Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

Dermaplaning Explained February 6, 2012

If you have a lot of fine facial hair perhaps you have wondered what the best way was to get rid of it?  Or have you ever considered why you shave your legs but don’t use a razor on your face?  Have you heard of dermaplaning and always thought “what the heck is that?”.  I hope this post will clear up all that confusion.

What Is Dermaplaning?

LNE & Spa magazine, which I read exclusively online, had an article back in November, 2011 all about dermaplaning, called, appropriately enough – Dermaplaning.  In the article the author Tina Zillman talks both about the technique of dermaplaning and what it does for the skin:

Within the medical community (particularly plastic surgeons), dermaplaning is viewed as a noninvasive surgical procedure that can essentially strip away dead skin to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and acne scars.  The technique may be used synonymously with dermabrasion (not to be mistaken for microdermabrasion) on many medical websites and patents – hence the name “derma,” relating to the dermis, and “planing” from the word plane that refers to a tool used to smooth a surface.  The most commonly used tool is a type of scalpel, a surgeon’s tool that can cause irreversible damage if used improperly. …

From an esthetic perspective, dermaplaning has been performed with a scalpel or a disposable safety razor.  Some practices may advertise dermaplaning as an exfoliation treatment, while others use the procedure for hair removal.

Dermaplaning is an ideal treatment for women with fine (otherwise known as vellus) hair all over their faces.  The growth of this type of hair, which can appear like a light fuzz on the face, can make the application of make-up difficult and occurs for many women as they undergo menopause and experience hormonal changes.  Removing this hair with laser or IPL treatments is not a viable option for many since the hair can be white or blonde and the light then cannot capture it for effective hair removal.   Once again, according to the LNE & Spa article:

Hormonal changes in women affect the skin and body, and esthetic dermaplaning essentially shaves vellus hair from the face.  Aside from the loss of elasticity, skin thinning and dryness, vellus hair on the face becomes a visible problem on middle-aged women.   …  Facial waxing is still a common practice for the removal of this hair, but the procedure is prone to many problems.  The hair is so fine that gentle facial waxes may not pick it all up, and a mature women’s skin may be susceptible to burning and tearing.  Combine these variables with exfoliation treatments, cosmeceutical skin care product use at home, and/or use of certain prescription drugs-and the risk of damaging the skin and causing discomfort is even greater.

 

From a medical standpoint dermaplaning is considered a treatment for acne scars. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (and please notice the differences here between dermaplaning and dermabrasion):

Dermabrasion and dermaplaning help to “refinish” the skin’s top layers through a method of controlled surgical scraping. The treatments soften the sharp edges of surface irregularities, giving the skin a smoother appearance.

Dermabrasion is most often used to improve the look of facial skin left scarred by accidents or previous surgery, or to smooth out fine facial wrinkles. It’s also sometimes used to remove the pre-cancerous growths called keratoses. Dermaplaning is also commonly used to treat deep acne scars.

Both dermabrasion and dermaplaning can be performed on small areas of skin or on the entire face. They can be used alone, or in conjunction with other procedures such as facelift, scar removal or revision, or chemical peel.

Well Isn’t It Just Shaving?

In American society it is considered odd for women to shave their faces so dermaplaning is a variation on that procedure that is socially acceptable.  Rumors persist that many celebrities actually shaved their faces in order to maintain their beautiful skin.  According to an article on style.com celebrity esthetician Kate Somerville recommends that women shave their faces:

When it comes to the removal of unwanted hair, women have myriad options. There’s waxing, tweezing, threading, sugaring—all manner of materials and mechanisms to get to the root, as it were, of the problem. Shaving, the most primitive of depilatory forms, has gotten a bad rap in the face of all of these new-fangled approaches. Taking razor to legs still happens with presumed regularity, but gliding these handheld tools against the grain of face fuzz is totally taboo, thanks to the warning that’s been passed from generation to generation: If you shave extraneous hairs, they will come in darker and thicker. Or will they? “It’s a total myth,” aesthetician to the stars Kate Somerville maintains, an opinion she shared with us just a few hours ago in an intimate setting to discuss a bevy of new product launches and her own maintenance must-haves. On good authority (that being Elizabeth Taylor’s personal cosmetic dermatologist, whom Somerville used to assist), the greats (those being Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe) shaved their faces for completely bare skin and an added dose of exfoliation.  Somerville herself is a firm believer in the power of the razor—one in particular: Gillette’s Mach 3. Believe it—and ask your S.O. to buy a two-pack next time he’s in need.

I keep reading that Japanese women regularly shave their faces, though I can’t find real proof for this statement, so why are American women so reluctant to shave their faces?  Maybe that will change in the future.  Weigh in with your opinion on this issue in a poll on the Huffington Post website.

So if you still can’t bring yourself to shave your face in order to remove excess vellus facial hair keep the following in mind (once again I’m quoting from the LNE&Spa article):

Determining whether or not a woman shaving her face is socially acceptable may not have a solid answer today.  Some women only shave when their significant other is not looking, some shave next to their significant other, and some will not even entertain the thought-even though they may have had dermaplaning performed by their skin care provider.  The status quo has not settled on whether or not it is acceptable, but that may change in the future.  Most public information about female shaving focuses on the exfoliation aspects, and how it gives the skin a refined appearance and healthy glow; the hair removal is just another perk that comes with the process.  In the meantime, dermaplaning with a disposable, single-use safety razor or eyebrow razor in the treatment room is the safer alternative to facial waxing or light-based hair removal.

Though I work for a plastic surgeon I do not perform dermaplaning.  Once I saw a demo of dermaplaning done on a young woman who had fine, very blonde hair all over her face.  The procedure did an excellent job of removing all that hair.  Then I was given a scalpel to practice on a fake head, but I have to say that it was very intimidating to think that I could on day use a scalpel on a real, live person.  If you are interested in this procedure be sure to go to someone who has been properly trained in order to avoid any unexpected injuries.

If you shave your face or know someone who does please comment below.  Or if you are an esthetician you performs dermaplaning please comment below.

Image from http://www.drinstruments.com

 

Should You Buy Home Laser and Light Devices? Do They Really Work? October 27, 2011

In our quest to look our best many of us have contemplated buying a handheld home skincare device.  Perhaps a light device that claims to erase acne or get rid of wrinkles (check out this new gadget from Japan).  Or maybe a home laser device that will remove unwanted hair (I’ve definitely considered that one).  These devices cost hundreds of dollars and make big promises.  Their appeal is obvious – invest your money once in a device and use it in the privacy of your home, on your time and schedule.  No more trips to the spa or doctor’s office for light treatments and laser hair removal.  The device is yours – for always and forever.  But before you invest in a handheld piece of skincare equipment think again.  Many of these devices are not worth both the investment of money and time.

In her book Feed Your Face Dr. Jessica Wu cautions against buying a handheld focused heat devices like Thermaclear or the Zeno Mini to treat acne (page 91):

There is some scientific evidence that heat may help clear acne.  Pulsed light, lasers, and radio-frequency devices (which are available only at a doctor’s office) have all been shown to kill the acne-causing bacteria P. acnes as well as temporarily decrease inflammation and shrink oil glands.  There are two main differences, however, between these medical instruments and a gadget you can buy at a drugstore:

1.  Lasers and other medical-grade devices typically come outfitted with a fan or a chilled tip so the laser can reach deep into the dermis (where your oil glands and bacteria sit) without burning through the top layers of the skin.  A store-bought device, especially one without a cooling system, won’t penetrate as deeply and therefore can’t be as effective.

2.  Studies show that killing P. acnes bacteria alone isn’t enough to stop breakouts.  To treat acne most effectively, you also need an anti-inflammatory component.  Even some of the antibiotics we commonly use to treat acne (substances that by definition are intended to kill bacteria) are prescribed at very low doses that are meant to reduce inflammation rather than kill P. acnes.  Medical grade lasers work because they kill bacteria and reduce inflammation, something handheld devices can’t.

Before you invest in any device there is something to keep in mind – the FDA clears medical devices for safe use but not devices labeled beauty devices.  The majority of handheld devices are marketed as beauty devices which means that they aren’t necessarily entirely safe for home use.  According to The New York Times article Taking Home the Lasers, Pulsers and Sonic Care there are many medical and compliance issues to keep in mind when it comes to these devices:

Dr. Sandra Lee, a dermatologist in Upland, Calif., fears patients will develop what she calls laserexia. “If it says, don’t use more than once a day, but if you’re a teen and you use it more than once a day, are you then at risk for scarring?” Dr. Lee said. “I worry about misuse.”

Some machines (among them TRIA Skin Perfecting Blue Light; LightStim for Wrinkles; and Levia Personal Targeted Phototherapy, which helps with psoriasis, eczema and vitiligo) have been peer-reviewed by medical experts, but not all. And the Food and Drug Administration clears only medical devices, not beauty devices, a distinction not always obvious to consumers.

“It gets squishy when companies say ‘We’re not making medical claims; we’re making beauty claims,’ ” said Dr. Mathew M. Avram, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Dermatology Laser and Cosmetic Center in Boston. “What is a medical claim? It becomes a hard area to define.”

“If you make a claim that you can benefit someone’s appearance and you’re going to use a device to accomplish that,” he continued, “I think there needs to be the same level of scrutiny that a device used in a physician’s office would undergo.”

There have been some crackdowns on unwarranted claims. Last spring, the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (NAD) requested substantiation for promises made by VISS Beauty, for its Intense Pulsed Light Hair Removal Device. When the company refused to participate in a NAD review, the division referred the claims to the Federal Trade Commission and the F.D.A. And in September, the Federal Trade Commission shut down two smartphone apps, AcnePwner and AcneApp, for claiming that they could treat pimples with lights emitted from their display screens.

Even with effective devices, “there may be unforeseen uses and unforeseen consequences that may arise,” said Dr. Avram, listing the possibility of scarring, soreness, redness and hyperpigmentation, not to mention product malfunctions.

There’s also the “slight potential” for squamous or basal skin cancers from the ultraviolet light sources, said Dr. Neil Sadick, a clinical professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College, though he said that at-home devices used less energy than the machines in doctors’ offices.

The biggest hurdle, doctors say, is patient compliance; it requires some fortitude to beam a laser on your legs for 20 minutes a day. Dr. Sean Benham, a hair-loss and hair-transplant specialist in Santa Monica, Calif., likes the HairMAX LaserComb, a light-based hair-restoration device that costs about $600. But he said he saw many patients who simply tired of the routine, which involves “combing” the hair with an electronic wand for about 10 minutes, three times a week.

“People drop out of using it,” Dr. Benham said. “It’s so complicated and demanding, most of my patients say it just sits by the TV.”

There are opposing expert opinions to what I have quoted above.  Dr. Leslie Baumann, on her Skin Type Solutions website, has the following to say about handheld home light devices in an article entitled do-it-yourself vs. in-office beauty treatments: Which should you choose?:

At-home vs. in-office light-based treatments 

Dermatologists commonly use blue light in the office to improve acne, but a recent study shows that patients need treatments every three days for optimal improvement.  Not so practical, right?  That’s why at-home devices such as the Tria and Omnilux hold promise for keeping skin clear.  But anti-aging devices are a different story.  At this time, at-home wrinkle-reducing devices aren’t nearly as effective as their in-office counterparts, as while there may be an app for that as close as your phone, medically speaking it’s not going to do much for your skin.  Bottom line:  For acne, at-home devices are a do, but do-it-yourself anti-aging devices are a don’t.

Personally both the time and monetary investment would keep me from purchasing any of these products, but if you feel differently be sure to check out some reviews (like these on Sephora) from actual users before making your purchase.  Certainly none of these products are impulse buy material – be sure to think before you leap into buying such products.

 

Botox Explained January 27, 2011

 

Since Botox’s approval by the FDA for cosmetic use it almost seems like its uses, potential side effects, and safety are taken for granted.  But do you really know how Botox works, how to store it, and how it is injected?

Skin Inc. just published a very comprehensive article that really explains everything you need to know about Botox.  Entitled Chemodenervation From Physiology of the Skin, Third Edition the article succinctly goes into detail about the history of the use of Botox, how it is injected, how injecting Botox affects facial wrinkles and also other body conditions like excessive sweating, and the potential side effects from Botox injections.

If you have ever had any questions about Botox be sure to check this article out.  Reading it will only take a few moments and leave you much better informed in the long run.

 

How to Get the Most Out of Your Facial December 28, 2010

This post was prompted by an article I read in Spa magazine entitled Your Therapist Needs to Know … .  (Unfortunately at the moment I cannot find the article online)  The article outlines what information you should be sure to share with your massage therapist or esthetician before and during a treatment.  Of course I’ll focus on issues that have to do with estheticians and facials. 

Before you have a facial your esthetician will have you fill a questionnaire that will ask about your general health and about your skin’s health.  You’ll also probably be asked what skincare products you currently use, what skincare issues you are concerned about, and what you would like to improve about your skin.  If the questionnaire doesn’t ask you those questions, hopefully your esthetician will ask you a variation on those questions either before or during your treatment.

If you suffer from cold sores, especially if you are currently experiencing an outbreak, be sure to tell your esthetician.  Steam can make a cold sore worse or even spread to another part of your face.  You can still have a facial if you have an active cold sore, but your esthetician just needs to be extra cautious when treating that area.  And by that I mean, the area with the cold sore shouldn’t be treated at all.  If you have sensitive or irritated areas on your face, neck, or chest be sure to point that out to your esthetician.  If you have ever had a negative or allergic reaction to a skincare product tell your esthetician.  Hopefully the questionnaire you have filled out will have a place to check if you suffer from rosacea or eczema, but even if they do be sure your esthetician has made a note of that before beginning your treatment.  Mention if you have had precancerous or cancerous lesions removed from the areas that will be treated during the facial.  If you have just spent a lot of time in the sun or are sunburned mention that too.  Some of these conditions might be completely obvious to your skincare therapist, but it never hurts to gently point them out before beginning treatment.

Also please tell you esthetician if you have an infectious disease, especially one that could be transferred through bodily fluids.  Though esthetician follow universal precautions, which means we have to assume that everyone has an infectious disease, it would be best to alert your esthetician about such a situation.  If you are pregnant, but it isn’t obvious yet, or if you are nursing be sure to tell your esthetician since many skincare ingredients are off limits for pregnant women and nursing mothers.

Hopefully your esthetician will ask you what your expectations are for your treatment – relaxation, intense exfoliation, treatment of acne, anti-aging, etc. – but if she or he doesn’t be sure to let them know if you have any specific expectations from your treatment.  Of course, keep those expectations in check.  A facial won’t make you look 24 if you are really 50 (go to a plastic surgeon if you want that kind of change).  If you are interested in hearing about new skincare products or want to hear the esthetician’s opinion about certain skincare lines – ask.  Personally I love to share what I know about skincare products and most other esthetician do as well.  On the other hand, if you are happy with the products you are using you can politely tell your esthetician that.  Part of our job as an esthetician is to recommend the skincare products that our spas or offices sell.  If you don’t want to hear about other skincare products just politely let your esthetician know that.

In my opinion there are two other essential parts to getting the most out of your facial – ask lots of questions and speak up.  I always tell my clients “let me know if something doesn’t feel good, and I’ll fix it.”  Of course, extractions never feel good, but the rest of the treatment should be pleasant and even wonderful (the massage).  Personally, I’m a talker so I love clients that like to chit-chat about life or just about skincare products.  I am more than happy to share my knowledge, but if you just want to close your eyes and drift off to sleep during your facial tell your esthetician that at the beginning of the treatment.  You’ll enjoy your facial so much more if you speak up about something that might be bothering you during your treatment.  Instead of complaining afterwards to a manager tell your esthetician at that moment so they can correct what is bothering you.  Spas are driven by customer service so we are there to please you – the paying client.

And above all, relax and enjoy!

 

Further Reading –   11 Tips on Getting the Most Out of Your Spa Experience – Spa Magazine

 

Treat Your Mouth – Stay Youthful? September 27, 2010

 

I just read an article in the September 2010 issue of W about estheticians who massage their client’s muscles inside their upper lip, cheek, and jaw in order to promote blood circulation, relaxation, oxygenation to the skin cells, and encourage movement in the neck, head, and jaw.  All this results, according to the claims, in a tighter, smoother complexion and better absorption of skincare products.  The technique is known as Buccaling and is borrowed from Rolfing the body alignment method.

Though this sounds intriguing I have to admit that before I came across this article I had never heard of this technique anywhere – not in the professional literature that I read or from other estheticians or clients.  Does this work as it says it will?  I can’t answer that question at the moment.

But this idea dovetails into another issue I read about.  This time I read an article in Harper’s Bazaar about the real way to look younger – get a dental face-lift.  As we age our teeth wear down and our jaw recedes resulting in a more hollow look to your face.  So in order to fill in those collapsing areas individually sculpted veneers are applied to upper and lower teeth which lifts the cheeks, plumps the lips, and helps bring volume back to the face.  It turns out this is a subtle change that can have a big effect on your appearance in the end, and since veneers can last 15 years or more the results are relatively long lasting. 

Once again I can’t comment on this procedure, but it is interesting and frankly makes a lot of sense to me.  I guess now there is more than one good reason to see a good dentist (and develop a good relationship with them).  Who knows?  Maybe the fountain of youth really does exist and it lies in our mouths.

 

Bodywash that Gives Sun Protection July 19, 2010

In my opinion one of the more intriguing sun protection products on the market is bodywash that leaves behind sunscreen on your body even after you wash off the product.

The wash-on sunscreen works thusly:  the sunscreen is actually magnetically attracted to your skin.  The sunscreen is positively charged and your skin in negatively charged so the active ingredients in the bodywash actually cling to your skin and stay there after you shower. 

This is a great way to get moderate sun protection (the products have a spf of 15) with no hassle.  The bodywash won’t leave behind a sticky or greasy residue or feeling.  Since it is only a spf of 15 this is not adequate protection for a long day outdoors or a day at the beach.  But if you are only walking from your house, to your car, and going to work this will give you enough protection.

Product to try:   Solise

If anyone knows of any other bodywash products with spf please let me know.

Source and further reading:  Simple Skin Beauty by Ellen Marmur, MD, page 84 and SPF Body Wash allure.com

 

Exfoliation for your Body June 6, 2010

As the weather warms up we are all starting to show more skin.  And wouldn’t you want that skin to look great?  One of the best ways to make skin look wonderful is to exfoliate on a regular basis.

 

What Does Exfoliation Do?

 

Exfoliation helps to even out skin texture leaving your skin soft and smooth.  Without regular exfoliation your skin can appear dull and even be dry.  If you have body acne exfoliation is key in keeping your pores unclogged.  Regular exfoliation will help your body lotions and self-tanners will go on more evenly.  No more ashy or flaky skin either.  Each part of your body can benefit from regular exfoliation.  For instance if your lips are flaky from dead skin or dryness than your lipstick will appear flaky as well.  Exfoliating your lips can help get rid of that problem.

 

Recommended Products

 

  • One of my favorite body scrubs has been Soap and Glory Flake Away Scrub that you can buy at Target.  It works well, smells yummy (like peaches), and costs all of $10.
  • Sometimes I make my own body scrubs.  Mix household sugar with olive oil; use in the shower since this can be messy.  Or even use your coffee grinds after making coffee.  This works well but is messy as well so be prepared to have to spend time cleaning up your shower.
  • You can always use a washcloth to exfoliate.  It will do a decent job of getting rid of dead skin cell build-up and should make your skin a little softer and smoother.
  • Use a body lotion with added alpha hydroxy acids in it.  I would recommend using this in the evening before going to bed since acids make your skin more sensitive to the sun.  Products like this are particularly good for elbows, knees, and heels.  Ones to try: Paula’s Choice Skin Revealing Body Lotion with 10% AHA or DDF Glycolic 10% Body Lotion
  • For lips New Beauty recommends The Lip Scrub by Sara Happ.  Personally I’ve never tried it, but I would love to hear from someone who has.

 

 

Feel free to share information about your favorite body exfoliation products.

For information about facial exfoliation please see my earlier post All About Exfoliation.

 

Caring for Your Feet May 15, 2010

 

I think/I hope we might finally be having spring weather in Chicago so summer is just around the corner.  Summer always makes me think of pedicures and having nice looking feet for sandal wearing.  I suspect that I am not the only person who suffers from rough, even calloused, feet year round.  I’ve tried to treat my own feet with callouse removers in the shower – scrubbing away at my heels to no avail; I never saw much of a difference when I used an emery type board on my feet.  I have also tried different foot creams that advertised that they would smooth your feet.  Then finally I got a clue – glycolic acid!  It was time to try a body lotion with a hefty dose of glycolic acid (10%) in order to smooth and soften my feet, especially my heels.  After all two things that glycolic acid does is smooth and soften the skin.  Products with glycolic acid that are formulated for the body are stronger than those for the face and worth trying.  I’ve been using DDF Pedi-Cream for only about a week now and immediately saw results.  I’m converted – no more scrubbing away at my heels in the shower.  And what could be easier than just applying a lotion to your feet and heels after you shower?

 

Why You Should Get A Facial ASAP May 12, 2010

This post follows up on some subjects I already mentioned in this blog, (like Why Visit An Esthetician and Quit Bashing Estheticians) but here I’ll focus on why you should get a professional facial.  I dislike the fact that many, many dermatologists and so-called beauty experts (and here I especially mean fashion magazine beauty editors) continually tell people that facials are both a waste of their time and money.  Obviously in my opinion nothing could be further from the truth.

 

Why You Should Get A Facial

 

Facials are great for rejuvenation and relaxation.  Facials will help improve the health and appearance of your skin especially if you get facials on a regular basis; you can’t expect big changes to your skin if you get facials once a year.  After a facial your skin will look brighter and healthier.  Additionally your skin will feel softer after the facial. 

The relaxation portion of the facial does nothing but benefit your skin and your overall mental and physical health.  The stress of our hectic daily lives shows up in our skin so taking an hour to relax and be pampered will help you out both physically and emotionally.  Massage is a big part of a professional facial.  Massage will help you to relax and will also reduce the stress hormone cortisol  in your body.  If cortisol is left to run amuck in the body it will only hurt you over time, and additionally massage releases oxytocin which is one of the body’s feel good hormones.  (For more information about stress and your skin see my previous post – Stress and Your Skin)

I’ve written before about the fact that esthetician have available to them a wide variety of skincare products that are  professional only products and how estheticians know how to use these products properly.  Finding the right skincare products is terribly confusing and expensive.  Getting a professional facial cuts down on that mystery.  After cleansing your face the esthetician will analyze your skin and then customize the products she or he uses during the facial according to what they have seen while analyzing your skin.  Without the training and knowledge of a licensed esthetician finding the right products for your skin can just be a downright futile endeavor.  Your esthetician not only will use great products on your skin during the facial, they will also recommend the right products for your skin type for home use helping to eliminate any confusion.  I consider a discussion home care regimes with my clients a HUGE  and important part of my job.   If you don’t maintain a proper home care skincare regime the positive effects of your facial are pretty much for nothing (except for the relaxation part).

 

What Is A Professional Facial?

 

A professional facial will include the following steps (or a variation on these steps): a thorough cleansing of the skin, a skin analysis, professional exfoliation (with or without steam), extractions of blackheads, clogged pores, and pimples if necessary, a facial massage, a treatment mask, and the application of serums, moisturizers, and sunscreens.  Sometimes the facial includes a hand and arm massage and an additional neck and shoulder massage.

A typical professional facial takes about an hour (give or take) to perform.  Consider that time a vacation from the “real world” – relax and destress.  Yes, you can do a variation of a facial at home, but can you really give yourself a massage on your own?

 

And for all those people who say “Facials Make Me Breakout”

 

Not only do I often hear from people that they think facials are unnecessary and a waste of money I also hear “facials just make me break-out”.  If you do break-out right after a facial that isn’t an actual pimple since “real” pimples take about four to six weeks to form under the skin before you see them on the surface of the skin.  What you are seeing after a facial is irritation or a reaction to a product used during the facial.  If you find that you are sensitive or allergic to certain skincare ingredients be sure to speak up at the beginning of your facials so that your esthetician can avoid using those ingredients on your skin.  If anything hurts or burns during your facial speak up again so that the product can be removed immediately and not cause you any harm. 

 

 

Bottom Line

 

So go get a professional facial in order to relax, rejuvenate, to have your skin thoroughly cleaned and exfoliated, to receive expert advice about what is happening with your skin, and in order to receive home care product recommendations.  Yes, for many people facials are definitely a luxury because of the money and time spent receiving them, but think about the importance of that “me” time.   Never under-estimate the power of a little rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation.

 

Oxygenation Treatments: The Case For and Against April 23, 2010

So what are oxygen treatments?  What are oxygen creams?  And above all – should you try one or the other or even both?

Why Our Skin Needs Oxygen

  

Skin that lacks proper oxygen flow looks dull and sallow.  Look at a smoker’s skin: their skin is wrinkled, dull, and even yellowish which results from not enough oxygen being delivered to skin cells and a lack of circulation.  But oxygen does so much more for the skin than just make it look vibrant and healthy.  According to Dr. Peter T. Pugliese writing in Skin Inc. magazine:

Oxygen revitalizes the epidermis and stimulates cellular growth by increasing cellular proliferation. It will kill surface bacteria, deep anaerobic bacteria and fungus. Oxygen will supply energy to the epidermis and to the dermis, helping to heal any small wounds and irritations. In the dermis, it will help produce collagen and elastin and help restructure the extracellular matrix. Oxygen is a micronutrient and it will assist with many metabolic processes in the skin. Lastly, it is critical for many enzyme reactions, and the presence of oxygen can often accelerate these reactions.

 

What Conditions Benefit from Oxygen Treatments?

 

Three skincare conditions that respond well to oxygen treatments are: acne, rosacea, and aging skin. 

Acne responds well to oxygen treatments since oxygen is anti-inflammatory, kills acne-causing bacteria, and even reduces swelling.  The same characteristics help treat rosacea since there appears to be a bacterial component to this condition.  Aging skin benefits from oxygen treatments because of oxygen’s ability to boost cell production and strengthen collagen and elastin.  Following a oxygenation treatment your skin will feel very soft and look plumped.

 

Oxygenation Treatments in Spas

  

There are a number of different oxygenation treatments available that are administered by professionals.  These treatments are effective because the skin has been properly prepared and by that I mean the skin’s protective barrier has been temporarily removed in order to allow for proper ingredient penetration.

There are three-step oxygen treatments that help deliver oxygen deep into the epidermis so that clogged pores are cleaned out and circulation is stimulated.  These treatments can temporarily turn you very red because they are stimulating, but by the next day you should have a great glow to your skin.  If you suffer from acne you should see an improvement in your condition after this type of oxygenation treatment.  These type of treatments are recommended before a big event such as a wedding so that you have a healthy glow on the day of the event.  Just don’t get the treatment the same day as the event since you will probably turn very red from the treatment.

There are also oxygen facials that in involve a pure oxygen mist being sprayed on the skin.  A mask is applied afterwards to help seal in the oxygen that was just sprayed on the skin.  This is usually the type of treatment that you hear celebrities have received.

 

Oxygen in Home Care Products

  

Home care products that contain oxygen claim that their products contain a stabilized form of oxygen that can penetrate the epidermis.  Companies that use oxygen in their products claim that their products can either flight acne or aging.

If you are interested in trying a home care product with oxygen here are two to look for:  Bioelements Power of Oxygen and GM Collin Oxygen Puractive+Cream

 

The Controversy

 

So getting an oxygen treatment sounds great, right?  Truthfully I’ve seen great results from professional three step  oxygenation treatments, but the whole issue of oxygen treatments and oxygen skincare products is quite controversial actually.

According to Dr. Ellen Marmur is her book Simple Skin Beauty (page 298):

Oxygen, as a topical ingredient, is completely ineffectual.  Although I’m sure that an oxgyen facial makes your skin glowing and radiant, the effect has nothing to do with oxygen.  The machine used for this facial treatment has a hose-like attachment that discharges pressurized oxygen along with a hydrating hyaluronic acid serum.  The moisturizing mist is what plumps the skin and makes it temporarily look and feel dewy.  The use of oxygen cosmetically claims to a wound-healing effect on the skin.  This may stem from the fact that hyperbaric oxygen treatment has been proven to help heal wounds, but placing a patient in a hyperbaric chamber to increase the amount of oxygen in the lungs, which in turn delivers it through the blood to injured tissue, is not the same as having air and water sprayed onto your face.  It is impossible to infuse skin cells with oxygen from the outside.  It cannot purify or moisturize the skin, although too much oxygen has been known to generate toxic oxygen radicals that damage skin.  For that matter, I have no idea how a cream or lotion could contain a stabilized form of oxygen, which is a gas.  … In this case, the science behind oxygen as a skincare ingredient is pretty easy to see through.

 

While Dr. Marmur makes a pretty compelling argument there is another side, of course.  Writing in Skin Inc. Jeffrey Lapin explains that:

Some new product and treatment technologies are increasingly designed to put the proper level of oxygen, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients back into the skin. There are currently many creams, lotions, masks and sprays available to clients to put oxygen onto the skin. Because of the multitude of choices available, it is important to teach your clients that oxygen placed on the surface of unprepared skin will not penetrate beyond the epidermis. Yet, oxygen placed on the surface of the skin is a good thing. Oxygen is a natural antibacterial agent that effectively fights bad bacteria that cannot survive in an oxygenated environment. This can help with surface acne and helps to fight infection from open wounds.

 

 

Conclusion – Decide for Yourself – Keep Reading

 

Personally I am torn on this issue since, as I already stated, I’ve personally seen great results from professional oxygenation treatments, but I also feel that speculation about oxygen as a skincare ingredient is warranted.  Below you’ll find many sources for further reading to help you make up your mind for yourself:

 

 
%d bloggers like this: