Oxygen For Skin: So, How Does That Work, Exactly?

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While browsing skin-care products recently, I found myself wondering: What the heck do products and treatments that contain oxygen actually do for the skin? After all, oxygen is all around us — how is it possible to isolate the compound, and how do skin cells benefit from it?

To get some clarification on this, I went to Bliss, a brand known for its oxygen-infused products and treatments, to see why it's a fan of O2 and how, exactly, the compound affects our complexions. Sandra Lemmerman, assistant vice president of global innovation at Bliss, explained it this way: "At peak vitality, a cell breathes, communicates, grows, and reproduces. The common denominator in these vital functions is the process of oxygen consumption, a sign of a good metabolic activity." Lemmerman went on to point out that, unfortunately, our less-than-ideal modern lifestyles often force our complexions to interact with urban pollutants and other environmental aggressors that essentially strangle cells, preventing optimal O2 flow and, therefore, minimizing the potential for optimal cell regeneration. The result? Skin becomes dull, sallow, and less resilient.

This is where oxygen-infused products and treatments, like Bliss' Triple Oxygen line, which Lemmerman claims works by limiting the damaging effects of free radicals on the skin, come in. An oxygen facial is even more beneficial, as the oxygen is able to reach deeper layers of the cells, which aids in the production of collagen, according to New York City-based dermatologist Ariel Ostad. This means that skin looks plumper, smoother, clearer, and more moisturized. Plus, according to the derm, oxygen allows other key ingredients to be more easily absorbed, so other antioxidants and moisturizers can more deeply penetrate skin cells.

Bottom line: Oxygen-infused products are more than an extra shot of O2 to the face — they can actually enhance the effectiveness of your other skin-care products. So, how's that for a breath of fresh air?

Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Mask, $54, available at Nordstrom.

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