The beauty industry loves a new ingredient and in skincare, liquid oxygen is making its way into poll position as the current favourite. Recognised as a skin healing entity that can remedy mild to moderate acne, hydrate the skin and improve elasticity, until now, the only way to give your skin a breath fresh air was via an oxygen facial in clinic. But not anymore. Thanks to technology and innovations, the advent of ‘liquid’ oxygen means it can now be applied in topical form so you can attempt to create the same glowy and radiant complexion at home.
Interested in discovering whether liquid oxygen really is the secret to good skin or if it’s just as beneficial to take a walk in the park? We studied the science and asked the experts to bring you our take on the trend.
What is liquid oxygen?
Traditionally a gas, liquid oxygen is just oxygen in liquid form. In everyday scenarios we consume our oxygen directly from the air or from our lungs via our blood but the amount we actually end up with rushing through our body is minimal. That’s why the skincare research and development bods have spent decades investigating ways of concentrating oxygen so the skin can better absorb and hold onto it.
“Liquid oxygen has the ability to diffuse oxygen straight into skin tissue without having to rely on surrounding blood vessels to carry oxygen to the area to be treated,” explains Dr Raj Arora, aesthetic doctor and skincare advisor for Foreo. “Until recently oxygen facials have seen oxygen being delivered to the skin in high pressure gas form but there has been debate around how much of the oxygen actually reaches the skin’s layers and makes an impact. As well as liquid oxygen as its own entity, many of the liquid therapies come as a topical hydrogen peroxide – this acts as an oxidising agent which means that when applied to tissues, oxygen is released.”
Is oxygen good for the skin?
Absolutely, but like everything that’s good for our skin, as we age our skin’s oxygen levels begin to deplete which means the cell renewal process slows down which shows up as fine lines and wrinkles. Research by the brand, LYMA found that skin tissue loses around 30% of its oxygen ‘capacity’ by the age of 30 and almost 60% by the age of 40 – which is why it could do with a helping hand.
What does liquid oxygen do for skin?
Oxygen is essential for the health and functioning of skin cells which is why it’s so closely linked to wound healing. “It plays a vital role in cellular metabolism and energy production and is known to have antimicrobial properties so it can help promote healing and rejuvenation of the skin,” says Dr Paris Acharya, aesthetic doctor at Waterhouse Young clinics. “Other benefits for the skin include improved hydration, less sensitivity, boosted collagen production and an overall improvement in skin texture and tone which means more radiance and glow.”
It’s also a very inclusive ingredient and can be used by people with acne, rosacea, sensitive skin, ageing skin and existing skin conditions. “The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of liquid oxygen can be beneficial for sensitive, red and acneic skins. In the correct effective format it’s also thought to repair the skin barrier function,” says Dr Arora. That means better hydration, more resilience and as a result could prompt a reduction in the appearance of fine lines.
Does oxygen clear acne?
Investigations have shown that liquid oxygen can help to treat mild to moderate acne and promote clearer skin. “The bacteria causing acne – p.acnes – is an anaerobic bacteria. This means that it does not like to be surrounded by oxygen. Topical liquid oxygen can therefore have an antibacterial effect and essentially help to kill acne-causing bacteria,” continues Dr Arora.
Does liquid oxygen really work?
Oxygen facials get rave results but who wouldn’t have glowier skin when they’ve just been blasted with the good stuff. For liquid oxygen however, the jury is still out, as while there is no denying that oxygen supports, nurtures and aids the delivery of nutrients to the skin, scientific studies are still thin on the ground. “More robust evidence is needed to understand the exact benefits and the mechanisms in more depth as much of the positive feedback has come from brands seeing results and positive feedback from their own formulations,” confirms Dr Arora.
Dr Acharya is in agreement: “While some individuals may experience positive results from oxygen-infused skincare, scientific evidence supporting their efficacy is limited. The overall effectiveness will also vary among individuals and depend on other factors such as the specific formulation of the products used and what other ingredients they contain.”
As with anything new to market, it needs more data to convince the pro’s but there’s no denying it’s a concept that makes sense. And while it might not be the most ‘active’ ingredient, there are plenty of brands investing in liquid oxygen technology that allows the skin to utilise your internal air stream and create a fresh and healthy complexion.
Liquid oxygen beauty buys
Formulated with stabilised hydrogen peroxide that transforms into pure encapsulated oxygen, this hydrates skin, boosts circulation and gives your skin a radiant glow. It’s not cheap but that’s partly because the technology is still so new.
The brand inspired by cryotherapy, this combines its hero ATP complex with cucumber extract, the herbs jiagulan and ginseng as well as a hefty helping of oxygen to reduce inflammation, support wound healing and promote elastin production for springier, healthy-looking skin.
Super high tech, this American brand uses Oxygen-Amplified Therapy or OATH to deliver oxygen deep into the skin cells. Mimicking haemoglobin that gives oxygen something to hold onto, the carrier system administers the oxygen immediately to speed up the skin healing process. It also explains the price tag.
The face mask that Holly Willoughby uses every day to get her skin looking delightfully dewy, in 15 minutes, the stabilised oxygen formula (created by a Nobel-Institute epidemiologist) gets to work re-oxygenating the skin and brightening and hydrating any areas that appear a little lack lustre.
Blending marine peptides, plankton and liquid oxygen, this overnight cream is like a back-up support for your skin. Repairing faults in the skin barrier and feeding it with enzymes and antioxidants to re-regulate collagen production, a little goes a long way.
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