Oxygen. You not only need it for your lungs. You now need it for your face. Because the gas is now in vogue as the latest facial treatment.
Touted as a healing tool to improve the appearance of the skin immediately, oxygen facials involve a machine that sprays atomised moisturisers onto the skin using a stream of pressurised oxygen. The treatment is supposed to hydrate skin, making the face appear smoother and plumper. The therapy is also used to deliver antioxidants to the skin, and protects the epidermis from sun damage, pollution and stress.
Famous celebrities like Madonna, Kate Moss, Sienna Miller and Claudia Schiffer have reportedly achieved instant firming and smoothing with such facials and are now all diehard fans of the therapeutic gas.
But a leading dermatologist, Dr Christopher B Zachary, professor and dermatology department chairman at the University of California, has lambasted the latest celebrity craze of using oxygen for facials as “snake oil”.
Despite the celebrity status, there is no hard evidence of the effectiveness of using oxygen on the skin and academic experts are sceptical. Questions range from how delivering extra oxygen to the skin can help to reverse the oxygen depletion, to how how much extra oxygen does the skin need and how it can be absorbed.
While aestheticians and beauticians have called oxygen a purifier which immediately brightens the complexion, adds radiance and takes away dullness, the therapeutic gas may at best just promote skin’s absorption of skin treatment products for maximum efficiency and better results.
Users still have to have a proper treatment plan to continue. A regimen that includes exfoliation, antioxidant serums, and most important, an SPF to keep the skin from being further damaged by the wily sun.
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