Written by Nia Davies with Dermatologist Adam Friedman for Doctify oxygen
Oxygen is the element of survival, feeding every cell in our body, giving us life. However it is simultaneously one of the most destructive elements on earth, causing damage to cells through free radical damage – one of the main causes of ageing.
The health and beauty industry is awash with products that are marketed to prevent ageing and environmental damage. There’s been a recent boom in oxygenating products and oxygen treatment; you can even go to breathe pure oxygen at an oxygen bar.
But will it do you any good?
Why give the skin oxygen?
The word anti-oxidant means anti-oxygen and the beauty industry is awash with such serums. Examples of antioxidant ingredients include vitamin C, selenium, plant extracts and Vitamin E.
If these products help why is that we are now being sold products that deliver more oxygen to the skin? ‘Oxygenating’ creams tend to contain hydrogen peroxide, or some other oxygen-releasing molecule.
Makers claim these are activated upon contact with the skin. The theory is that oxygen-depletion of the skin is responsible for ageing, due reduced blood flow and lung volume with age. Therefore, delivering oxygen directly to the skin should in theory have an anti-ageing effect.
What is the link between oxygen and acne?
Recent research has also linked the formation of acne to a lack of oxygen in the skin. Excess sebum from the skin reduces the amount of oxygen available creating a fertile breeding ground for bacteria to multiply. In the process, these bacteria produce more fatty acids that further contribute to the formation of acne by blocking pores.
Is there any evidence for whether oxygen treatments work?
Nevertheless, there does not seem to be any solid evidence that oxygen treatment in the form of creams and serums is effective enough to treat acne or prevent ageing.
We reached out to leading Dermatologist, Dr Adam Friedmann who stated that “the evidence is pretty much non-existent for oxygen treatment as such” and advised that the best way to keep skin healthy is to adhere to the following:
- avoid sunlight and use a high factor SPF on a daily basis
- moisturise regularly
- eat a healthy, balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables
- refrain from smoking and reduce alcohol consumption
- get plenty of sleep
- exercise also helps to improve circulation to the skin as well as reducing the effects of stress
So, what are oxygen bars?
As for oxygen bars, can breathing in more help the skin? The air around us is 21% oxygen and at that level the blood is almost completely saturated with oxygen, meaning inhaling pure oxygen treatment has no added benefit.
Breathing pure oxygen for too long can be harmful and is usually only administered for a short period of time, to those who are critically ill in hospital. Although 30 minutes at an Oxygen Bar shouldn’t have any negative effects in fit and healthy individuals, the FDA has ruled it unsafe for those with heart or lung conditions such as emphysema.
The verdict is out for oxygen treatment
It would seem that as with many areas of scientific interest within the beauty industry, the evidence leaves much to be desired and is still an area of great uncertainty. There may not be any harm in trying such treatments, but the only thing you may be airing is your wallet.
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