And it's something we breathe in everyday.
Oxygen facial treatments are what California-based company Intraceuticals-who incidentally had one of their aestheticians, Michelle Peck, go on the road with Madonna on her recent Sticky and Sweet tour-have starlets hooked. "Madonna doesn't go on stage without it and that's because the results are phenomenal and therapeutic for the skin," says Peck. "You're simply giving the skin back the nourishment it needs."
Over-washing and exposure to the sun, cold temperatures and pollution can start to take its toll on the skin. The Intraceuticals treatment uses hyaluronic acid -- the body's natural lubricant -- which attracts and holds water to its molecules helping the skin to absorb moisture and retain its youthful volume. Beyond its inherent benefits, hyaluronic acid also carries a certain celeb cache due to the way it's applied on the skin. "The hyaluronic acid has to be in a serum in order to be delivered under pressure by the oxygen," says Dr. Sandy Skotnicki-Grant, owner and director of Bay Dermatology Centre in Toronto (her dermatology centre is the first to launch the product in Canada). "The hyperbaric oxygen pushes the hyaluronic acid and the other ingredients into the deeper layers of the skin and cells there." Once the serum is applied, a whisper of oxygen is blown on the face and into the pores at a 90-degree angle using a wand attached to an oxygen tank.
"Oxygen does not affect the skin directly but it's a wonderful delivery vehicle for the hyaluronic acid. With help from the oxygen, it's absorbed into the dermis which is the deeper layer of the skin; it replenishes the natural lipids there," says Skotnicki-Grant.
While the process of pushing oxygen into deep layers of your face and plumping up of skin cells sounds complex -- and even a bit painful -- Peck says the results can be a beautiful and natural alternative to ultra-expensive surgical procedures like Botox. But, be forewarned, like all new trends in beauty, this one comes with its own luxurious price tag. At $225 to $325, for 60 to 90 minute treatments aestheticians recommend a treatment once every week for the first six weeks, then getting the treatment monthly as a routine.Peck says she personally gets regular facials and extractions (squeezing out those unsightly blackheads and blemishes) once a month along with the Intraceuticals oxygen treatment. Having been a habitual sunbather until she saw damage to her own skin, she says facials help fight against premature aging and damage caused by the environment no matter what the season. Dr. Skotnicki-Grant, agrees: "In Canada, our skin really takes a lot of abuse from the elements and air pollution. By ritually cleansing, massaging and hydrating the skin, you automatically promote healthy skin and the rejuvenation of skin cells and he skin is able to better to withstand harsh winds and extreme cold," she says. "The more you take care of the skin, the more it takes care of itself." For more, please visit: www.baydermatologycentre.com
Breathe a sigh of oxygen! For a brighter complexion and more energy minus the caffeine buzz, try oxygen inhalation treatments; a sure-fire way to de-stress and detox. While the treatment feels and looks a bit clinical, the results are a hit. Stressed out clients simply hook up to a hyperbaric oxygen tank and breathe in pure oxygen through plastic tubing placed on the edge of the nose for 10 to 30 minute sessions. "My clients come in on their lunch break or before big meetings," says Dr. Skotnicki-Grant of the Bay Dermatology Centre in Toronto. "It wakes you up and makes your complexion brighter because you feel energized. You look fresh and rejuvenated."
* Healthy diet and exercise (surprise, surprise!), which includes plenty of leafy green vegetables, fruits and lean proteins. Hit the gym for a spin class or opt to take the stairs instead of the elevator; small adjustments for large gains!
* Try to sleep 8 to 10 hours per night
* You know this one already, but we're going to say it again: Stay out of the sun. If you love to lounge come summertime, wear an SPF of 15 or higher.
* Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. The best way? Keep a 1 litre bottle of water at your desk to sip at during the day; you'll down 2-3 litres in no time
* Avoid facial cleansers with glycolic acids and retinol acids which may result in dry flaky looking skin over time after use