Oxygen facial therapy is a new anti-aging treatment that has been supported by many celebrities and is increasing in popularity. However is it just yet another beauty fad or is there any scientific basis and proof that it works?
The basic idea behind the therapy is to apply oxygen to the skin along with other cosmetic ingredients to rejuvenate the skin’s appearance and to create a more radiant look.
Oxygen facials can be done on men and women and promises to offer benefits such as firming up the skin, softening the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, making expression lines less obvious, and improving blood circulation to give your face more colour and an improved complexion.
Why Apply Oxygen to the Skin?
Cells in your body function optimally when fully oxygenated, which we achieve by breathing oxygen in from the air, which reaches the cells via our blood circulation system. The theory is that oxygen can also be applied externally to increase this process of oxygenation and ensure our skin cells are fully oxygenated. The blood circulation worsens in our body with increasing age which means that our oxygenation potential also diminishes, therefore applying oxygen directly to the skin helps to maintain oxygen levels and keep your skin looking younger for longer.
Most treatments also use some kind of anti-ageing serum which contains vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and moisturisers, as it’s believed that oxygen can be used as a delivery mechanism to enhance the absorption of these ingredients which are beneficial to the skin.
Oxygen can also be used to kill bacteria, and so it can be useful for helping to give the skin a clearer looking complexion or for treating skin disorders such as acne.
Microdermabrasion is carried out first which removes dead skin cells and cleanses pores which can allow the oxygen therapy to be more effective.
The therapy is usually carried out with a small pen like device called an airbrush, which blasts pure oxygen at high pressure into the uppermost layer of the skin along with the anti-ageing ingredients. As it is at high pressure it can be blasted deeper into the skin where it can be absorbed more effectively and produce greater effects.
One of the biggest advantages of oxygen facials over topical administration is that many of the skin care ingredients are made up of molecules i.e Hyaluronic acid, that are too large to pass into the deeper layers of skin. The ingredients themselves work but by applying them as a cream onto the skin, they don’t penetrate very far into the skin and therefore the results are limited. However if applied via high pressure and at a lower molecular weight they can pass deeper and stands a better chance of producing results.
An oxygen facial also involves no pain and no downtime.
A facial can take 30-60 mins and your skin should feel smoother, hydrated and plumper as well as seeing a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles. You should also notice an improved colour and glowing radiance to your skin, with a clearer complexion due to increased blood circulation and higher tissue oxygenation levels.
The initial results usually only last about seven days however with multiple treatments the effects are cumulative and after 6 treatments of one a week the results will last 1-3 months.
However most of this is all theory and based on personal stories and recommendations and there isn’t actually any scientific evidence as yet to prove that oxygen facials work.
Critics of the therapy have suggested that the plumping effect of the skin is actually caused by localised inflammation caused by the high pressure liquid oxygen spray being blasted at the skin’s surface. If it is due to inflammation, then this could actually be harmful to the skin in the long run, as prolonged inflammation is known to be one of the major causes of ageing and disease. However many other anti-ageing treatments work by causing localised inflammation as this inflammation stimulates collagen production which is good for our skin.
Furthermore, pumping oxygen into the skin may result in the production of free radicals which could further contribute towards premature aging. However if your anti-ageing serum contains vitamins E, C and green tea extract then these are known to protect against free-radical damage.
Finally, it is possible to increase the oxygen levels of your skin naturally and for free by doing aerobic exercises. This increases blood circulation throughout the whole of the body, which is why your skin tends to look better after a good workout.