Oxygen Products, Oxygen Products, Everywhere! But Can It Really Get Into Your Skin?

Just a few oxygen options on Sephora.com

Just a few oxygen options on Sephora.com

The thing about oxygen is, we all need it to survive and thus, we all agree it’s a pretty good thing. No one’s like, “Oh yeah, oxygen? I’ll pass.” As something that is essential to our existence, companies have caught on to its universal appeal and have increasingly been marketing products promising infusions/boosts/bursts/whathaveyou of oxygen that ostensibly are good for your skin, because oxygen is so awesome. 

But although no one’s going to argue (we don’t think) that oxygen in your pores could be anything but a pleasant experience, can it actually get in there enough to do anything? The New York Times cites the director of international education and global press for skin-care company Philosophy who says yes, of course it does! It’s the bestest.

“Oxygen is known to give skin brightness and clarity. It works on clogged pores and dullness, and brings back radiance and freshness.” The new products contain a conditioning agent, perfluorodecalin, “which allows us to diffuse oxygen into the skin where it’s most needed,” she said.

Sounds awesome, and Philosophy isn’t the only one on the oxygen train — plenty of other companies like Natura Bissé, Bliss, Benefit, Stila (just do a search for “oxygen” on Sephora.com and you’ll see) and more all push products hailing the restorative effects of oxygen. But as for the medical community, they’re not convinced.

But not everyone is inhaling. “There’s no scientific evidence that oxygen can penetrate the skin or that it can stay in the product,”  a clinical professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the director of the Juva Skin and Laser Center in New York told the NYT.

There are detractors from the oxygen beauty regime trend within the skin-care industry as well, including the CEO of Skin Authority in San Diego.

“Oxygen is an inert ingredient, meaning it’s nonactive,” she said. “We need it in the bloodstream to breathe and to live, but oxygen is what’s aging our skin. It’s oxidizing it. Plus, skin can’t absorb it.”

Kiehl’s also isn’t convinced:  “Oxygen is a gas and cannot be incorporated as a stand-alone ingredient,” said the company’s president. “Products on the market that speak to ‘oxygenating’ usually use hydrogen peroxide, or other ingredients that will generate oxygen as the product is applied to skin.”

Dissenters and all, if someone is willing to buy an oxygen-related product, you can be sure companies will continue to sell them. And it seems we are quite willing to exchange cash for the promise of more oxygen, notes the NYT:

According to the NPD Group, a market research company, total oxygen-infused facial skin care products generated $4.1 million in department store sales from January through October 2012 in the United States, an increase of 54 percent, compared with the same time in 2011.

But then again, there are other free ways to get plenty of oxygen, says another expert — don’t smoke and just you know, breathe.

Oxygen Bubbles Into Facial Care Products [New York Times]