dermatologists, this logic is completely bogus and is just a way for skin care companies to capitalize on treatments. Why? Because despite the many slogans we hear saying, ‘let your skin breathe’, our skin doesn’t breathe and it doesn’t use oxygen in the same way that our lungs do.
’But there are so many studies out there proving the effectiveness of oxygen facials’ – No, there aren’t.
Yes, there is evidence to support the claim that oxygen can have healing effects, but it is not through a facial. What this evidence is referring to is a procedure known as hyperbaric oxygen therapy. This type of therapy is used to increase the amount of oxygen within the bloodstream and is often used to help promote healing and fight infections. When being treated using this type of therapy, oxygen is put into a pressurized chamber and breathed in through the lungs. This causes your lungs to intake 3 times more oxygen than usual, and this oxygen then will be carried throughout the body to stimulate the healing and growth of stem cells. And in this sense, yes, oxygen probably could be beneficial to your skin.
Unfortunately, you can’t just go out and get hyperbaric oxygen therapy to improve your skin. Rather, it is only used in medical cases. And unfortunately, again, applying oxygen through a facial wand and into the skin is much different than intaking oxygen through the lungs. As such, you can’t expect the two types of treatment to have the same effects.
In conclusion, yes, oxygen therapy does show promise in helping to heal the skin, but to date the healing therapies that actually show promise are not available in salons and spas. Does that mean you should right off oxygen facials altogether? No. In fact, oxygen therapy often does leave your skin feeling smoother and more radiant, but chances are that this is more likely related to the ingredients put on the face than the actual oxygen itself. And this isn’t to say that oxygen doesn’t benefit the skin when applied directly, it just means there is no scientific research at this time to back it up. So, until further research is done, my suggestion is to save your money and put it towards a basic facial that has more backing.